April 9th, 2006

chi6

Thwarting the Doves.

As it turned out, I did only one of those memes yesterday. Today, though, I'll do the National Poetry Month thing. Later today.

The proofreading went better than expected. Usually, when I'm in such a mood, that mood where the last thing I want to read is me, proofreading is pointless. I hate everything I see. I cannot pretend I ever have anything like objectivity as regards my own work, but in those moods there is a marked bias against anything I've written. I want to draw a red line through it all. However, I managed to slip out of it yesterday, somehow. We read through "For One Who Has Lost Herself," and it seems to work for me. Which was a relief. I changed very little from the "first draft." Just a few line edits. Then we got back to work on Alabaster. I knew I was only up for one story, so we read "The Well of Stars and Shadow," one of my favourites in the collection. I changed a few words here and there, a handful of commas. It was weird reading those two stories back to back. Two very different voices. My voice that sounds just a little like Shirley Jackson and then my voice that sounds just a little like Flannery O'Conner merged with Harper Lee. There might have been a time when I could pretend I wrote with one voice, but that time's is passed, for better or worse.

Oh, frell. Let's not go all retrospectical autoanalytical. Not just now.

Today, we're going to proof "Waycross" and "Alabaster" and maybe also "Les Fleurs Empoisonnèes". I'd really like to be done with these galleys by Tuesday, at the latest. And I have to talk with Vince about the illo. for "For One Who Has Lost Herself."

We had a good walk late yesterday. Out to Freedom Park. Everyone was off at the Dogwood Festival at Piedmont, so we had the park almost entirely to ourselves. The oaks are greening, and there was a breathtaking, beautiful bank of cumulus clouds, towering and white and blue and grey, moving in from the north or northeast. There was a sunlit window yesterday, between the morning's overcast gloom and second waves of storms in the evening. It was much appreciated. I only wish I'd had the camera to get some shots of those clouds.

Spooky went to the market. I wrote a new Wikipedia entry, for the Chinese basal ornithischian Hexinlusaurus multidens, and edited a number of others. I fixed dinner. We watched most of the extras on the two Star Trek DVDs we'd rented Friday. I didn't mention yesterday that this "director's version" of Star Trek: The Motion Picture is the final cut that Robert Wise never got, because the shooting/release schedule for the film was so absurdly rushed. And it does smooth out a lot of the rough spots and makes more sense of the action without changing any of it. A lot of the sfx were reworked, all for the better, and nothing was done that couldn't have been done with 1978 technology. It's not the sort of hatchet revisionist job George Lucas did on the first three Star Wars films. The opening sequence on Vulcan is much improved.

So. That was yesterday. Back to the red pen now.
chi6

National Poetry Month Meme (Pt. 1)

I'm sitting here wondering what percentage of this country takes poetry seriously, and it's a depressing thought, especially when I begin cross-referencing it with all the other important things in the world that people in this country don't seem to take seriously.

Caitlín, just shut up and post the poem.

"Wanting to Die" (Anne Sexton)

Since you ask, most days I cannot remember.
I walk in my clothing, unmarked by that voyage.
Then almost unnameable lust returns.

Even then I have nothing against life.
I know well the grass blades you mention,
the furniture you have placed under the sun.

But suicides have a special language.
Like carpenters they want to know
which tools.
They never ask
why build.

Twice I have so simply declared myself ,
have possessed the enemy, eaten the enemy,
have taken on his craft, his magic.

In this way, heavy and thoughtful,
warmer than oil or water,
I have rested, drooling at the mouth-hole.

I did not think of my body at needle point.
Even the cornea and the leftover urine were gone.
Suicides have already betrayed the body.

Still-born, they don't always die,
but dazzled, they can't forget a drug so sweet
that even children would look on and smile.

To thrust all that life under your tongue!—
that, all by itself, becomes a passion.
Death's a sad bone; bruised, you'd say,

and yet she waits for me, year after year,
to so delicately undo an old wound,
to empty my breath from its bad prison.

Balanced there, suicides sometimes meet,
raging at the fruit, a pumped-up moon,
leaving the bread they mistook for a kiss,

leaving the page of the book carelessly open,
something unsaid, the phone off the hook
and the love, whatever it was, an infection.


—February 3, 1964
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