Sunday, February 11, 2007

Home thoughts--from a guy!

It is not for nothing that every writer searches for his accomplice, perhaps his guide.

For years and years, mine has been Jorge Luis Borges, who writes in flashes of lighning stemming from a profound erudition which includes the venerable Pascal, who wrote, for example, "Nature is an infinite sphere whose center is everywhere, whose circimference is nowhere." Borges hunts down this metaphor through the centuries and produces incredible stories, such as the Aleph, this infinite sphere whose centre is everywhere, whose circuference is nowhere. It is Borges' open-ended stories that charm and mystify and give us, finally, a sense of God that is almost right up against us. And we dare not speak His name. But Borges appears to actually utter all the names of God and perhaps for that, he is struck blind


He was stuck blind.

Well, I for one neither have the profundity of Borges, nor do I want to be struck blind, but it is nice every so often to get a story from an "accomplice" a friend who sometimes does reviews of my stuff on his blog.
He really seemed to dig my LIGHT OVER NEWMARKET and other times agrees to have me put up a story of his that I really like.

Home. We are all trying to get home, one way or another. The Aleph is a wondrous, spooky symbol, but all the occultness does not really bring us back home and the ones we love.

Here is what I picked up from Aaron Braaten,

I had the most amazing dream.

I was in a hockey arena cafeteria, the place of Canadian community and belonging. I was raised in Alberta’s hockey rinks; this is where I come from. The air was humid and warm, and I could smell hot chocolate, coffee and grill grease from the canteen. The low rumble of conversation was muffled by all the puffy coats and toques.

You were there, eating with your parents. You knew I’d be there. You didn’t even have to look behind you to know I was present. You saw it in your father’s eye movement and furrowed brow.
You got up, turned around, walked over to me. After a hug and a kiss, you simply said “I love you. I’ve missed you”.

And then, something pulled me out of my dream. Something woke me up. The sound of a thousand trumpets. I followed the trumpets out of my dreamscape, back to my reality, and I realized these were not trumpets, but Canadian geese, making their way home after wintering in the south.

Needless to say, I was floored by the symbolism this morning.

I awoke, ground some coffee and boiled some water and mixed the two in my french press. A bottle of maple syrup stood on the counter, from making lemonade last night. I came to the computer and started writing this while the coffee soaked. After hammering out the first sentence or two, the smell of the beans told me to pour them out, so I did. I poured out my coffee, threw in a little cream, grabbed my coat and my pack of Djarum cigarettes and went out onto my balcony for a morning smoke, hoping to hear the geese again.
I put the coffee cup on the cement ledge near my window, and watched the steam rise to meet the cold air as I lit my cigarette, and I looked up at the evergreens in the courtyard. They’re cedars, but I imagined them to be the spruce trees of Rocky Mountain House, as I looked up at their green silhouettes juxtaposed against a clear blue sky, much like one would see in Alberta. I was reminded of those many times I’ve spent camping with Dad, sitting in a lawn chair, staring up at the sky. When I stare up at trees against the sky, I feel at home, and for a moment I did. I knew my place in the world, and this wasn’t it.
My eyes watered as an uncontrollable sickness washed over me. A mixture of love and home sickness. I took a puff on my cigarette, and remembered the Player’s Light that my Dad smokes. My coffee tasted like Tim Horton’s, and I heard the voice of people singing.

O Canada! Our home and native land! True patriot love in all thy sons command. With glowing hearts we see thee rise, The True North strong and free! From far and wide, O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. God keep our land glorious and free! O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

They sang it apathetically, low and slightly off-tune, as Canadians often do. But to me, the sound was that of angels singing to my soul. The national anthem is usually something we endure before the hockey starts. But for me, this morning, it took on a whole new meaning.

--Aaron Braaten.
(Published electronically by Island Grove Press) Mr. Braaten holds all rights


Aaron said...

110% Awesome, old buddy.

ivan said...

You're welcome!

EA Monroe said...

Aaron, 120% powerful. It's odd how sounds infiltrate dreams in strange, symbolic ways. In Oklahoma it's often the rumble of the trains on the tracks and dreams of tornadoes!

JR's Thumbprints said...

Hockey night just isn't the same without Canada in the thick of it. Nice selection, Ivan.

ivan said...

Thanks, Jim.

Josie said...

Omigosh, you don't even have to be Canadian to feel Canadian reading this.



ivan said...

Thanks Josie,

Aaron from Alberta, living in Philly, will be pleased.

Jaye Wells said...

Thanks fo sharing this, Ivan. It was lovely.

ivan said...

Why thank you, Jaye!

Aaron has been writing up a storm lately, though his first speciality
is economics. He got a Master's out of doing a thesis on bloggers and their ways!

Quite a mix of interests, huh?

H.E.Eigler said...

Ivan, I'm impressed with the selection of posts lately - another great piece.

ivan said...

Thank you, Heather.

I have had a series of editors over the years, who despite commerical pressures, seemed to value good writing above all.
Eventually, their magazines were bought out, but I like to think some of the attitude stayed with me.
And I was quite pleased to have put up your flash fiction piece along with these good writers.


Josie said...

So, Ivan, I see you're staying out of trouble this evening. Did Liz pick you up in her convertible? Bring your shades.


ivan said...

Ah, we are all so much like the Bronte Sister with joy-riding tendencies.

JR came in with his pop-up card, I tried to recover with some graphic rock'n'roll to bring the scene back to girls in jewelled cat's eyes glasses flashing at guys in cars and then Bernita comes in, saying that this is a group grope and then Liz blames it all on me.

Once more I try to get back into Liz's skit of girls in sunglasses joyriding in a red convertible, but and all of a sudden the girls don't want to play anymore.
They are now busy writing, writing, writing.

Writing out tax forms, writing- in more inserts into their works- -in- progress. Writing!

Migod, I've been dumped on the road, like the poor naked hitchhiker in the funny story, complaining someone had stolen my clothes, and the pervert who picks me up saying, as he "Deliverances" me, poor grunting pilgrim, "Buddy, you ain't got no luck at all."

Donetta and Liz have dumped me on the road, sans clothes so they could get back to their writing. Writing. Their writing!

Ah we are all writing, writing, writing.

Bronte sisters with joy riding tendencies.

I am trying to write about a woman who tries to commit suicide by impaling herself upon a mushroom, but then that was a story some woman has sent me.
I seem to have more luck with suicidal women writers than with any other sort.
Sylvia Plaths all, but Lord, can they write.

My former wife used to say that although a man,I was a lot like Sylvia Plath.
"Crank you up two notches, and you'd be Sylvia Plath."

How can I be Sylvia Plath?

I don't even own a gas oven, nor a vagina (some monologue huh")
Strictly electric oven over here and even then the damn thing doesn't work.

Impale myself upon a mushroom?
Ruin my salad?

Better write something instead.

We are the Bronte sisters with joyriding tendencies.

But right now, we are all busy writng, writing, writing.


Josie said...

Ivan, the neighbors are wondering why I'm laughing so loud.


Well, if Donnetta and Liz have deserted you, you are cordially invited to come and do a Thelma and Louise with my friend Ann and me. We promise not to drive off the Grand Canyon.


ivan said...

Ah, the lovely Edgar Winer Groupies.

"Come on and take a free ride."


Hopping right aboard.


EA Monroe said...

Ivan! Jaye just joined the late road trip for more flashin' fun. We were sidetracked at the Dairy Queen! Hit a speed bump. Er... I think it was a speed bump!

BTW, I meant to email Josie and you that over on the side bar of my blog I have a link to Original Music. My son and I finally talked the old man into posting some of his music on MySpace.

Stick a CD in the player, and let's head back out on the road!

Kate S said...

Lovely - from both of you.

ivan said...

Kate s.:

Thanks for the appreciation.

I was just tickled and I'm sure Aaron will be.

I notice you have an enquiry on your own blog.

re "hearing" characters or seeing them.

I have done some acting and this helps in the placement of characters in your work, but on the whole, I "sense" the character, as if through a drug, place him/her on a stage in the back of my mind, and then I see, see see.
Writers tend to see whole words.

It does seem to come from a lot of acting, a whole whack of reading and a lot of writing intended for publication.
There is a vast difference between just stringing words together and producing proof copy.

A few oxymorons: read like pig, act like a pig if you have access to local theatre; write like a pig.

So much of it is experience, especially writing experience.

In a word, you have to write a lot.

Perhaps you have. But write more.

It will all come.


HeiressChild said...

great writing ivan. my first time for the canadian national anthem. josie, i saw the movie "thelma & louise" for the first time a few weeks ago. good movie.

ivan said...


The CD is in my player, and WOW.

Your hubby has a good-sized streak of talent.

Next replacement for Stevie Ray Vaughan.


Is he using some steel?

Johnny Monroe rocks!

...I tried to log into MySpace, but it's beyond my poor IQ.

And then my techies say don't.

My age, I suppose.


ivan said...


Welcome back.

And thanks.

EA Monroe said...

Hey, Ivan. No steel the old man says. Just a lot of string bending on a '69 Fender Strat.

If you go "Thelma and Louising" with Josie and friend, maybe they will let you be Brad Pitt. :}

ivan said...


I found the '69 Fender Strat like picing on a picket fence, but Johnny makes it sing. Good work!

I am Brad Pitt.

But Brad Pitt the Elder.

Much "Elder".

Come here, Lass, I'll thwatck you with my cane!

Josie said...

I have to remember not to read Ivan's blog while I'm drinking tea.

ivan said...

I got tea all over my screen.

Josie said...

Heh heh heh...

ivan said...

Hapy Valentine's Day, Josie.


Josie said...

Well, Happy Valentine's to you too Ivan. And you know you are the No. 1 Valentine to all the ladies on the blogs...:-)


ivan said...

Love ya.

And E.A. too. And H.E, Donnetta and all the others.

--Deuce Bigelow

EA Monroe said...

Happy Valentine's Day to you, Ivan!

ivan said...

Why thank you, Liz.

Got me righ in the old thumper.

Thumping back at you!

HeiressChild said...


ivan said...

And to you too, Sylvia.
You just made my day.


Josie said...

See, Ivan... look at all the Valentine's Day greetings you're getting from all the ladies... Ha!

I am at home fighting a cold today. The cold is winning.



H.E.Eigler said...

Happy Valentines Day Prof! Hope you have a good one :)

ivan said...

Dan'l Cupid a busy guy this morning.
Haven't had this kind of response since I taught an all-woman class at Seneca College. There was no competition!
Sorry about the code in de node.
Get into salads and greens and eat all the tangerines you can.
You been so busy taking care of other people that you may have forgotten yourself.
Hope you can take a day off.
I haven't checked Vancouver, but I think the weather is co-operating.

We've got a major blizzard in Ontario and fierce March winds in February.
I have taken my Mongoose inside and have raided the tobacconist.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
Looks like you're getting your love to keep you warm too, though the sniffles are slowing you down some.
Hot milk, honey, butter, lemon.
Ivan's famous cold cure.
There, you're feeling better already.
Happy Valentine's Day again.


islandgrovepress said...


My days has improved already with your greeting.
Have a wonderful Valentine's Day yourself.
You are multiplying!
I should say Happy Valentines Day to the Kangaroo Jimmy as well.
Happy Valentine's Day, you two.


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