Sunday, November 05, 2006

The "Dear Ivan" letter

How many times have we gotten a letter of endearment, even love, and we get to the last line and it is really a Dear John?

Ah, the powerfully felt emotions, the brain kicking out and the adrenaline kicking in.

Why, you can raise an army, you could phone the Prime Minister, you can declare war. Swords and Sorcery!

You can't take this rejection, you must win!

You do not heed Burton Cummings' advice; you don't "Stand Tall". You fall.

If there is one thing I've learned in this life, rejection may just be a tactic.

Hank Williams: "A false goodbye, a life is shattered.."

If we could only learn to shut the f*ck up after a letter of rejection, get through that Full Moon feeling and wake up on a Monday with the solution already at hand.
But we don't. The shock of rejection changes your physiology. You want to get on the phone, get on the computer, "Why that ***ing asshole!

It is with such rococo sentiments, addled by a full moon that is sucking up not only the tides, but my brains, that I produce this ACT IV, Scene 4 of my ongoing tragicomedy, THE FIRE IN BRADFORD

ACT IV Scene 4

Interior scene. Beautiful woman on a computer, writing, writing, writing. It is Celia. She is inside an apartment that looks for all the world like a House of the Rising Sun, the high, multi-tiered bunk beds along a wall, wisps of smoke around the sparsely furnished room.

Celia's voiceover:

Dear Daniel,

Dinner last Monday night and the subsequent musical entertainment was truly a joy! Seeing you, sitting there in that modest little room, in the stifling heat, sweating and caught up in you music was one of those moments I shall not easily forget. It was one of those occasions one should preserve in amber, freeze in time. The Franco-Ukrainian plays and sings very well indeed.

There certainly seem to be about fifteen different Daniels (at least that I have met so far, I am not sure if I want to meet any others!) I haven't forgotten that I said I would try to obtain the sheet music for "Like a Rock" for you.

I told you that I have started to think about fall courses at school. It is hard to imagine that it is nearly a year ago since I first walked into your classroom, on my birthday. And a rather peculiar year it has been. We've had some good times together, Dan. I remember cold, wintry nights at the Granada, coffee shops in Oak Ridges on Sunday mornings in Richmond Hill in the dead of night. I remember a rainy afternoon in Holland Landing and a crazy night with an obstinate old Mustang.

I will not lose sight of those times. Like two brawny he-men, we struggle in a tug-of-war, jockeying for position and planting our feet firmly, but never quite letting go of the rope. It's a crazy relaionship, but we never quite lose sight of the value that it has and never quite walk away and say "fuck this". At least so far, at least I haven't.

You seem to be content to be back in Newmarket. I wonder if you are having any trouble maintaining your privacy, as you feared you might. I remember the conversation we had about being "loners with gregarious tendencies".

True indeed. I personally like to pat myself on the back that it is a sign of maturity, though, of course, it could be a simple ocial deficiency, I suppose.

Are you still immersing yourself in Jung? I am almost finished a Balzac, after which I should read something by your beloved Mr. Borges. I also think I should read something by Doctorow.. I haven't the foggiest notion about him, do you know anything? There was a silly little article in the weekend paper about Toronto cabbies being closet writers--you did take out a cab licence when you feared you were going to lose your job. It made me chuckle.

Daniel, you must not think that I have been using you, or that I have been on some sort of ego trip, collecting hearts like notches on a gun. Surely you know me better than that. I have never meant to cause you pain or hurt you. Sometimes you seem so relaxed and content and other times it feels as the "asbestos suit through hell" that you are always talking about has completely slipped. It all leaves me terribly confused. I am never quite sure if you will be pleased to hear from me or not. I thought at one time that you were indulging in what amounted to emotional blackmail. I realize this is not the case. If you will give this some time, it will sort itself out. Please believe that my affection for you is genuine.

(Here, Celia pauses. She turns to her right, where an invisible hand has proffered here a glass pipe. She takes a deep draught, motions for the mysterious pipe-server to go away for a bit, and adds, on her keyboard:

Reading this letter, it appears a bit disjointed and not terribly sparkling or witty. I shall send it nevertheless, as I wanted you to know that I have been thinking of you and hope that things go well with you. Take care of yourself, Daniel.


The mysterious man with the glass pipe re-emerges.He is dark, Italian looking. Definitely not husband Lief.

Music: (from It's all Right Ma, I'm Only Crying) Darkness at the break of noon, the morning sun, the child's balloon...

Celia (to the Italian man) Hewwooo!

There is a strong hissing sound from the super Bic as Celia takes another lungful.

Music: Up. To fade as curtain drops to end Act IV, Scene 4

-------end Act IV, Scene 4


Faith said...

My next post won't be so scary, Ivan. LOL.

Had a round of rejection myself last Thursday. I'm still stewing over it.

ivan said...

You getting a rejection?
How many published, glossy novels you got under your belt now--three?

I just missed the Giller. LOL--and am I peeohed!
Actually, the Giller winner gets
$40,000 a year for life.

See Ivan run, after a sound thrashing from Ms.Whibbs.
It took her a whole year to find the good birch rod.
But she did.

Readers of this blog:
If you want your intelligence tested and be spooked over your actual intelligence, click onto Faith's blog...I did, but it wasn't my "intelligence" that scared me.

EA Monroe said...

Dear John, err ah I mean, Ivan! Please forgive me, I couldn't resist that. Must be the full moon. ;} This is the first "Dear John" letter I've ever read. I've never written any, but I did receive a box of "Dear Johnetta" chocolates on Valentine's Day once.

Ahh, a mysterious Italian!

I've been experimenting with Blogger. I should know better!

EA Monroe said...

Okay. I visited Faith. Thanks a heap, Ivan! ;-)

ivan said...

I once publlshed an opener to a gothic novel.
The preface read: "Oh yes, the Gothic novel.
"The heroine lives in a castle.
She is pursued by a villain, usually Italian..."
Heh. Some of you ladies are really getting me interested in this stuff.

But that werefolf, courtesy of Ms. Brown. Yikes! That ain't no Italian!

Segue: Why do I keep wearing out that old 78 with Hank Snow on it?
"I just received, sweetheart your yellow roses."
And "Heartbreak Hotel."

Hit me, says the masochist.
No, says the sadist. LOL

ivan said...

re Faith's blog:

Ain't it a gas?

Josie said...

Oh, that's so sad. I received a "dear John" ("dear Josie") letter a few months ago. Knocked my socks off. Totally unexpected.

I guess it happens to all of us at one time or another, but it's never easy. But I do believe in Karma...

ivan said...

Why am I heartened by what you just said?
There is a section in the play, further on, where the professor takes a Texan's approach: If you can't get around it, if you can't get through it, if you can't outsmart it, you kick the shit out of it! You Listenin', Jay Wells?
Hm. Maybe I spent too much time in Texas.
All ethniks, no matter their pretentions, want to be cowboys?
Lord, did I ever love Texas.
...And they got some great writers out Austin way, and the coolest musicians. No limits to Austin.
Sometimes I think I should have stayed there.
Those lady writers!
Ah, but even lady writers get Dear Janes.
All men are beasts. Check this cowboy out for for horns. LOL.

Josie said...

Ivan, you're a man of the world. What would attract a 24 year old girl (chubby with braces) to a 64 year old man? I am always puzzled by things that I find bizarre. She has not had a father. Could that be it?

This is a strange world.

ivan said...

You only say that because I had been a 64-year-old man and had actually attracted a 24-year old girl.
I guess older guys are more xy than yy. Poor girls are all XX,and I suppose that's the attraction.
There is a brilliant observation by John Updike (sic, and sorry, Great Master!): A man spends all his life looking for ...t, then he has a daughter; he turns into ...t.

......That might be it. Once you have had children and daughters, you are sort of the local medico, psychiatrist, and finally, some sort of perv. You tell her you are all stressed out from work and she becomes your tranquillizer/slave; and she loves it because she has no other place to go...Very possibly, a teacher riffed her at 14 because he too, had been "stressed out at work."

These girls are giving and somewhat vulnerable emotionally.

We were on the dance floor listening to Anne Murray. My young duchess said,"Can I have this dance for the rest of my life", and I with my pocketful of pension cheques, said, "You've got to be kidding. I am like a mainland Italian: No future, but what a past!
This is indeed a strange world.
Stranger, and rather attractive too, is the way you have honing right in on the way I think.
Hm. Maybe the poor girl didn't have a father.
I have consulted my friend on this.
He is a certified schizo and journeyman nut--but most schizos have IQ's of startling scale.

Says Ditso the Schizo: Get your love wherever you can.
Whoops! Blogger doesn' like what I'm saying. Flashing all around.

Ah well, I am like the man in front of the Ontario Art Gallery these days.
Exposing myself to art.



Josie said...

Gosh, I didn't know that. No, it's someone else I know. I am puzzled by the attraction (both ways).

Live and learn, I guess.

ivan said...

The man is a cad.

He attracts more female editors that way. But once they see his second "piece", well. Um.

I recall the time I took karate lessons: I would confront my female student with a rousing Hai Chi!. I was a fierce Samurai!

She was totally defenseles from laughing so hard. "you little p...k."

Josie said...

You're too funny.... :-)

And, I agree the man is a cad. I think the girl in question has a huge crush on him, and her heart will be broken, but he's too much of an a--hole to care. Egos are involved.

Josie said...

Is it just me, or is the sitution just a little bit - sleazy?

I'm such a prude.

Josie said...

Is it just me, or is the sitution just a little bit - sleazy?

I'm such a prude.

ivan said...


Interesting configuration.

Might get a better answer from Sandra Ruttan. From a blog I read of hers, she was left pondering after some cad left, many, many years ago.
Strange it is, Josie that even after two generation of feminists, so many girls are still looking for Mr.Right.

Right now, I'd better look for Mr. Good Bar, and I mean, Good Bar.
Egad. I'm a total failure.
I actually have to go out for cigarettes and booze--rather than being a total success and never having to leave my apartment for those things!
Remember what old DownEast singer Charlie Chamberlain would say,
"Success is a pack of tailormades and a bottle of Katawba." LOL.
He did beat his wife, Marg Osborne, both of them sadly gone now.
Back in my Yorkville days I did hear a folk singer named Doug Brown croon: "Ever since my masochistic baby left me, I've got nothing to beat but the wall
"Ever since my masochistic baby left me,I've got nothing to block but my hat..."

Do people wear hats these days?
I certainly need to go out and buy one.
See ya in a bit.


ivan said...

Just before I leave for my booze run (I am especially fond of that Bob Dylan song, Days of 49, where he sings, "They call me a bummer and a ginsock too..."
My friend Ruben Meyer,who unfortunately took a stroke recently, said, before he lost it,
"If I had two ginsocks, what would I do."
Anyway off for a gin run.

You the classy lady, always.

Josie said...

You're a hoot. I'm not looking for Mr. Right, or even Mr. Right Now. But when someone declares themself and then kicks me to the curb, I am left puzzled. I guess my ego is involved too. Are chubby little 24 year-olds with braces actually more interesting? I guess so...

It never happened to me before, so I guess I am struggling with it.

Life moves on...

Josie said...

Knowing my luck, the person involved will click on this link and read about himself. Oh well, people know in their hearts when they are a little bit sleazy.

Shesawriter said...

"Daniel, you must not think that I have been using you, or that I have been on some sort of ego trip, collecting hearts like notches on a gun."

No, my sweet. I just think you're a friggen psycho! Pass the Prozac! LOL!

Great post, Ivan. Loved it.

ivan said...

Kind of impressive when you sense a powerfully- felt emotion going by.
I used to brag that I had an asbestos suit to insulate against the pains of hell, but as in my play, the suit has a fissure here and there.
I would have liked to have boasted that I never lost seriously at love, my ego monstrously blown up by a California beauty who said I could have any woman I want.
I uh, went back to my wife and she said, "Any woman? Hit to road, Jack!
"Bastard! Onanist! Homosexual! (and other endearments).
I don't know who strayed first (probably me)but the marriage was whacked.
I had seven girlfriends all in a row, my friends concerned that I had gone right off the scale. I was the cock of the walk--until I
met this blonde who was prettier, smarter,and another writer.
Then it all came back on me.
Every last woman that I'd hurt, the blonde somehow threw back at me. I had met my match. I somehow became her slave. In a word, emasculated.
It took all the cunning and the pain to deal with the stress of the relationship,it took twenty years to resolve it and I wouldn't have done it if I hadn't met a
transitional woman, sort of an Isis figure,who finally helped me to come to my senses. And this because the love was poured on.
The Isis woman had nothing to gain by curing me. She was just Isis.

Isis called the other night.
I told her I was senior now and wasn't sure if she'd really be interested. There was also the matter of a no-goodnick son who is still with her at 34: problems.

We do lose seriously at love.
Makes you want to die.
But somehow, there is Isis.


My sister used to say, better to have someone love you while you remain demure. If you are the one in love, well too bad for you.
The blonde shook me to my very marrow.
I think I have recovered my fa-faculties. F-faculties. LOL.

ivan said...

That very last comment of mine, was meant for Josie, but I don't know why I went into the Confessions of St. Augustine while revealing my appetite for the pagan.
Yeah, rejection hurts.
I suppose, in my own case, some sort of mulish peasant stubbornnness keeps me going.
Not entirely avoiding solipsism.

Ah, what the hell, say it on.
In a world of yin and yang, most of us selfish bastards just want to play six. LOL.

ivan said...

Was that it?
Freakin' psycho?
Well, that's the first pertinent observation anybody has made.
Well, I suppose she was in good company.
A psycho's worst enemy is another psycho?
When a psycho meets a psycho comin' through the rye? We must have been well matched.

The prototype for the character really did do a number on my head, and for a long time; she must have spent a long time looking. Her husband was already FITH--Frigged in the Head by the time I came around.
Forced me back to the Talmud:

Life lays down strange paths for men to tread upon in the dark.

But thank you for the insight, shesawriter. Best key to the thing I may have had in decades.
Exes and O's.


Josie said...

Ivan, well, I've started my little travelogue....


ivan said...

I have had a peek. Looks good.

But right now this webhost is drunk...What else is new?

Just before I pass out, I do notice that you've done a pretty professional job, rigght down to mentioning the movie CRASH, which was made in Vancover.
I am strangely multicultural.
Mazel Tov!
Salaam al kum.
Na zdrovya.
In plain American: Good job!

Josie said...

Ivan, thank you. Coming from you I take that as a great compliment.

More travelogue to follow. Stay tuned.


ivan said...

All your correspondents like it too, and they are saying so on your blog.

ivan said...

To do with my play here, THE FIRE IN BRADFORD:
My plot was advanced a bit when the apartment next door caught fire. This wasn't supposed to happen until about Scene V.
Sweet Jesus, it is so hard to dunk a witch!
And I used to think I was a pretty good warlock.
Hoo Hoo Hoo. Full moon ain't over yet!

EA Monroe said...

Ivan & Faith -- I emailed the werewolf link to my friend Rickey. She just emailed back to me, "YOU ARE A POOP!" (meaning me!)

ivan said...

Heh heh.
The test was in "German". Ricky is pretty well German.
I told Faith the test scared the
scheisse out of me. Gottendammerung!
Mein asbestos suit, she be seared.
Scheissegemacht in hosen!
Would not recommend for astronauts in airtight suits.

ivan said...

P.s. to ea monroe:

I tried to italicise "scheisse", a familiar substance, by pressing
Will try it now.
Did not work.
How in f do I put italics into a blog? My son told me, but I forgot.
I mean, I'm just l5 1/2 y'ars old!

EA Monroe said...

Hi Ivan,
I pestered Erik over at The Gazebo about how to do italics today. He kindly tried to tell me, but screwed up the html tags because they didn't show up -- just the italics! So, I pestered him some more with my testing123, got it to work, and then said I'd quit "bugging" him!

So, here's how I did it. Note -- I am putting spaces between the characters just so they show up. So type this, but without the spaces:

< I > type italic stuff < / I >

Did that work??

remember, remove the spaces!

ivan said...

Didn't work.
I think you have to do something on blogger itself when you post--I've forgotten what.
Alas, too late. Brain gone in full moon.
Also U.S. term election I'm watching.
Thanks for offering to help anyway.
...Might be the Budweiser.

ivan said...

Son bega sez:
Just press CTRL-I (the same way you would hold the shift key down to type a capital I). This will start italics mode. To stop italics mode, press CTRL-I again. You can do also do bold characters with CTRL-B and underlined characters with CTRL-U.

Another way to do it is to click on the italicized letter i that you see in the blogger tool bar.

The method she describes is trickier, which works if you were actually coding your pages in HTML (Hypertext Markup Language, the lingua franca of the Internet). You are not creating your blog entries this way.
----- Original Message -----
From: Ivan Prokopchuk
To: Stephen Smith

Josie said...

Ivan, so.... when's your new post?


ivan said...

Hi Josie,
Funny you should ask.
I think I should either change my brand of cigarettes or the high octane beer I'm drinking.
Whatever the reason, I woke up this morning with a feeling of nausea.
Most friends my age get strokes.
I get nausea.
That and an unexpected battle with Popular Mechanics, at least to where it applies to blogging.
Not only is my hero, the professor, Screwed In The Head, but, I fear, so am I.
Nevertheless, I like to think character is everything, though I'm finding again and again that to be stalwart is to be rigid and not get things.
Better to be a sneaky bastard? To tamper with commandments?
What the hell, everybody else seems to.
But something is slowing me down for sure.
Dear me. Is it a ghost out of the machine? Celia's ghost poltergeisting my computer?
My cabinet maker friend, after reading some of what I'd put up, said, "Ivan. You met the Devil.
"Your devil."


Looks like I've got one thing in common with Dostoevsky.
The chapter in the Brothers when the Devil comes to visit Ivan.

(That is the only thing I have in common with that incomparable master).
Anyway, I should be able to put up a scene or two of THE FIRE IN BRADFORD by toninght.
It will look, no doubt, as if a shoemaker had put it together, but, Andalay, Andalay.
...I get the sense, as I pore through my work, that "You'd better come home, Speedy Gonzales". LOL.

EA Monroe said...

Hi Ivan,
Hope you get to feeling back in the groove soon! It's been a long intermission! - Liz
PS-- My son James said, if Bush and Cheney get impeached, then we'll have a woman for President!

Josie said...

Okay, Ivan, it's time to come back to the land of the living and do a new post.

Your audience awaits....


ivan said...

Hi Liz,
I could handle a woman being president.
But I have some reservations about Hillary. She might just turn neocon on a dime.
But yeah, a woman, any woman would be better that what you guys have had.
I have put the new post up. As you can see, I almost had the italics down. Almost.--And more typos than my Celia had deceits.
Ah well. The speed and fury of the attack! LOL.

ivan said...

I've put the new post up, but, as I feared, like a shoemaker.
I will have to clean it up, but I have a thirst that is crying up to god.
Thanks for being interested.
Your own posts are lovely.


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