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Les Semaines

99.12.19

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

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Not Asleep

Not sure what's up with me, but I'm in one of those stages where I'm having trouble sleeping at night. Nearly every night this week I went to bed around the same time Jim did, but once he turned out his light I'd read on for a while, and finally realize that while I was tired I wasn't about to go to sleep, so I'd go upstairs for a while and read up there so my light wouldn't bother him. When I finally was tired enough, I'd come back downstairs and read for a while with the flashlight, then finally nod off. Then of course getting up wasn't easy. I certainly didn't break the cycle this weekend, in fact I reinforced it by staying up till 1:30 and sleeping in until after 10:00.

Usually when this happens it's because I'm really busy, or I'm upset about something, and while I am busy, just because of the time of year it is, I'm not feeling frantic about it (I think because we don't have any plans until going up to Victoria for New Years' and my family reunion, so things should be pretty low key). I've completed nearly all my shopping, and while I have loads of holiday letters to send out, I'm never to anxious about getting them done too soon before Christmas. I figure I have until Twelfth Night (Jan. 6th, Epiphany--I know I have an unusual deadline about this, but it keeps me sane, okay?) anyway and I know I'll get them done before that. Well, I think so, anyway.

I also don't feel as though I have anything weighing too heavily on my mind, other than the usual low-key anxiety about not getting much writing done, having way too much email to respond to all piled up in my inbox, having lots of friends' writings to read properly and talk to them about, having stacks and stacks of papers around my room (hey, at least this time I know where the bills all are and that not too many things have slipped through the cracks). And I don't have the worry that my computer will cough and die at any moment; I'm loving the new one more and more all the time as I appreciate all the little things it does better and the benefits of having a big screen.

And basically I don't feel too worried about anything personally. Sure I have some friends who are going through some not-so-wonderful times (a rough time at work, a broken romance, some serious health problems), but all of them are basically doing okay.

And it's not caffeine, because it makes no difference whether I have anything with caffeine in it in the afternoon or not. Believe me, I've tested it.

The not sleeping much is not even bothering me too much. I'm coping okay and am not too terribly un-energetic at work or home. At least not less than usual. My back was really bothering me yesterday after exercising and then cleaning the house (because we had a friend to dinner) but it seems pretty much okay today. I'm not exhausted. I'm not wired.

I just don't want to sleep. Maybe I've been having nightmares I don't remember. Maybe it's because it's the dark of winter and I'm afraid the night will eat me. Maybe it's because Jim's talking in his sleep and Maddy's having a loud, snorting bath right by my head (Zach's pretty quiet, and he used to steal the blankets and I had trouble sleeping because my butt was getting a cold draft but a few weeks ago we got a king size down comforter and that doesn't happen anymore. Can't blame Zach!)

Anyway, it's odd. It's the dark of year when we should all sleep. I just want to sleep in the morning instead of at night. Foolish me, when I should take as much advantage of whatever weak daylight there is.

And now I'm thinking of Solstice, and the light that they say comes in the passage at Maes Howe that day and strikes the back inner wall there (Maes Howe is a Neolithic tomb on the Orkney Islands). And the Solstice Moon coming up on the 22nd, when we're brighter and closer than ever in our lives.

Maybe I'm just afraid of missing any of the magic of this time of year.

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

Listening

More more more of the same when I have a little listening time. It has been busy. Jim has played disc jockey at bit and reminded me how far beyond wonderful Kate Bush was. Damn her music is scarily exceptional. Emotional and intellectual both.

And on Tuesday night I went to the local Barnes and Noble and hear Susan Court give a concert. She's definitely an inheritor--not a clone--of Kate Bush. The show was, as always, delightful. Susan Court's music is charming.

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

Maureen F. McHugh's Mission Child disappointed me. It has had excellent reviews, and I loved the first section when it appeared as a novella in the Starlight 1 anthology. I think in the long run what disappointed me was how similar the book was to the real human world but how little it seemed to comment on it. It was about a colonized planet that had lost contact with the human world and reverted to a nontechnological society, then had been rediscovered. The advanced society had to be careful about how it affected the pretechnological societies and yet despite its care it still destroyed the balance of cultures. This situation had all kinds of potential to say interesting things about colonization and the meetings of less and more technologically advanced peoples but it didn't say anything new to me. Just as the main character had all kinds of potential but never reached it, though at the end she comes to some kind of peace (that felt drifted into, for me). There was no sense of drive or shape to the story, and I kept thinking that I'd read so much of this so many times before in mainstream and nonfiction literature about aboriginal people meeting with western culture. There seemed little point to set this in the far future. There seemed little point for the main character to wander as much as she did and to change how she did. Given the rave reviews it has received, I have the feeling that I just didn't Get this one.

Annette Curtis Klause's The Silver Kiss was a young adult novel about a girl whose mother is dying of cancer who meets a young vampire who is chasing the vampire who made him one. This other vampire is killing people, and the two must figure out how to stop him. It's an entertaining read but not very rich, given the situation. Were the emotions too spelled-out rather than shared for me?

Judy McCrosky's Spin Cycle and Other Stories is a very brief collection of short stories by a friend of mine. It's her first collection, and while compared to her later stories these aren't a mature, they certainly as nicely handled, and several of them are delightful. It's interesting to me how consistent her style and voice are, even though now she has changed from mainstream literary shorts (though several have fantastic touches) to speculative fiction shorts.

Elizabeth George's Deception on His Mind is an interesting mystery. As I've mentioned more than once, I'm not a big mystery fan, but I do like most of Elizabeth George's. A friend sent me two of them several years ago as a Christmas gift, and since then I've read most or all of the rest of this series. The mysteries are always somewhat similar (something dark and dirty buried under it all) but I like the characters involved in the detecting, and the way the mystery is revealed is always well-enough handled to keep my interest. I don't get too impatient with these ones as I do with most other mysteries.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

Does writing notes on holiday letters count?

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Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

June-July 1976

461. A line dedicated to Nancy by Laura

_______________________________________________

462. Message to Paul

Hey, don't listen to me. I am so rotten i am trying to make you feel guilty about going away this summer. Please forgive me, i wasn't consciously doing it; i only realized it, i mean really realized it, yesterday. I'm sorry. It must be my insecurity or something, really. I'm afraid you'll change and grow, come back strong (of course you will). And i'll still be way back where i am now. (You'll be glad to know i don't think i'm scraping bottom anymore, but i'm still not too high or strong.) I'm also scare you won't miss me, yet in a way i'd rather you didn't. I can't face it, anything, that's why i'm seriously thinking of clearing out.
          Love,
              me
                  (love me?)

463. Message from Paul

Even though we don't see much of each other this summer (this fall) I still care for you a great deal. True love suffers (tested by time). God has a purpose for both our lives and this summer I think we're going to uncover a corner of it. Even though we won't do it together as we'd like to do it, we'll do it the way the Lord wants us to do it. I'm sure our love will grow stronger for each other, I hope you're here when I come back. xxoo

464. Paul's left now

Paul left yesterday, I drove him to the ferry. Saw a beautiful sunrise together, then he had to leave (life is hard enough without goodbyes1). Numbness all the way home, then all day. Then the dismissal of the possibility of Jared2, i felt two bereavements. Understand? It doesn't matter, i don't intend to be understandable. The first symptom of withdrawal. Withdrawal from Paul.

465. S'bin

S'bin 'most a week now. Paul gone, that is. Depression sorta, but haven't had much time for it, really. Pretty busy, Seeding, rowdying around, walking Lady.3 (But i miss him.) I actually, honestly, miss him. [Quote from the Lovin' Spoonful's "Darling Be Home Soon" omitted.] Only a month more to wait, and that only if i don't break down and go to Montreal myself. (Wouldn't it be beautiful? Oh, i wish!)

466. If this was the last day

[Long quote omitted from a song by the Christian group The Second Chapter of Acts about the Rapture.] I wish this was the last day of my life. Rapture, come! I wouldn't mind being raptured today (except for the people left behind) 'cause then i would be with Paul (and with Jesus!!!) Would be nice. Would be happiness. Would be heaven. (Wouldn't it?) But there's still so much left do do.

467. Tuesday night

It's Tuesday night, the thirteenth of July, and i wish it wasn't Tuesday night, etc.4 Missing Paul terribly, i'm fresh out of patience, and am feeling useless. (Pardon me, your paranoia is showing.) Anyhow, this place, The Seed, is making me sick and if i listen to the radio a minute longer i'll scream. Oh pain, not much more left, much less patience. No remainders of Paul's presence to be found.

468. Letters

Lately i've been writing letters, ran out of people to write to. Wrote Paul fourteen pages. I've never written that much before in my life.5 Today i got a post card from him, made me happy. Spent the day with sister and Catriona. Cute baby, for a niece. Again, again i'm looking for an escape route, and letters seem not a bad route. Maybe. What? Whatever.

469. Unfit

Today i'm rather unfit for human consumption. People are wise and are avoiding me. (But that irritates me more.) I guess it's time for something to break again. Something must snap, i have a feeling it's supposed to be me. I wish it wasn't, i'm not in the mood to break again. I don't have the mind or the time, much less the rhyme. Need to go and march out my time, expend some energy. Maybe even just on the accelerator pedal. Blow out my frustration and my self-inflicted pains.

470. Talking to God

Talking to God has cleared my mind a little from the last chapter. I mean i feel a lot better and a bit stronger (Ha ha world5). Things are weird tonight. People in, out. Seed. Seed this--Seed that. Only time is real, and seems to rule. I wish spiritually things were a little better. Please, Lord?


NOTES

1. A swipe from Elton John, rather Bernie Taupin.

2. My period started, over two weeks late and one of the most painful of my life--it might have been sadness and anxiety. It might have been a miscarriage. Jared was a name we'd talked about liking for a child and it became the name in my head.

3. Lady was Paul's German Shepherd puppy. He didn't keep her long, either.

4. Reference to Elton John/Bernie Taupin's lyrics.

5. At least in a letter--I'd written a novel-length piece of fiction before that at about 13.

6. Title of a song by rebel Christian rocker, Larry Norman, about defying the evil world.

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