Saturday, August 19, 2006

You want me to recommend you for the Pulitzer?

Snoopy atop his doghouse dreaming.

It is quiet in the barracks.

The Red Baron has zoomed away, the Lafayette Escadrille in hot pprsuit, hoping to catch wily old von Richthoffen before he lands, nearly out of gas.

I am out of gas.

But I can be Snoopy, or, more properly, Walter Mitty, dreaming of glory, dreaming of being a fighter ace, helmetted and gogled, shot down by the Red Baron, falling into the rye on a late September afternoon, German farmers after me with pitforks, foreign devil fallen from the skies. "Hail to the Kaiser", I am practicing for fear of being forked.

"Nobody tells the Kaiser to f*ck- off. Never.
"I mean look what happened when Churchill told him to f*ck off.
"Total war.

"The Kaiser is a cool dude. I am ethnically German. My grandfather was a German.
"I have always been a German."

Very probably the way I would have acted. Most of us are so brave, so noble in our own heads, but when it comes to the moment of truth, we do what most people do in such situations.

We are no great shakes.

I am no great shakes.

For the past thirty years (after a decade of a suburban joy I wished I'd never left),
I have been clocking my own psychotic sprint for glory, for the Pulitzer Prize, for the Nobel.

We were talking of the Nobel way back in college, my friend so vain he had already drafted, like his hero Jean-Paul Sartre, a rejection speech for his Nobel, saying that the whole thing was a put-up job to promote Polacks (me?) and totally ignoring of late to nominate North American
writers. "I respectfully reject this prize on grounds that it is politically correct and probably full of AIDS activists, those overpaid blowhards who do nothing for the poor kids."

Now that's ego.

Yet forty years later, my friend Walter and I are still after the same blamed thing.

A Pulitzer would be nice.

Ah, but there you have to produce a work scrupulously researched, rich in politics, human content, drama. You'd have to be at least a Bob Woodward.( A page of Mr. Woodward's copy produces a scrupulocity worthy of a Meister Eckhard, medieval logician, indomitable debater.
A page of my own copy resembles a Franciscan monk high on Crack).

Yet I have bamboozled the best, certainly Alan Walker, of the Canadian Magazine, friend of Margaret Atwood--why the hell didn't I know that then, when I was a staff writer for the Canadian!--Peggy and I would have had some nice chats. She could have gotten me nominated.
The thing with Alan Walker though, he had a brain that would f*ck up a computer, encyclopaedic knowledge of damn near everything, and I only fooled him once on a story.

Ah well. Still dreaming.

I am with the Emir of Qatar, hoping for a writer's grant.

I am with Madame Azuela, in Argentina, hoping to get the key to Borges, with whom she'd hung out.

I am atop the doghouse hoping to catch sight of The Red Baron.

24 comments:

JR's Thumbprints said...

Your headline says it all. Hell yeah I'd like to be recommended for the Pulitzer. Unfortunately, I haven't written enough material to wallpaper my bathroom.

I did nominate myself for the million story award (I believe that's what it's called); for the best 2006 story on the internet. Didn't get the nod though.

ivan said...

Thanks Jay R.
Got a vicarious thrill over your anniversary.
It was so nice to have been married.
I left my poor wife to be the Great Canadian Novelist.
...Came back with the book, but lost the wife.
Then I lost the friggin' book. Thank god I kept a copy.
Thank god wife still lives somewhere. At least the grown kids are back.
Your blog is certainly well written.
Yeah, not getting the nod. I have had nods and I've also had kicks in the ass.
It doesn't get easier even after you'd written and published quite a bit.
Then ck the blogs and the new up-and-comers are pretty good.
I think you are one of them.

doubtingthomas said...

Pulitzer, schmulitzer! Write stuff that pleases you! You wanna be a friggin' 'ho'? Please the inner you, find yourself saying a smooth "yeah!" after it's all out. Maybe somebody else will like it too. If not, at least you will be happy. Make a living writing? Hahaha. In the interim get a job that is mildly amusing, like investigating who wrote on the shithouse wall. Call it "letting myself be amused by life," or "gathering material" for The Next Big Thing. Nobody can fool you as well as you can fool yourself. Maybe there IS something to farting and tapdancing!

ivan said...

Just caught the HBO movie, BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS, l999.
It was good old Kurt Vonnegut, with his incredible edge and humour, who could render for us, the little alien who signalled clear and present danger by farting and tap-dancing.

Unfortunately, the little alien was nowhere to be seen in the movie. I guess somebody really laid a nine-iron on poor, gassy,tap-dancing ET.

Damn. Vonnegut's Five Star book only got two stars! Gevolt!
Maybe it's because in the book, the gay piano player was called a
c*****king machine and most reviewers are gay, I don't know.

I do know I strongly identified with Killgore Trout, the decrepid old writer
with his shady publishers, also hoping one day, I suppose, for the Nobel.
Killgore Trout was a hopeless, totally f*ucked up mess who had the singular insight that all life around you is robots and only guys like Killgore could ask questions of the God who gave him the capacity of asking questions.
See, all good novels have a truth.
Too bad they f*cked up the movie.
I WANTED TO SEE FARTING AND TAP-DANCING!
You are right, Doubting Thomas.
Maybe the act of farting and tap-dancing is all we're doing these days.
Cf. The Middle East.

R.J. Baker said...

You should be with Hezbolla in Lebanon for the Pulitzer and the Nobel...I'll be you're Tweedy bird.

It seems after so many millions of years the world should be on the cusp of getting its collective shit together, oh well, just a thought.

I'm still trying to write something worthy of publication. I have returned to the great American novel, I'm on Chapter two.

How's the Canadian economy up there? Farting and tap dancing? I love that. Vonnegut and Kinky Freidman. Visionaries both.

ivan said...

The Canadian economy?
Your Stephen Colbert (just after the Daily show with Jon Stewart)
has put Canada "on notice":]

"Listen up ya hosers, it's time you got a girlfriend and stop being losers, all that whining about softwood lumber! You don't have any balls (sign in French--'testicules'). "You're all wimps....You are 'on notice', Canada, for being whiners.
"And that's the word!"

Damn that Colbert. Pretty good for an eighth-generation Frenchman in America.

Actually, the Canadian economy is booming, thanks to trade with you guys. We also got more oil than Iraq.
Jon Stewart: "Well why aren't we invading them--we're halfway to Winnipeg!"

Actually, I seem to be getting all my world news from Comedy Central these days and it seems more truthful than the mantra spread by the Unholy Trinity...And Jon Stewart isn't exactly an uh, Abyssinian.

The Great American Novel.
Well, they used to tell me that talent hides in the strangest places.
Don't know about you, but I'm sort of um, unusual.

Maybe a musical explanation.

To the tune of the Dying Cowboy:

"I see by your outfit that you are a writer.
"Think I'll get an outfit and be a writer too."

LOL.

Josie said...

What, exactly, is suburban joy? Enquiring minds want to know.

You sound like an edgy sort of guy. You miss suburban joy?

Suburban joy is something I have never had any desire to have.

Josie

R.J. Baker said...

Media is a travesty.

Government a joke.

Where do we stand? In the path of a North bound train...

ivan said...

Hi Josie,
I guess I didn'realize the backdrop of danger when I hightailed it out of the suburbs to take up residence in strange country. I didn't quite meet the grunt-like-a-pig man,but rather a nymph who lived by water and cast her net for this old Cossack.

"Are you a wood nymph," I asked.
"No just a nymph."

Well.
A half-million dollars later, I had a real nostalgia for the suburbs.
The messes we get ourselves into when wo don't stay in our rooms.

On more interesting things:
I see in your blog that you have just dated a doctor. You were tactful in nor reporting the turns of the evening.
Sounds good.

Way, way in the past I somehow found myself in competition with an MD for a lady's affections.
"I hate B.A.'s," the doctor had said. "Good-for-nothings, skilled at nothing. Generalists, B.S.-ers.
"And how are you doing?"
I tolk him I'd just gotten my B.A.

Ah well, I do believe the lady dumped the two of us and took off with a girlfriend to start a gift shop in Muskoka.

She phoned me,years later,but I was busy having a nervous breakdown after my encounter with the Wood Nympth and my Rumpelstiltkin trick.

"Call me back when you're through convalescing," she had said.

Then came the biker chick and I was on my way again.

Ah, well. I am now like an Ialian
peasant. No future, but what a past!

Nice to have you visit the blog.
I'll be reading yours for a full report on how things are going with Da Doc.

Cheers,
Ivan

ivan said...

I'd opine that media would be like alcohol...Good servant of a bad master.
Uh, a takeoff on a very old radio ad: Christmas dulled my happy heart
When GE burned my tree.

I am less and less inclined to put my money on the guys standing on the tracks.

Damn it all, there are things so obvious to us--and we can't even write about them...like we can't, for more often than not, we are part of the problem.

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