Monday, November 27, 2006

Hey, it came out right (+ -).

Okay, give or take a zillion typos, Act VII Scene One finally got put up, more or less the way I wanted it...I tried to get fancy with italics and all, and somehow screwed the post in an attempt to convert "test blog" to real blog to be published. And I still haven't learned Word.
Ain't too smart, but bigod, I'm fancy at covering up my mistakes!
I guess the brain knows when to break down, when to get sick so you can have a periscope view over what in tarnation you're doin'.
You can read what's just below in Act VII , Scene One, or be like the Mafia characters soon to come, "Forgettaboutit."

Cheers,

Ivan

23 comments:

Josie said...

Only a zillion typos? Gosh, you type better than I do. I don't have time to read it right now, rushing off to work. The hydro is back on here on our street, to my guests have left. Where did this miseable Arctic weather come from? (That's not correct English, is it...?)

My yellow boots await....

Josie

Josie said...

Hah, what did I tell you. There's a typo in my previous post.

ivan said...

Josie, Sweetie,
I stand in complete awe over your haunting artistic gifts. You are a wonderful watercolourist and pencil-sketcher--way above average, for sure.
And you have a good, natural style of writing. There should be no insecurity there whatsoever.

I feel my own abilities are pretty well average.

Okay, I got to be an untenured prof at Seneca College for ten years-- but alway untenured.

Tenured (administrative) profs had complete licence to dump on old Ivan.
And they did.
Bottom of the pile.

I had won my small position through getting an Honourable Mention over my column, BOTH SIDES NOW (Joni Mitchell fan for sure!) through the Ontario Weekly Newspapers' Association.
So I got to be a college teacher not through scrupulous research abilities, nor through a dissection of the English language---I got there by the good old Ben Franklin furniture-making method:
I was something of a paid-for joiner of words.
(You listening, Ellie? I somehow think you may still be nostalgic for Amish furniture, which is fine, so fine).

So while I have a Mickey Mouse Master's degree, I am not at all a PhD--like those bastards who used to order me around.

So there is no need for you to be self-conscious of your style here.
You write naturally and beautifully.
But your watercolours!
As I say, I stand in awe.

Note: You have already read this play installment when it came out in its crappy unedited form--you had jumped right in with a comment to the effect that my Celia was a piece of work, which indeed she seems to be.
But then the prof has a kink or two as well!

*Yellow boots.
Anne-of-Green Gables puffed sleeves? Heh.

ivan said...

Post-script to readers of this blog:
You can see Josie's watercolours and pencil sketches by just clicking onto Josie's avatar above.
Hurry. She might put up new post.

Ivn

Josie said...

Ivan, you're too kind...! And, I take it as a compliment, coming from you. But I do enjoy dabbling in painting and drawing. I enjoy writing too, oddly enough, an I have never done it before now. I just write as if I am speaking to someone, and it sort of comes out like a conversation. It's just meant to be fun anyway.

It's supposed to go down to minus 20 with the wind chill tonight. Brrr. It took me an hour and a half to get to work. My boss passed me as he was walking to work and I was waiting at the bus stop. As he walked past I said to him, "I'm going to be late." He laughed and said, "I think so." He beat me to work.

Josie

ivan said...

Josie,
Minus twenty degrees.
Are we talking Celsius?
That's about ten degrees below, Fahrrenheit.
It it gets any lower I cannot compute...Just one gaping freezing hole in my math fonts...And in the thermometer itself...Once it starts dipping that low Celsius,we fast approache the Fahrenheit scale--brrr, freaking ubearable cold.
And in Vancouver. that's a wet cold, brrr all over again!

Dare I try a little satire?

God might hate all the hippies in Vancouver, to wit, something they might be saying today.

"I was chillin'(quote, uquote with index fingers)really chillin' like it was cold, per se.
"I am not kidding here, quote, unquote, It's f*cking cold, per se, quote, unquote."

...I love off-the-wall chicks.
They can so easily be had, quote, unquote, per se. LOL.

Josie said...

Oh, we're chillin' all right. Yes, that's Celsius. It feels like Winnipeg.

Josie

EA Monroe said...

Hi Ivan. What mischief have you been up cooking up today? Will you put up your Gypsy post for intermission? Half-time entertainment. I bet you gave the PhD fellows a run for their money.

ivan said...

Ah, Liz.
Always right on the beam.
Yes, I do intend to have the fortuneteller piece up during the next intermission. She lived with this huge black guy who was sure to clean my clock if I stepped out of line...I just kept forking over the money. So drunk I couldn't tell tarots from carrots....A live one!
Yeah, I gave the PhD's a run for their money.
I published, but they didn't perish!
They said I was using local media for my personal purposes.

Like slagging them. Heh.

Better small contracts then no contracts. LOL.

ivan said...

What mischief?

Actually into Gluttony after having the flu. Eating myself out of house and home.

Kinda dig Sloth as well.

But Gluttony. Yeah. Eating whether you need to or not. Making hamhocks and sauerkraut.
Invested in dark chocolate, marhsmallows, 35 percent cream.

Tum out like guy pregnant. Four bottles of stout beer every day.
Really into lust too, but I fear it's the Tom Waitts vaiety. Tom Waitts. And Waitts.

Anybody else into the Seven Deadly
Sins?

Pride Envy Anger Sloth Greed Gluttony Sloth.

ivan said...

Whoops,
Double-printed and forgot Lust.

Talk about a Freudian slip.

Why did Captain Queeg roll those little metal marbles around in his palm in that movie, "The Caine Mutiny"?
"Ah. It was the strawberries. That's where I knew I had them...With cold, geometric logic, I proved that they stole the strawberries"

Sane guy, what?

Josie said...

Tarots from carrots? You're too funny.

We've taken a vote, and you have to write your autobiography.

God, I'm so cold my fingers are frozen and I can hardly type. This weather is just awful.

Josie

ivan said...

Hey babe,
Did you lose your electricity?!?
Looks like your fireplace is gas-fired, but with no power, it could be miserable!

I think you'd be the kind of person who would love quilts.
Get under one!
Leave a cowering, timorous hand out and type, kinda.Heh.

I am going to try to retrieve a part novel/autobioraphy in this space.
I'll see if it works.

Ivan

EA Monroe said...

Tom Waits -- the singer/songwriter Tom Waits, Ivan? I love his story-songs and lyrics.

You and Josie party on without me. I've got to hit the sack! Nighty night!

ivan said...

So I quit my job, leave my wife and son, get myself set up in this Spadina Road loft and tell myself I'm going to write the Great Canadian Novel.

And on the second day, i get up, stare at the debauched Slavic face in the cracked mirror, and it tells me...You're wrong. Go back. Go back over your life.

And when your return, be jealous of no man's accomplishment. Love your wife; enjoy your fatherhood...because each breath that you take has been purchased at great expense.

Want more?

Here is Chapter One of The Black Icon. Sort of the beginning of my life, in novel form:


Bright July sunlight etched out the shapes of dun and green fields stretching eastward from the gloomy Carpathians. The Prut River wound through rectangles of wheat that skipped checker-fashion across squares of yellow-tufted potato fields. Above, the sun shone in summer heat.
Below, in a potato tract, Sophia Podolska, nine months pregnant, looked up at the sky and wiped her face with the tails of her babushka. Not a cloud in sight. Another hot one.

With a sigh, she bent back towards her work. Work kept her busy, kept her from thinking of the loss of two infant boys before the arrival of Katerina, a healthy, bright girl child now six years of age.

"Dear God, if you could only make his baby inside me just as whole and healthy."
Sophia's prayer was suddenly cut off. A dizziness seized her and she found it hard to catch her breath. A sharp pain came into her abdomen, causing her to drip the hoe and clutch her middle. "It's coming, Sophia's brain warned.

She hurried off in the direction of her home. The pain and the swimming sensation told her shoe would be lucky to make the house, let alone the midwife who was a good mile away.
She stumbled on, now approaching the woodshed some paces from the house.

A sudden wet leakage running down her thighs told her the woodshed would be the place. She opened the leather-hinged door and sank down heavily on the chip-littered floor.

"Michael," she called her husband's name as the pain increased to a pitch she could no bear. "Michael...Help...The ensuing blackness was the last thing she remembered.

* * * * * * * *

She awoke to find the baby's head protruding from her groins. Without a second thought, she grasped the head with her open palms and gave a yank that sent a fresh spasm of pain through her, causing her to faint once more just as the infant was drawn clear.

Consciousness. But now a strange, high-pitched sound came from a red, appendaged creature beside Sophia. A thrashing entrail snaked around its neck. Again, by some Neolithic instinct, the pinched the umbilical cord with her nails, tied it and began wiping the baby off with the upper part of her shirt, the only part not soaked by the birth fluids. The infant, by this time, made a shrill, breathless sound.

"Cry, my little one," she thought, cry for both of us."

Having cleaned the child and herself as well as she could, Sophia held the infant to her, giving him her breast, which the boy bit impulsively with his toothless gums, but apparently without success. The cry again. She, realizing what was happening, took her other breast between her teeth until the blood and milk ran free. She then offered the breast to the grasping baby. No sooner had she done this, than a brilliant shaft of sunlight caused her to squint as someone opened the shed door. Michael's suntanned face appeared through the crack, bright brown eyes focusing on the mother and child.

"Sophia," he rasped as he came down on one linen-clad knee to stoop over the woman and infant.

Sophia said nothing as she cuddled the suckling child.
___________

Well, that's how The Black Icon started. I had some success with the book in the United States, but precious little in Canada. Perhaps in my lead-in I shouldn't have mentioned that I had set myself up in a Spadina Avenue loft to write my book. Seems the Canadian publisher I first sent the book to me was doing just that, House of Anansi setting itself up on a Spadina Road loft. In my lead in, I showed superiority to Sixties Canadian literature. I was unhip. Or too hip. They were into modernism, I was into myself and my family’s trek through Europe, shelled and bombed, starving and abject. My American success came when I won two tuition scholarships with a satellite campus of the University of California in Mexico. This was in the days of great philanthropy for writers from rich Americans. No Canadian success in hardcover, or even softcover. I had to serialize the book in a provincial magazine.

Josie and Liz:

If you're wondering what the hell all that was about, it's my attempt to retrieve the first chapter of my novella, THE BLACK ICON.
Thanks for being curious about this work (Autobiographical novel?) lovely ladies.

ivan said...

Whoops!
I was trying to retrieve what I could out of my novella, The Black Icon, grateful that you ladies wanted to know the story of old Ivan.
Finally found Chapter One and some of my ruminations on the book itself.

I should have wished you goodnight, Liz, and by now no doubt Josie too,that other hardworking woman frozen-in over in freakily ice-castled Vancouver.

So good nigh Liz and Josie and all.
You guys have kept me off the bottle for a whole five hours,while I was reading and responding to your comments, and trying to find excerpts of my Black Icon.

G'night all.
Make sure the bugs don't bite.

Ivan

Josie said...

Ivan, so what happened to the book? Where is it now?

Omigosh, poor Sophia.

Josie

ivan said...

Hi Josie.
Sophia, my mother, was like no other woman.
I swear there were days when she put the lie to all philosophy, all science, all rationalism as an escape to get away from women.

Sophia's parents were only up there on th mantle, in a photograph.
She married her Michael to get away from a near-homocidal grandmother (African situation in parallel white society.Crazy old Granny is the only family member left) only to find that her problems were just beginning.

"Sometimes I feel
Like a motherless child."

For the slaves in Charleston, it must have been awful.

...At least I had Sophia. She wasn't much, but she was still a mother. And around.

ivan said...

p.s. to Josie,
The Black Icon has been around in various forms since l969.
It currently resides at the Newmarket Public Library and Also the Aurora Public Library here in York Region.
ISBN number is o-9691829-3-7.
National Libray Ottawa has the two obligatory copies.
It was a real thirill to have the mayor of Aurora,Ontario, present me with a cheque to be forwarded as a purchase of my book, The Black Icon, by the Aurora Public Library.
It was now New York, but it was a publishing.
As it turned out, I could keep the cheque and the horsey little town of Aurora footed the bill to buy my little book.

...You can go Library Interloan, since you are Canadian. It will take a long time.
The Newmarket Public Library will send to your home town, a copy of The Black Icon.
I haven't been writer in residence at the Newmarke Library in years, but my impression--for a library anyway--is that the place really rocks. With good people. Librarians smart marms.
I'd like to bed a few of them, but they are too intellingent. "Like my mind"-heh.
Guess what you get if I ever catch a librarian on a ladder
Upskirt. Horny author. LOL

Josie said...

Gosh, that's like Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's. She went to the library and asked for the book by Vargas, Paul.

My mother's family is from South Africa.

Josie

ivan said...

Holy crow.
South Africa.
I thought, from your picture, that you looked a little Dutch.
But then there were lots of English
In SA as well.
You are definitely not Zulu.

ivan said...

Fifty dollars for the powder room.
Did some field reseach.

It's still fifty dollars.

You'd think with inflation, it would be a thousand dollars.
But then outcalls are $275.
There is inflation after all.

I keep getting hit at Queen and Bathurst.
Always with a whole 75 cents in my pocket.
Drat.

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