Welcome to cygnoir.net! This is a personal website that has existed in some form or another since May 1998. It is written and produced by me, Halsted, a/k/a Cygnoir.

If this is your first visit, you may want to start with basic info about me and this site. In short: I’m a fiction writer and performer, an online diarist, and a public library director.

My current projects and passions are updated monthly on my “now” page, and I blether regularly at Micro.blog.

I’m glad that you’re here. Stay awhile, and say hello.

The now of November 2019

The way a body moves through the space of grief is confounding. At times the body is a sieve and grief is a million grains of sand. Other times the body is just a body and grief is air its lungs greet and release, greet and release.

My cat has been dead for almost seven weeks and I’m still sad. I’ll probably be sad for a while. If sad blogging ‘Sted is not your bag, I get it. I won’t hold it against you. Come back soon.

I had planned to review John Hodgman’s “Medallion Status” for you this month, but I got to the cat death part of the book (not kidding). If you guessed that it made me sad enough to put the book down and not yet pick it back up again, you are 100% correct.

This month I am learning to be the person who says she will participate in NaNoWriMo but, left alone, forgets how to string sentences together. So I’m here, practicing that again.

Earlier in the month I visited friends in Providence, Rhode Island, for a few days. It was a whirlwind, but I remembered to share some photos.

Spotify’s wily ways introduced me to this song, which I like but don’t know why, and now I like all of Ruel’s songs but don’t know why. So thanks, Spotify? The future is weird.

Fountain pen ink fans, you simply must see Troublemaker Inks. I don’t know how they make the ink shade like that. Science is brilliant.

Portland is a locus of oddities. I found a creepy postcard in a wee shop here and it had a website on the back so I of course went to the website and now I’m possibly part of a secret society. Or I just stumbled upon a marvelous art project.

Goodnight from me and Toby Toad, the amphibious king of Instagram.

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do u guys rememember that one time wen i was takin a nap

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This was a “now” post that should show up on my “now” page so that I can build an archive of these posts. I’ll try this experiment again next month.

Butter Bib the miracle cat.

About a month ago, we had yet another health worry with Butter Bib (a/k/a Zen). Since then she has bounced back and is in fine form, still going up and down the stairs, and also going up and down the little plastic steps we have by our bed. Now that the weather is colder, I often wake up in the wee hours with her cold nose pressed against the inside of my elbow, like a tiny ice cube melting on me. It is one of Zen’s most endearingly annoying habits … and she has accumulated quite a few of those over her twenty-one years.

Writing from: a quiet study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: pages turning as FunkyPlaid reads in the other room.

The Angel Turturro.

I don’t have much to say today, so I’ll share this photo of an ornament that my mom and I made last Christmastime. We think he looks a little like John Turturro.

The grand old Holidailies catch-up.

I’m quite behind with Holidailies this year, so I’m going to catch up with one long post of pieces parts instead of trying to make, uh, eleven separate things. OK with you? Good, let’s go!

Every December starts out snail-slogging through the first week and then all of a sudden Christmas is next week wait what? Oops.

I won my Goodreads reading challenge of 25 books a bit ahead of schedule, but so many of those were short or re-reads that it didn’t feel like a real win. I’m about to re-read another book, too; I finally saw the trailer for the “Good Omens” series and I am beyond excited.

It is difficult to be annoyed by evening commute traffic while laughing at the latest episode of Paul F. Tompkins’ podcast, “Spontaneanation”.

The song “Level Up” by Vienna Teng has been running through my head lately. The song is excellent, but the video … well, it levels it up.

And then my uncle sent me a link to her exquisite “Ain’t No Sunshine / Lose Yourself” cover/mashup and though I thought I could not love her any more I became one giant goosebump when I listened to this.

It’s the season of giving, so here is one of the cutest kitten photos I have ever seen.

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An exceptionally modest lil lady. 😉

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Have you heard of “binge boxes”? They’re boxes of 3-6 DVDs grouped around a theme or actor that you can check out from your local library! My favorite that I’ve seen: “A Box of Rocks” — all films starring The Rock.

Speaking of libraries, I love seeing positive tweets and posts about them on social media … but the best way to support your local library is to show up and use it. If you don’t know how to get started with your local library, or even where it is, leave a comment on this post and I will help you. I mean it!

Thus concludes the grand old Holidailies catch-up. I’ll try for another post tomorrow.

Writing from: a quiet study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: rain and wind and rain.

Learning the meaning of public service.

This morning, I attended a meeting of a coalition of local organizations who provide services for people who are unstably housed. I was glad for the opportunity to listen to how the members of these organizations are supporting our community, and I was especially touched by how a couple of these members reached out to me to thank the public library for our part.

Way back when, in my first library job, I had no idea what librarianship was really about. (I cringe when I consider my very first library job interview; I probably said something lame like, “I love to read!”) I was barely cognizant of what customer service was, let alone public service. After a little over two decades, I am definitely still learning, especially as our field collaborates with social work, as in Whole Person Librarianship.

To date, the training that has helped me the most has been Ryan Dowd’s Librarian’s Guide to Homelessness. Ryan also has a weekly newsletter for tips on compassionate work with patrons experiencing homelessness. But better than any training is the affirmation like the kind I received this morning: there are people working hard to serve our community, and they appreciate all the help that we can give them.

If you want to get involved, here are a few organizations in eastern Washington County:

Writing from: a quiet study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: a small tortoiseshell cat snoring.