Saturday, June 24, 2006

Doubting Thomas had me doubting

How quickly a blog's reputation can go to seed.

I'd put up some old published college short stories and poems, and for two days anyway, hardly anyone seemed to raise a yawn.

Panic. I am getting no hits. Now is the time to nudge old friends, re-court some women bloggers, hunt up my professional friends who in the past had submitted razor-sharp and insightful bits.

But there was still nothing. Could it be that my uh, creative material had seriously sucked for the past forty years and people had been too kind to say it reminded them of Hoover or Juno vacuum cleaners".

"You suck," says the fan to the vacuum cleaner in a cartoon.

"Blow me," said the irritated fan.

And then along came Thomas.

He must have sensed my plight and sent me a link about a blogging pig in a comic book, the pig finally deciding that if he had no comments on his blog, he'd just give up and put his stuff on the fridge from now on.

Right on, Doubting Thomas.

I was about to type my blog on magnetized paper and plaster the stuff all over the fridge when the first trickle of real comments began to come in.

Now, from the smug standpoint of having gleaned an entire ten comments on that particular blog, "He whom the gods destroy they first call promising", I offer my own comic strip to Doubting Thomas. 'Fraid it's a little in bad taste, but then Thomas knows me. I picked up the strip which I am about to reproduce while sleeping in an alleyway outside a Newmarket bar. I had covered myself with two EYE magazines, and stuck for reading matter in the morning, found the cartoon, titled DRY SHAVE, the best thing in that sad gay-lib throwaway.

So, here is what Thomas sent me:

And here is what I'm putting up in answer to Doubting Thomas.

Sometimes the humerus is connected to the ulna. Heh.


DoubtingThomas said...

Charming cartoon, Ivan. No need to worry about sparse comments sometimes. I am sure you are getting a good number of hits.

I like coming here to your "salon" because you are a character, and I enjoy reading your advice about writing. I have been a wannabe dabbler since my teen years, never published, write for my own enjoyment. I find most blogs with writing as a theme are about being a writer, rather than getting down to really writing. Hmmm....

Also, I get inspired by your comments and let loose with a spurt of "writing" much like Greeks in tavernas sometimes get taken by the moment and spontaneously get up and start dancing solo. As my bazouki gently weeps.

I have noted two compliments from you; once you said I could sorta write well, and you remarked to somebody that your blog was read by friends from the old days and eccentrics. I am proud to be thought of as an eccentric by someone of your standing!

What a burden for you, your readers expect regular posts by you. Keep it up.

ivan said...

Really appreciate that, Tom.
Your comment is full of sparkling passages.
I especially like "...and let loose with a spurt of 'writing' much like Greeks in tavernas sometimes get taken by the moment and spontaneously get up and start dancing solo. As my bazouki gently weeps."
I used to enjoy going to Greektown in fact, and, as you may estimate, I was called Zorba by my academic compatriots. Logicians and politicians all, they were surprised by anybody showing any laeticia. The bazouki playing came later in the evening, when, with my rock band, I tried to be George Harrison.
Nowadays, I'm still trying to play Stairway to Heaven right.

Sela Carsen said...

Consider me courted, Ivan. I'll be back more frequently.

ivan said...

Welcome Sela.

Just had a look at your logo.


DoubtingThomas said...

Sela, just looked at your blog, and your avatar. Won't show the rest, eh? Oh Calcutta? Ivan does attract the ladies, he is a regular chick magnet. Hope you have a sense of humor, Sela. Some of the ladies that come here don't and they are ready to spit in Ivan's eye! And they are the ones who say there is no justification for violence.

Ivan, Ian Robinson, columnist in the Calgary Sunday Sun, today wrote a bit about HIS time at Rye High. I don't know if it is online. I will check and send you a message if it is, you being a Luddite and all. :-)

(I wonder if Sela's writing is as racy as Bernita's?)

ivan said...

Ah, Sela seems to have more class than a school of dolphins.
And her fish probably travel in universities, they're so smart.

Robinson used to be a big name in Onario journalism. Yeah, send me a link if you can. Yep. I'm still an unwitting follower of Charles Ludd.
I can talk about compuers endlessly, but it's kind of hard to really do it.
Brains skip a generation. It's a good thing my son ended up with them.

Sela Carsen said...

I have both a sense of humor and a strong belief in justification for violence. *gg*

Racy? Moi? Nah. Just a big tease.

ivan said...

The great Jorge Luis Borges seems to believe that violence is the real answer to most problems.
He is one of the greatest writers in the world. Pause for thought.
Mother will spank?

p.s. I am largely harmless

Erik Ivan James said...

Hey, Ivan. I still come by on a fairly regular basis. I'm not commenting much of anywhere these days. Busy doing other things. Trying to keep the mortgage paid for one.

ivan said...

Thanks Erik,
I made a small technical note to the story you have just put up on your blog.
I did say I liked the story very much. Stories of animals in some sort of distress or tight spot always seem to make it.

General Jack Ripper said...

Carry on, soldier!

ivan said...

Ha ha ha ha.

Col.Jack D. Ripper:
"Ever see a Commie drink water, Mandrake?"

Ginger said...

Happy Monday - well, now Tuesday everyone.

To Sela, I give the cleavage award - I too am blessed in this area, and at an upcoming pary celebrating the villians that we could be I will be "Madame Bazoomba", an evil mistress who distracts men (and some women) with her breasts while mincing away with their offshore accounts.

Ivan, darling, you know I've been distracted, and haven't been keeping up with you as I should. But I finally wrote something new - not necessarily great, but I had fun doing it, and that's what's important.

Now I've got to catch up on the rest of your blog...not a big fan of spewing myself, but I can understand the purpose...hoping to read more about sex, phallosophy, hopelesness, and maybe love.


ivan said...

Just had a peek at your new story up on your blog. You say "not necessarily great...", but I think it's good, so very good. We'll have to think about giving it some sort of treatment.
Your e-mail to me just came in.
I seem to be able to get some of my lights up at two a.m. and will undertake an answer.

ivan said...

Strange goings-on these days.
I am suddenly being courted as an agent.
Me an agent?
The same man who was unoficially cited some years ago as Newmarket Ontario's worst business man?
I have no head for figures, neither am I given to tact or even elegance in dealing with the care and feeding of authors. As for contract standard form, that would bore me to death.
Yet some people, in emails, suggest I should start an agency.

Crikey, I myself have been rejected at times by the very publishers I may be solicing on behalf of any authors.

Yet when I see fine work, I am sorely tempted.

I mean, I might have the best idea, the best "high concept", yet somebody may yet do me before I even set pen to paper...And that's good, because if you cannot immediately tell your own truth, somebody soon will soon tell it anyway.

...Just thpught I'd throw this in to keep the kettle boiling.

At least Antonia Zerbisias, over at the Torono Star, is taking me seriously, as I take good old AZ seriously.

After all, we did once work in the same vinyards, but she's a bit above old Ivan on the Darwin and
Binet scale.
I quote my ex-wife:
You didn't last long at The Star because you weren't smart enough.

I have since been back three times at the Star, with more or less the same result. Huge sprawling stories with my name on them, but ultimately a slip here and there, and, well, disinvited again.
There is always the vanity of Crative Writing as a defense mechanism.

OK. I have the IQ of a mollusk, but bigod, I'm fancy.

So I should still try to make it as an agent?
My Latin has gone to pieces, but I am especially fond of "Donus nos.
Sumus fornicatus."

Give it to us.
We'll f*ck it up!

R.J. Baker said...

Ah, the writer's insecurities, gotta love it...

ivan said...

What do you mean a writer's insecurities?
(To imaginary fierce demon passing by): "Go on through, go on through...!);
(To imaginary lost lover hovering on the edge of consciousness:

I am sound as a dollar.

I never make misteaks.


DoubtingThomas said...

Ivan Porkchop as an agent? And maybe talent developer and string puller behind up and coming Bright Young Talents? This is an idea I hadn't thought of. Just like Rompin' Ronnie and John Mayall, lots of talent, but no big hits of their own, but lots of talented musicians passed through their bands.

I think I would rather see you have a number of "hits" of your own, Ivan. Accompanied by books of "images" of your places. Interviews on Bravo! TV. (Beware of anything that has an exclamation point in its name.)


I was grinding through my day gig
Stackin' cutouts at the Strand
When in walks Franny from NYU
We were quite an item back then
We talked about her films and shows and CDs
And I don't know what else
She said, yeah, Hollywood's been good to me
But tell me - how about yourself

I'm still working on that novel
But I'm just about to quit
'Cause I'm worrying about the future now
Or maybe this is it
It's not all that I thought it would be
What a shame about me

She said, talk to me, do you ever see
Anybody else from our old crew
Bobby Dakine won the Bunsen Prize
Now he's coming out with something new
Alan owns a chain of Steamer Heavens
And Barry is the software king
And somebody told me in the early 80's
You were gonna be the Next Big Thing

Well now that was just a rumor
But I guess I'm doin' fine
Three weeks out of the rehab
Living one day at a time
Sneaking up on the new century
What a shame about me

What a shame about me
I'm thinking of a major Jane Street sunrise
And the goddess on the fire escape was you

We both ran out of small talk
The connection seemed to go dead
I was about to say, hey, have a nice life
When she touched my hand and said:
You know I just had this great idea
This could be very cool
Why don't we grab a cab to my hotel
And make believe we're back at our old school

I said babe you look delicious
And you're standing very close
But like this is Lower Broadway
And you're talking to a ghost
Take a good look it's easy to see
What a shame about me
What a shame about me

"What A Shame About Me"
Steely Dan (Becker & Fagen)
Album: Two Against Nature

ivan said...

Doubting Thomas,
All right. All right. Maybe Steely Dan does have something. I am almost convinced.
Air time?
Flock, until recently, I have been on local TV almost every night. Music time? I think everybody's tired of my stories of having played on the same bill as Gordon Lightfoot.
I ain't workin' on my novel. My novel is writ. The Black Icon is an underground bestseller. Check it out in the TO library. Or get your library to send a copy to you on Interloan.
Yeah, yeah, I resemble an old Comic book character, around Roy Rogers' time: Will Bragg.

We do seem to have some sort of affinity for each other though. If old age and senility don't get me soon, I will visit that collection of strip malls that is Calgary.
I have dreams of Calgary and Edmonton. Why is that? I guess it's guys like you and Aaron, who have somehow given this blog a boost. Aaron has actually featured one of my novels, links and all in his

If I consider becoming an agent, it'll certatinly be sort of dilletantish. There was a time when I didn't ever want to hurry or put myself under pressure, but now, having dropped from a prof to a pauper, I have to, like the Americans used to say, "hump myself."
Come to think of it, I've been humping myself too much lately.

F*ck Steely Dan; here is an Ivan original:

I used to be a hippie
Freaking out on Panama Red
Watching moths break out like paintings
In the middle of my head

I used to be a seer
seeing things beyond the things
Till I ran against the wall
That stymies cabbages and kings.

So come you pretty poets
And give your thoughts to me
No more the fuzzy dreamer.
An agent I shall be.

--Veal Cutlet PhD.

(Or G. Muff Diver?) Eric Ivan James' stories features a talented connilinguist.
Made me think of taking out a diner's club card at once.
Should look to my glasses.

ivan said...

Note to Eric Ivan James:
Heaven forbid I should be making light of one of your stories; just trying to be funny.
I find the current piece you have up, RECOGNITION, to be top-drawer. It is honest, pure, evocative.


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