Saturday, January 24, 2015
Years ago, after almost having this novel accepted by The House of Anansi Press, I stupidly demanded an advance, only to be told, "Do no more work on this." I got mad. I got computer literate. Take that ya buncha snots! lol. THE HAT PEOPLE a novel By Ivan ................... Chapter One The year was rife with signs, entire series of strange occurrences and unlucky portents, events so ominous that the superstitious in Toronto's great European community took immediate alarm and even the less skittish native Protestants began to entertain secret misgivings. On the westward commute, on the QEW to Hamilton, a new object had appeared in the heavens, an L-shaped chunk of what appeared to be a Corinthian column, larger than the moon and out of all proportion to earthly size. Hardly anyone noticed, in the lengthening days of February that an eclipse had occurred at about the same time, appearing to have the sun setting at five-thirty p.m. instead of a quarter to six. Only on the eleven o'clock news did our commuters learn that the fiery column, replete with its lower chunk of plinth, was an unexplained phenomenon by the local observatory and someone must have been sleeping at the switch, since the accompanying eclipse hadn't been predicted either. A satellite did pick up the torus, and all agreed, that from some angles, it did look like a hat. Torontonians shrugged and waited for other events. Something was happening to the money. The paper banknote seemed to change colour every day, while at the Royal Canadian Mint, die makers were already tooling up to turn old American-style quarters and dimes into huge coins resembling Mexican pesos. Three Conservative political campaigns fell as they rose, giving Bay Street a shudder, and in one Ukrainian Catholic Church, the very pillar of a conservative people, a priest went mad. In the midst of high mass, when the great onion-topped cathedral was crowded to its very doors, the Reverend Moisei Papryka, leaped to the altar, and shouting blasphemies, proceeded to lay violent hands on the Sacred Host, understood by all to be the body and blood of Christ. There was a Ukrainian-Canadian reporter at the mass whose news sense superceded his ethnic pride and he wrote up the story in the Toronto Star, along with all the other strange things that were going to and soon the radio and television reports were full of it. The reporter's name was John Lazarowych and he had noted for some time that the icons, holy images of not only his own church, but that of Bulgarian and Serbian and Macedonian denominations had taken to weeping, great globular tears wiped away by clucking abbots, some having to use mops to dry wet naves. "Why has everything gone topsy-turvy", John Lazarowych wanted to know in a Starweek magazine article which he was editing at the time. "All of our society's icons are flipping over. I've been to Marshall McLuhan's lectures. I was in Copenhagen, just after his conference with the Bildebergers, that group of billionaires who think they run the world. There is no doubt as to what's going on. Rapid social change and the breakup of Canada”. For which he was soon fired from his job, ostensibly because of a campaign of complaints from the Ukrainian community but more properly because his writing had taken on a lunatic quality and a lunatic with a powerful typewriter was dangerous indeed in a newspaper known for its rose-coloured glasses view of things. And so, while the city appeared to go to the Devil, John Lazarowych left Toronto in confusion and disgrace, taken to wandering around southern Ontario looking for God, or, for that matter, anyone who would dissuade him from believing that there was apocalypse just around the corner, if not for his city and his country, then certainly for him. His lovely raven haired Jewish wife had known for years that he was quietly going mad. He hardly drew a response from Laura at his announcement that he was leaving, and from his children, who did not understand yet, a bare shrug and a hug. Back to Title Page Chapter Two
Saturday, December 27, 2014
Silent night. Holy night. ................ Got nobody to call. Everybody busy with families, candlelight.Thought I'd call you, Ivan. Another orphan, kind of. You'd be sitting there, probably with some kind of candle guttering somewhere. Yep. You probably got time, time for a call. I am in an industrial parking lot. Got this old cube van oufitted with Acme woodburning stove.I actually put in a stovepipe through a roof vent. Kinda cozy, but, think it through, I am in a junkyard parking lot. Cops coming around now and then checking my address (It was actually a friend's address, and they know not only that I don't live there, the friend is today getting evicted.They won't accept Wexler's junk yard as an address, surely. Hope nobody comes around tonight). Somethinf I was going to ask you. I forget what. Silent night. Holy night. 'Round yon virgin mother and child Holy infant so tender and mild. Sleep in heavenly peace. Sleep in heavenly peace.
Saturday, December 20, 2014
At the age of 76, Joe Brod decided he wanted his life back. Lately he had been having dreams of the future, but it seemed to Joe, that there was no more future, perhaps only an imaginary, crabwise inching into the past. And perhaps the future was really the past. Joe Brod, wakes and prepares breakfast in his condo kitchenette in exurban Newmarket, Ontario. It's early in the morning, but Brod couldn't sleep, partly because he's obsessed with the seemingly mildly retarded beauty he had once made love to, now in hospital with advanced alzheimers. He had visited her, but all she wanted, in her seemingly demented state was fifty dollars for the bootlegger, "fer to get whiskey,"which was hardly possible, as she was in her hospital bed with a catheter and an oxygen inhaler. She was tethered. He had left depressed, feeling once again, that every woman he had tourched seemed to go to hell. Is it because I like the crazy ones? Is it because Im crazy? Hm. What does it matter? The mad seem to live forever. Like you, Joe? You are seventy-six,and after years of whoring,writing and drinking,you are still kind of a kid. That phrase out of the Twenties, "Oh you kid" That damn epoch speaks a lot of pathos, tin roof blues, and oh you kid. He knows Newmarket because Main Street is so much the boulevard of broken dreams, as in the posters,closed storefronts and suddenly burgeoning bars. A Mexican cantina is trying to bring it back to life. People doing the Hat Dance, bums pretending to be high rollers, what with the cheap tequila and inexpensive food. He remembers his Spanish from Mexico, and for a while, just for a while, he makes his crab crawl backwards into time. If he can now not return to Mexico, Mexico is coming to him in exurban Newmarket. Briefly, he has his life back, the senoritas, the American divorcees.The warmth of her. Sweet blow by the hot springs. In the moring, it is over. Back to the hospital, to visit his Kallikak girlfriend, the strange portal back to his past. But did he have to give her an evil bite? Strange chimaeric nature.