Sunday, August 10, 2014

"Create your own song now."

1966.
Summertime, and the publishing was easy.
What other college could have people going around asking, begging,
 to have something printed by you. Yes, you.
That was back in the day,when you were, you thought, at already   twenty-something, that you were brilliant.At least your peers told you you were.
You'd made your mark in the student paper, now they were after you for the literary magazine and the yearbook.
And you did deliver.
Success, at least locally.
Now at the bars, a "Wine-stoned Cowboy."
 
Not the same thing forty yours later, with a cant, when brilliant and broke just doesn't cut it any more.
 
That old song:
 Nobody wants you when you're down and out.
Three million words in print, and one can't even get a bank loan. And the leprechaun in your head, so recently played by the CasinoRama floka, , yelps, "Ya wanna go, Ya wanna go?"
Ya, I wanna go, but these days, I can hardly walk.
But there must be some optimism left.
I can still try to scribble.
 
"Scribble, scribble scrible, eh Jones?"
 
The line out the song, "On Broadway:"
 
"And I you don't think  you'll get that far
But I can play this here guitar
"And I won't quit till I'm a star
On Broadway"
 
Well, the Broadway days are gone.
Radio. TV. The recording.
 
I go out into the street hunting for butts and booze.
 
At the stoplight somebody suddenly call out to you.
 
"Hey, I saw you on television."
 
"Forty years ago?"
 
"Yes, forty years ago."
 
Well, I can't quit now.
 
That was some lodestar.

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.
 
                      -30-

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.
 
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