You get all this from blogging?
Probably not. You've been this way for quite some time.
I once bragged to my estranged wife that I was going to run for mayor of Newmarket here and she said, "Don't bother. You always say the wrong thing."
A little shy in the social skills department.
Or, at least, that's what Miss K thought.
Looks like I've got something in common with the late Saul Bellow, perhaps the only thing in common.
Him With His Foot In His Mouth.
Ryerson Polytechnical Institute spoiled me.
There had been the misapplied attitude in our Ontario in the Sixties that the student was a unique and creative individual, that there had to be a new respect for the kook, that it was the kook, the Frank Zappa, that really knew anything.
So at Ryerson in those days--for those in Journalism or Radio-TV arts anyway--the kook reigned supreme, epecially if he was publishing like mad or involved in theatre and TV, directing stuff early, being precocious.
I went on to graduate school, was surprised there were people younger and better than me there, like guitarist Liona Boyd, and as far as she was concerned, I was just another journo who also played guitar, but "howled like an animal."
Actually, Liona went on the be a quitar superstar. Me, I just hacked.
But how nice it was to hang with Liona, miniskirt hiked up, playing her Goya, a damsel with a dulcimer, and if I didn't want to throw in the towel about my own playing, at least I'd tuck a towel up under her guitar while she played. I was married at the time and her thighs were driving me crazy.
Liona eventually wrote a book about San Miguel de Allende, the wonderful artist's colony where we studied.
Some ago, I met her father. "What happened with your own bookd?"
"I um, sort of published it."
"It's out. That's the main thing, It's out." Good old John Boyd, always the positive thinker, the educator.
Appreciated kooks like me.
Some educator he must have been; look what became of Liona. Successful. Married rich. Lives in LA.
Well, at least my book was getting some reviews. John must have read them. I didn't feel like a total failure.
I had privately my Black Icon and the reviewers were all over it.
I was twenty-nine years old.
And yet the foot-in-mouth thing.
CBC International Service had just finished interviewing me and an editor at the Toronto SUN wanted to have me on staff.
It was probably my drinking that wa making me so short with people. and I said something like, "Fuck off. The SUN is a rag.
"Oh you dirty bugger," from the editor.
They really should have finishing schools for brash kids getting into the back door of a new university, steeped in the idea the each student in arts was somehow a unique and creative individual.
I found myself half believing it.
But the publishing venues of that place! All the top people in publishing and and journalism were there as profs. You had access to the Globe and Mail, the newspaper that makes or breaks Canadian writer a writer; you had access to Robert Fulford the Star critic whose good word was the key to success, and to Robert Weaver the Grand Imprimatur of Canadian publishing.
I managed to alienate all of them.
So I took a job at the Oakville Beaver (God help us!), wrote what I pleased and still managed to get some critical acclaim, at least in Ontario. Then the Reader's Digest reprinted something of mine and it seemed to me that I was in.
I mean, doesn't everybody?
All of this by thirty.
But ah, thirty, that borderline beween youth and maturity, Catch 30, as Gail Sheehy had put it.
Things started to get wonky.
I felt I had to write another novel, this one exposing the ills of Canadian society, its Masonic makeup, the possibility that the country was an historical abortion, wrestled over by the English and French so much that it was a Push me-Pull You place where no one had any real idea of what it was to be a Canadian, especially Ontario Canadians, whose sense of identity was sort of along the lines of WTF!
So, I chucked it all to write the Great Canadian Novel.
Omigod. The cold aparment, nothing to eat for the kids, the cashing in of beerbottles. Spam and Klik lunches.
And once the book was done, rejection.
"You fucked up baby," from the wife.
"Didn't I though?"
Ah, back to the journalistic vineyards, the Star Weekly and after quitting that, again the Oakville Beaver.
I ended up working for a provincial magazine in Bradford, Ontario out of which I soon got an award or two, published my novel in serial form, was unexpectedly hired as a college professor and life got to be good.
I wanted to jump up and grab my own tail.
I was becoming insufferable. My wife started to take night school classes, got involved with her prof and it was only a matter of time before I would be just Dagwood Bumstead.
The foot-in-mouth thing.
I kept putting my wife down because she didn't have a B. A.
Well, she soon made a Burro's Ass out of me.
Ah, off to San Miguel Allende again, looking for that long-lost shaker of salt, Marguaritaville, the hotel room, the typewriter, graduate school all over again, the quest for the Fountain of Youth.
And one smashing girl friend.
I came back with an advanced degree and a novel.
Probably won too resoundingly. My ex and I had this competition thing going--and was soon doing the Irene Goodlnight thing, for "me and my wife were parted."
Lesson learned: Don't be a smart-ass. Especially towards your wife, who footed to many of the bills while you were being the great Creative Artist. And then you do this Henry Miller thing.
Well, I'm over the hill (hell?) now.
There is nothing more to learn.
What is the point of having seen it all when you can hardly get it up--for anything.
Font of my passion become my waterspout. Pornies on Saturday Night.
Saturday Night Live.
Saturday Nigh Dead.
I see the R. J. Baker has put up a lithograph up on his blog. William Blake. . They are stoning the guy in the woodcut.
I guess in another society, I would be the guy they would have stoned, but I think I was more like Felix the Cat, thrown out by his wife.
Felix the Cat to somebody he meets in the underworld:
"You do some really weird shit, man."
I do some really weird shit.