Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Wynona Rider




The more intelligent you are the crappier a writer you will probably be.

The more practical as a business person, all the worse a writer.

Different synergies, the practical and the creative..

"Writers are dickheads," say my pal Joe the Morph, just out of prison. His choice of words.

I do feel, with this influenza, beer breakfasts and steady diet of boiled chicken, that I should put a condom over my head and just say, Goodbye Cruel World.

Then pull the loo chain.

It is with such mixed thoughts, that I now move towards this next ACT VII, Scene 2 of THE FIRE IN BRADFORD.


Scene

Interior scene of a bistro.

The professor is sitting in one of eight tables, calico checks of red and black, a little vase with a single flower on each table. There is no one else in the restaurant. He is thoughtfully sniffing the little red rose.
He cannot get his Celia, so like an adolescent, he has fallen in love with her.

There is an old country song on the radio.

Hank Williams.
Faded Love and Winter Roses.


MUSIC: UP

Faded love and winter roses
Sprinkled with a lonely tear
Faded love and winter roses
Still recall each yester year.

Will we meet again tomorrow?
Where we parted yesterday?
Give me back those winter roses
And the love you took away.

MUSIC: TO FADE


Stage business:

A waitress is approaching the professor's table.

Waitress: Well. Your fourth beer, professor. What happened. Lose your job or something?

Professor: Something like that.

Waitress: What are you killing yourself at now?

Professor: Print graphics.

Waitress: Print graphics? My husband does that. Let me give you a cautionary note, professor. Stay small or you'll go crazy.

Professor: Stay small?

Waitress (chewing gum): Once you expand and expand again, your mind won't be able to handle it. You'll go crazy.

Professor: Tell me about it. They once promoted me to Dean of French at the college. I lasted a month.

Witress: That's what I mean, professor. Stay small or you'll go crazy.

THE WAITRESS TURNS TO LEAVE, CHEWING HER GUM.

THE PROFESSOR TURNS HIS FACE TO THE AUDIENCE.

Professor:

I have to go out and meet her, ambush her. She and the Italian have moved to the West End, along St. Clair.
Oakwood. Damn violent neighbourhood. Living on Winona Avnue, those two now. That's where Paul Bernardo used to live.

And her boyfriend's name. William Bathgate Gambini.

How in hell does an Italian get a Bathgate for a middle name?

Wynona Avenue.

My Wynona Rider.

I would have to go to her. Ambush her, without Bathgate.

She is likely taking the streetcar to work now. She has to to go down Winona to get the streetrcar at St. Clair.
...All this planning, all this tracing, all this poring over the city directory, the checks with Motor Transit to get the latest residence, description of the BMW, how much Bathgate paid for it--$!7,OOO--it was second-hand, hey Italian yuppie, caught your there. And the licence to carry hazardous materials. Celia is hazardous material?
Ah, clever prof, clever detective. Such old-style GPS..

And what the hell are you going to do once you intersect Celia?

Last time around, she went into a Kung Fu mode and damn near broke your shoulder.
.
Who, what is Celia anyway?

THE PROFESSOR HAS ANOTHER SLUG OF HIS BEER.

HE AGAIN FACES THE AUDIENCE

She was at the centre median, waiting for her streetcar. She was carrying what appeared to be a big foolscap order sheet. Purse in left hand.

She saw me.

And she spun on her flat slipper and began running back. Back toward her apartment on Winona.

"Celia," I yelled as she passed me. "Celia, go on with your routine. I won't bother you. I just wanted to look at you again."

The scared here even the more.

She was pulling something out of her handbag. It looked like one of those Johnson and Johnson compressors, the kind you might use to bring out a vein for an injection,.
She was already wrapping or trying to wrap this black touniquet around her right arm; she had done something with the order sheet she wa crrying. She had been running away, but she turned to face me now, Celia sort of skating backwards. Facing me, appearing to be skating backwards in her slippered feet. She held up the black compression band and the order sheet like two talismans held by some Egyptian goddess, waving these articles at me, as if to
conjure me away.
She was saying something to me, mumbling something to me:

"Leave two. Leave the tennovas alone."

And she ran back towards 288 Winona.

And I was alone and confused again.

Zigging where I should have been zagging.

Getting no respect, like Rodney Dangerfield.


May as well be masturbating in my car.

Lilke Rodney Dangerfield.

LIGHTS TO:
DIM.

Curtain

........END ACT VII, SCENE 2

43 comments:

EA Monroe said...

Good evening, Ivan. I'm late. What happened to your Black Icon post from earlier this afternoon? I meant to read it tonight and it's gone!

Anyway, don't get fresh with those librarian marms. They might smack you. ;-)

I should put a condom over my head and just say, Goodbye Cruel World. Then pull the loo chain.

Too funny. How do you come up such great lines? I loved this Act.

We're socked by a winter storm tonight. Did you catch the James Taylor tribute on Great Performances?

Josie said...

Ivan, I wanted to read it again as well, and it's gone. I like Sophia. I like her better than Celia. In fact, I think I like the waitress better than Celia.

Well, we certainly hope you haven't pulled the 'loo chain.

It's raining ice crystals here. I've never seen that before. I can hardly wait for the morning.

Josie

ivan said...

Whoops.
Been napping.
Hi Liz.
Welcome again.
I can pick up my previous post and its comments here, but I guess you and Josie can't.
I think I have made one request too many from my techie who is in LA or somewhere and hates to recover my old posts from hotel rooms. He is not responding.
I do intend to put The Blaco Icon up by itself very soon.
...Got your Tom Waits reference on other post. Missed James Taylor.
Used to like hugely.
Winters storm, huh? Rain?
"I seen fire and I seen rain."

Just had a look at your post.
Grrrreat.
Will revisit.

ivan said...

Josie,
I tried the character of Celia out on a test audience here in Newmarket.
They didn't like Celia either.

Whereas the other novel I had touted on the same cable TV show--had a really positive response.
Heh. How could you lose with a title like "Light Over Newmarket." LOL.

I guess I um, pulled the chain too quickly on my comment spaces.

I intend to reissue to Black Icon here with full art as soon as I'm done with this millstone around my neck. My Celia.
Gonna go check your blog now.
Everybody loves those yellow boots.
I am going to steal them and put them up somehere here. Heh.

EA Monroe said...

Peppy Le Pew isn't as strong this morning! We skipped out of work today. We always get freezing rain and ice here before we ever have any snow. I can remember big snows when we were kids and no ice storms.

We tried out a new wine last night. J said, "It tastes kinda citrusy." He thinks everything tastes citrusy. After a while, I said, "It tastes kinda woodsy, to me." He said, "You sure it isn't skunk?" ;-)

ivan said...

I meet the little black-and-white
weasels on my walks around plazas here in suburban Newmarket.
We've taken so much land away from the animals, that not only skunks, but entire families of racoons, and dirty beaver (from polluted water) seem to be all over the little aspen copses still left between factories.
Even Yogi Bear shows up on the bikepaths sometimes to the terror of joggers.

Funny thing about citrusy wine.
When I lived even farther north here in Central Ontario,my family laid in a load of pickles for our winter use.
We ate the pickles, but saved the mason jars.
Well who should drop by but our friend the winemaker. He had made too much of his Beaujelais and wanted to give us a gallon or two.
The only receptacles we had were the big mason jars.
So we poured the wine from our friend's big plastic vat into our mason jars.

All that summer, the wine tasted like Bic's pickles.

For some reason, I see in my mind't eye, a logo of Pepe le Pew
smiling and holding an orange.

"Ah, Gaston, you are such an artiste!"

Josie said...

I was standing outside my building on summer evening waiting for someone and I felt a little cat brushing around my ankles. I reached down to pet it and it was a big, fat ole skunk. I slowly backed away and walked back into my building. He was really cute, though, and very affectionate.

Josie

ivan said...

They are FLF's--Friendly Little
.uckers, aren't they?
And they have a way of following you.
Naturally, you walk away, slowly.

I guess Liz's Sen must have started chasing Le Skunk, with the resultinbg bouquet.

I have heard it said that skunks don't like that smell either.
Have to use sparingly, I suppose!

EA Monroe said...

Hi Ivan. San probably thought it was one of the squirrels she's forever trying to catch. Not too long ago, she treed a possum. Possums can get riled when you try to catch them -- one chased Johnny when he tried to catch it so we could "relocate" it further out into the country. We came home and the possum was in the house -- relaxing in an easy chair, smoking a cigar and sipping Pepe Le Pew wine! He wanted to know if we had any more gourmet catfood left.

Josie said...

HI, Ivan and Liz. It's finally warming up here and the snow is going away. I feel like the wicked witch in "Ehe Wizard of Oz"...

I'm melting, I'm melting...

Cheers,
Josie

Josie said...

Oh, the typo Gods have struck again.

ivan said...

Oboy
Now we're getting the Vancouver stuff here north of Toronto.
Dramatic drop from 50 degrees American to about 32.
Flash freezing rain.

At least you're thawing out there Josie.
Just going out today made me realize how miserable it must have been in Vancouver, and for so long!
Looks like it's going to get better now.
You just know those things.

ivan said...

Possum somehow make me think of a Wallabye designed by committee.

Rat faced and kinda crazy-looking, with unkempt Hitler moustaches.

Certainly schizophrenic, since there are about twelve little mothers hanging around Mother proper.
I kind of dig them. I think they go back to just after the dinosa
urs.

Last time I beat up my Celia's boyfriend, he turned possum.
That or it was a case of mistaken identity.
Some poor cook got five in the eye?
The thing with detective work, you're never sure.
Greek cooks can look so much like Italian gangsters.

Inspector Cluseau wailaid by Kato again, after waylaying his culprit. At least he thought it was the culprit.
Beware the retarded detective!

Josie said...

You beat up Celia's boyfriend? Hah.

Greek cooks look like Italian gangsters? Okay, I just burst out laughing again and everyone wants to know why....

I have posted a cranky post on my blog this afternoon, but will post a proper one later. You can just ignore the cranky one.

Josie

ivan said...

Hm.
After five years in the Service I was, as a bird watcher, able to identify a cockatoo.

Is your quarrel with some other type of 'too?

There are kvetches in blogland too.

Just as there are putzes.

Oy. I had a mother-in-law once!

ivan said...

...Just commenting a bit on your cranky post, Josie.
Thought it would work better here.
Some webhosts are outright cultist.

Josie said...

Oh, there are giant putzes in blogland. And smarmy a-----les too. (Sorry, couldn'r resist.)

One of the doctors here offered to buy my boots. They're a big hit.

Josie

ivan said...

To the doctor:
And what are you going to do with those yellow boots once you have them in your shaky little hands?

Never mind, babe.
Those boots are made for walking.

EA Monroe said...

Hey Ivan. We could go over and party on that a-----es' blog that made Josie feel cranky. We'd probably get smarmed though! ;-)

ivan said...

Like in that W.W. II joke, "We don't get those diseases of the privates.
"We's corporals."

Josie may have been dissed by an Sp.4?
Like self-published, fourth-class?

Josie said...

You guys managed to make me do a perfect spitz laugh all over my computer screen.

Josie

ivan said...

Josie,
I see that my excellent son has just hit our site.
He's probably saying to himself,
"Dad wants old blogs reproduced,the ones with The Black Icon book in them.

But it's still radio silence.

Anyway, old Didus Ineptus here is going to try to reproduce Chapter One of the Black Icon forthwith.

Here goes nuttin'

ivan said...

Like many another vain, empty, and bullying body of our time, I have been running for President these last ten years in the privacy of my mind, and it occurs to me that I am less close now than when I began. Defeat has left my nature divided, my sense of timing is eccentric, and I contain within myself the bitter exhaustions of an old man, and the cocky arguments of a bright boy. So I am everything by my proper age of thirty-six, and anger has brought me to the edge of the brutal.

So begins Norman Mailer in his Advertisements for Myself.

Gotta watch what you say about Norman Mailer, or, for that matter, Bob Dylan. Say the wrong thing and you'll find both these adepts have a karma that'll just come down the blogsphere and getcha. So what I have to say next will come through a prism of candles and fasting.

Like many a young fool, I have been absolutely fascinated by the workings of Mailer's mind, so fascinated that I almost felt that his journalistic (and novelistic) work was my own. I began to emulate, copy, admire. But Mailer, like God, is doing his own thing, oblivious to your anthropological or creative makeup.

But hold. Norman Mailer has the Second World War behind him. So do I. And that makes all the difference.

Any serious novelist who has the Second World War behind him usually makes it, and makes it big, Gore Vidal, Herman Wouk, Terry Southern, Jerzy Kosinski, Kurt Vonnegut Jr.--the list is nearly endless with the aristocracy of war. I guess I'm um, broken-down aristocracy.

So with an eye half out to Mr. Mailer's Advertisments for Myself, I began my own novel, and here is how my lead-in went:

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.

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.

Well. The Black Icon is hardly The Naked and the Dead.

But Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead fascinated me long before I wrote The Black Icon, fascinated me because it had echoes of Tolstoy, Gogol, James T. Farrell, Hemingway.

Fascinated me because it was American, and what immigrant kid didn't want to be an American. I had to be an American at once, especially after reading The Naked and the Dead. "Carlos, now you make love to your hand. When you grow a little, you will make love to a girl."-- or something like that in one of the flashbacks out of Mailer's terrific atoll war scene.

And then came Advertisements for Myself and I was hooked. What immigrant kid in his twenties hadn't felt rejection, failure, pain? It happened to Norman Mailer at the height of his incredible success. But it seemed to happen to me before it actually happened.

Yet there was Mailer's transcendence. Where Norman Mailer "failed" with The Deer Park, he succeeded--wildly succeeded with his Advertisments for Myself. He did it. Broke the Big Bitch. And went on to the Pulitzer Prize and more. But, as you get older, the critical faculty tends to set in, and he never again (to my mind) wrote a satisfactory novel.

So I guess what I'm setting down here is my own Advertisements for Myself. The approach worked for near-genius Norman Mailer. Imitation is flattery. I am no genius.

But I can write. Can always write. Or try.

Hope you didn't find all this mawkish, Mr. Mailer.

But then you did try to court Hemingway once.
posted by ivan at 6:39 PM

10 Comments:
Scott in Montreal said...
Shit. Just visited my sister last month, living in a loft apartment

EA Monroe said...

Hi, Ivan. Thanks for reposting. You just have to write what's in you no matter what anyone else's into. I hope you (your son) can get The Black Icon on your website. It's a story I would like to read. Maybe there's a way you can get the book republished?

ivan said...

Thank you, Liz.
The Black Icon has been around.

Four printings.

There seem to be paparazzi (like no kidding!) every time I reissue it. Paparazzi from the local press anyway.
Thirty years ago, a sharp advertising man for TOPIC (out this way) said, Ivan, you're all f*cked up because you couldn't top your first novel, the BlacK Icon--no matter what you did.
My friend, Brian, sold advertising to kind of support the first printing of my book.
You might have something about me not worrying about what somebody else is into--though I kind of like what you're doing.

Yeah, I'll see if excellent #1 Son can set something up here.
Guy's got two kids and a pressure job, but what the hell, what are sons for? Lol.

EA Monroe said...

Ivan, I almost caught up with you over at Erik's Gazebo. I think we ought to get Josie and go Blog caroling one of these nights. Know any Christmas songs?

Josie said...

Liz, that's a GREAT idea. Blog caroling. Ivan, do you sing?

I would like to read the Black Icon too. Can you put it on your blog?

Josie

ivan said...

Yeah.
I sing.
We will carol.

re my Black Icon novel.

I keep bugging my poor son with my technical requests, but maybe he'll help me to set up The Black Icon on top of the blog somewhere, along with all else that's up.
...Guess I'd better hurry up and finish THE FIRE IN BRADFORD in play form.

kimber the wolfgrrrl said...

The more practical as a business person, all the worse a writer.

I console myself with the thought that the opposite is true, too. Don't pull the loo chain. Back away from the loo with your hands up, and get back to that keyboard .....

ivan said...

Heh heh, Kimber.

I am not surprised by the open-endedness.
I've only had a peek at one or two of your parables, and as I've said, Mr. Borges had better watch out.
And maybe Cirque de Soleil.
Lucy and the sky with diamonds.

Thanks for visiting.

Tengo el monstro en mi lava.

Driven back to the keyboard!

Josie said...

Hi, Ivan. You know, if you and Liz and I go caroling, we could call ourselves two Canucks and a Yank.

(Well, it's still early....)

Josie

ivan said...

Heh Heh

You mean Creedence, Clearwater and Rebel?

--Mason H. Dixon.

Josie said...

Hah... Sounds good to me.

It's Friday... yaaay.

ivan said...

Hey.
Isn't this the weekend that you meet former school pal, now Dashing Pierre of the Lafayette Escadrille.
You know what they say about
French fliers.....
Heh.

ivan said...

Hey.
Isn't this the weekend that you meet former school pal, now Dashing Pierre of the Lafayette Escadrille.
You know what they say about
French fliers.....
Heh.

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