Les Semaines


what I'm thinking and doing § what I'm listening to § what I'm reading
what I'm writing § retrospective: The Phonosnout


Con Going

That this has more purpose than just to draw excess words off the top of my writer's ego. I was struck by the line in this week's Phonosnout entry. I guess this is still my hope.

The reason this entry is late is that I was away attending World Fantasy Convention in Providence, Rhode Island, a place I'd never been before. Not that I saw much of it, cons being the centralizing, absorbing things that they are.

Cons are such odd beasts (not that I'm an expert, I've only been to about 6, 3 of them being World Fantasy Cons), like a huge, weekend-long party. And as I think I've mentioned, I'm not so great at parties. Small talk doesn't come so very naturally to me--frankly I don't often find it worth the effort and time as I prefer deeper conversations. But how do you get to the deeper ones without the more superficial ones? How to get to know people?

It is hard to get to know people at a Con unless you already have an in with them as so many people are busily trying to catch up with people they only see at cons. This one brought together two of my dearest writing friends, from my Clarion West workshop, though only two of us, far fewer than at previous cons I've attended. And brought together a bunch of people I know from various online forums. I roomed with my Clarion West friend, Judy, in a lovely huge suite in a place called "the Re-Biltmore". We were on the 14th (13th, really) floor, hemmed in on their side by editors. Rough life, eh? We talked and drifted and wandered into panels and parties and drank tea and called for room service.

Despite the awkward moments of not knowing how to talk to people, we really did have a good time, and I did talk to plenty of people of course, with little or know problems. Even got to introduce myself to people I've wanted to for a long time. Famous writers and artists and everything. That was fun. Got to attend hot, packed parties. Got to watch the Zamboni and the ice skaters in the rink below our hotel window.

And I got to spend time with my far away friends. Heaven.

last week's thinking and doing § next week's thinking and doing


Not a week where I had much time for listening, though I'd say that more than anything else this week I've been listening to Tamara Williamson's Unconscious Pilot. Her work is odd--both really individual and yet still familiar. She has a marvellous voice. Sometimes it bothers me that her songs don't appear to be more structured, but mostly they are. I think she appears more offbeat than she really is. maybe because of her strange voice.

last week's listening § next week's listening


I know Isobelle Carmody's Obernewtyn is a young adult novel, and that it is the first of a series, but especially after reading Rhapsody last week it felt thin to me, and I had a hard time feeling drawn in to it. I got interested in finding out what happened next in the plot but it was more of a linear-type of getting into the story. I didn't feel at all invested in it. It's a post-apocalyptic story of a repressive society--I presume that was how they managed to survive and create order in the aftermath of the disaster--where the seditious and those with unusual abilities (extrasensory abilities somehow caused by the apocalypse) are killed or sent to work camps. The main character is an orphan and possessed of powers of exceptional strength, and there's some kind of prophecy about her powers. The problem is that I didn't believe she was that special, and her connection with the prophecy seemed forced rather than an outgrowth of the kind of character she is. Well, maybe this will be more understandable in later volumes.

Or maybe I'm just weary of bleak settings and repressed characters having to hide in them.

Also, while travelling, read a book written by someone I know online, whom I met in person for the first time at World Fantasy. The book was Kim Headlee's Dawnflight, an Arthurian romance (in the small-R genre sense) set in Dark Age Britain, with Guinevere ("Gyan") as a Pictish warrior chieftainess who converts to Christianity and falls in love with Arthur--these and fighting for her tribe's future are the passions of her life, as well as her growing friendship for the young lad whom I assume at a later date becomes the Lancelot figure. It's an intriguing take on the story.

Also, I was delighted to discover at the Con that Century magazine is again publishing. It's a wonderful issue (I still have one story to complete) but the quality is as high as the previous four volumes, the last of which appeared in 1996. The stories are amongst the most literary of speculative fiction and it's a wonderful, fertile, creative conjunction. I love this journal!

last week's reading § next week's reading


Well I talked about writing, thought about writing, listened to writers talk, attended a creativity workshop taught by a friend and wrote a page of freewriting all about thoughts to do with the novel....

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

April 1976

401. Hint of last summer

Just now, as i went downstairs, i had a hint of last summer. Something triggered something in my mind and i felt last summer's feelings. (Dead. I'm dead and no one told me, i never knew it) flashes of tie come to me often, and make me feel this way. Last summer flashed through my mind. It's time to ride.

402. Transition

I must be in a state of transition. I thought i had seen my magic morning, but i guess it wasn't really there. Do you mean to tell me i had a false magic morning? Is it possible? Hmm, i guess. It must be time to wait for my new magic morning. Please be soon, i ache for a new horizon.

403. As if i had never been

I know time will go one as if i had never been. But now i have the feeling that if i were suddenly to die or disappear (the rapture?1) Phono would go on and continue as usual. It's as if Phono can exist beyond the confines of my mind. Strange. Sometimes i feel i'm handling something bigger than me. That this has more purpose than just to draw excess words off the top of my writer's ego.

404. Leave well enough alone

I have decided--certain things are better left alone (especially me). People (when taken as a group) are very depressing. I just don't know how to take things today. Anything or anybody. I wish things would magically become beautiful, but life just doesn't work that way.

405. Mix-up (about future)

I'm mixed-up about my future. Don't know where it's going to lead and whether i even want to follow it. Will circumstances force me into something i don't want, or will i always be free to make my own decisions? I known i don't know. What i'm not sure about is whether i care.

406. Long time no see

Hi, Phono. Long time, no see! It's seems like ages, but i guess it's just over a week. I guess i'll fill you in... i had the flu, hated it, hated it, but it was good because right after it came my magic morning! That's right, it came! Well, evening actually, but still magic and still a beginning, a new horizon.2

407. Beautiful how things are planned

It's so beautiful how things are planned. I just thought it was in the depths of despair, totally miserable, then... my magic morning/evening! Life began; love began? Like the darkness before the dawn. They do say that the darkest hour is just before dawn.3 I guess they're right, whoever "they" are. All i have to say is that i certainly love the way God arranges things. He knows the perfect time for a magic morning. How can i ever thank Him? Well, as the song says... [quote from a thanksgiving song from Godspell omitted].

408. Life is fantastic!

Believe it or not, i really feel life is great. Me, the person who always wanted to quit or hide or run away. Escape in words or any way i possibly could. Magic mornings change a lot of things, maybe even a life. Happiness and the strange pain that it brings.

409. Year old

Well, it's a kind of birthday today. Mine. I've known the Lord for a year today, May 11. It's also my sister's anniversary. Wow. Catriona-sit today, at least until Paul comes to pick me up. (I can hardly wait.) Anyway, looking over this year, i think i have radically changed, for the better. I'm on the Right Road. A hard road, but a beautiful one. Still going, still growing.

410. Fishy story by Laura

Laura's fish story 





411. Laura says

Laura says there is no such thing as a free lunch. We don't agree, do we, Phono? S'there. I'm going to go find a free lunch somewhere. I don't know why but i do know what for. Sheer orneryness.


1. What evangelical Christians call the belief that Christ will return and raise up the bodies of all good believers sometime in the future--they argue whether it will be before or after all the horrible events of Revelations.

2. Paul had asked me to go out with him.

3. Or at least pop songs do.

last week's Phonosnout § next week's Phonosnout

Last Week § Les Semaines index § Next Week

Email comments, questions, and complaints to neile@sff.net § Neile's main page

3759 people have wandered through this week with me