Saturday, July 12, 2014

I am today like the Brazil World Cup soccer team: No future, but what  a past!
My best friend, possibly sensing this turned me  down on a loan, saying you just can't beg for dollar bills out of the the ether. You gotta show me you're serious before I get involved.
Jaysus. A simple yes or no would have done it.
No need for epistemology and another page of proof.
Proof of what? That I had turned asshole?
But I was an asshole in need. No need for the lecture,
Durn  those I'm-all-right -Jack attitudes.
Easy to say when some woman has taken off with your rent money and all you have is the memory of  rather badly executed sex. And one has collected a trustee in bankruptsy.
In a word, a best friend has told one to f-off.
I'm sure this has happened to a reader before. Ya never know. "I'm all right Jack, he seems to say while chewing on a chicken drumstick while you're there hanging around the dumpster.
Well, what the hell. We had career choices. He played it straight, while I chose to play the grand genius sweepstakes. I did not win. At least not yet. And time is getting on. I am 76.
There is this secret vanity. Four novels and two kids. Other friends tell me that ain't bad.
...But the critics missed it, and it seems, so did my "I'm-all-right, Jack" friend.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The writer as Mickey Mouse in the Sorcerer's Apprentice

I don't like writing on the fly, especially when one's lights seem caught in a stock: Family anxieties, angry landlord, little food, no cigarettes. Whee, isn't life grand?
But you have to write. Like Kafka might say, a writer who doesn't write is a dangerous entity.
So with frayed coattails, an edge of a nervous breakdown here I go:
"Life is evil," says Arthur Schopenhauer, "ecause when you solve one problem another immediately crops up."
As a fiction writer, I get very leery of writing about reality, because it is stronger ane more fascinating than any fiction, and if you face it, it might just zap you. It is metaphysics, and any nuber of wizards from the past may have been zapped, like Mickey Mouse in the Sorcerer's Apprentice.
So here I am. Poor almost evicted. Along with a woman who seems in almost worse shape. I like to think that it is better to be smart and sensitive than stupid and sensitive...At leastsmart, you can almost think your way out during the tornado.
So right now during this rare Ontario tornado, I am in this cellar, still out of bread and cigarettes--Mickey Mouse in his bunker, daring not at all to face the dancing brooms.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Sometimes on the world-wide web, I come across  poem that makes my own writing look like clumsy scrawls.

Here is the poem by Daved Emaku Kalu

If I choose to go to Lagos

May 7, 2014 at 4:25am

I will have no place to stay
But if I go to my father’s people
There is a house that was red dust before my mother planted a smile
Of sunflowers around it
Even so it will be that kind of stay where I will not drink and put my cup down
Always aware of the proximity of my father’s presence
Used to the city I’ll be looking over my shoulder each time
The old doors creak when my ancestors go past
In that house where even the wind will challenge everything I do
And everyone wonder why I selfishly travel to the moon
Floating between clouds, fondling the stars
Instead of filling the tank behind the house with water from the well
If I go to Abuja in my sister’s house the air my food
My sleep my dreams
Will be saturated by Jesus
And the faces and names of the people she’s unpinned
From the devil’s thorny fence
My sister believes as soon as someone recites I give you my life, Jesus
They’ve turned from a wolf into a sheep
But I have seen the clumpy verdigris
Around the things her converts do not say
A fox showing now and then behind the dewy eyes they peer out of
If I remain where I am if I remain where I’ve been
Then I’ll keep being nowhere (like the hole in a doughnut)
Standing before the gallows of this crossroads, for once
I am grateful to be unencumbered by love
To be beholden to nothing or anyone but that which I do without obtruding on anything or
Anyone though the manner in which I rise to occasions would amaze everyone
As I rise now to the possibility of a devil’s alternative
Turning as from a mine field from the tired creak of the cranked pulley
The water slowly rising in the algae-rimmed bucket
In the mossy well
Of my father’s house

If I go there I will hear his voice saying 29 Regent Street,
Could I have a taxi please?
And I’m not strong enough for that now
With him buried out there in front