Monday, March 19, 2007

Snapped continuity: A Rondeau

I'm asleep and I can't wake up.

I discuss this feeling state with former media czar Patrick Watson.

"It's nothing. Just a sensibility shift, says Mr. Watson.

But for me, it wasn't elementary. For me, It was a feeling of snapped continuity.

Snapped continuity.

Pockets of angels.

Pockets of Boticelli, his quirky, almost cartoon-like rendering of all the stations of Hell.

"In the middle of the journey of our lives.."

Intermezzo del camin du nuestra vita...

Boticelli, perfectly capable of rendering angelic beauty as in that Venus- on- the- halfshell so reminiscent of Toronto City Hall, and then doing a complete 180 and illustrating Dante's hell for us. And what a proper hell it was, out of all the materials of the 14th century and a little beyond, into our present time.
Was Urjo
Revell thinking of Boticelli when he designed our city hall? Hard to say. From the beginning, in l964, they said the new shell-like structure was ugly, even down to the
turd-in-the plaza of Henry Moore. But look at that plaza now. Finnish furniture elevated to high art. Ikea with a whole lot of Boticelli thrown in. It is beautiful.

Ah, we ourselves are starlight, are golden. "And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden."

I once took a page out of Joni Mitchell's book and produced a newspaper column whose standing logo was "Both Sides Now."

Oh the arrogance of it, thinking, at 34, that I had seen it all, had figured it out, that I'd been through hell and would be able to write the guidebook.

At least, my young fool's notes were carrying the house. I had succeeded in cobbling together other people's material and making a living at it.

Other people's material.
Well, there was Woodstock. "Come with me, my friend, I'll show you another country." Yes, Jefferson Airplane with Gracie Slick fronting. And Janis Joplin:

"Sittin' by the window
Lookin' out at the rain
(Yeah) Sittin' by the window
Lookin' out at the rain
Somethin' got a hold of me honey
Seems to me...
Seems to me like a ball and chain!"

And then the" aw- aw- aw- aw -Please!
I just wanta walk your mouth..."

It's a strange, strange world we live in, Master Jack.

Master Jack trying to be nimble at the typewriter, writing the great Canadian novel, f*cking it up, wife saying "you picked a hard thing to be."
Writing. The only thing you know and even at this you are failing.
Jefferson airplane on CHUM FM. Gracie Slick. "Go Ask Alice."

You mean I am not in their league? I am not an artist?

The saved-up joint lit up, hoping to get that sense of omnipotence and creativity back-- and it is not a good stone. Not even with the chelm. Three years go by. Same problem. "You are f*cking up, baby.
Looks like you'll have to go to work for a while."

I go to work as a rock critic. I am still wearing the suit and tie they told me to wear at our "I think- I- can" technical university. Old school tie, yes, the beanie, almost.
Frosh all my days. Trying to be hip, trying to be cool. In blazer and slacks. Electric Circus, Brower and Walker rock shows at Varsity Stadium, an old haunt . Old university grounds.
Philosopher's walk, remembering some of the hazing at Trinity College. Poor kid with the beanie still on, carrot in his mouth, "Eat that, you queer." Preparation for life, yeah.

Well, they did prepare me for life. Trinity was sort of a finishing school for me, my mainline trade being journalist. Eating the carrot. Fellating the stars.

I finally doffed the suit, got some paiseley and beads and went the whole rock columnist routine. Here and there I would affect comic book Riddler outfits, Batman, Superman, the five-inch
high-heeled boots. Frequenting the electric spots, Granny's...all our imitations of Club 54. I had fantasies of meeting Margaret Trudeau.
And suddenly the bubble burst. The Toronto Telegram sank, and so did I.

Like many another screw-up, I retreated to my cottage to write that great Canadian novel.
It laid an egg.

Back to the journalism, back to the column I had titled "Both Sides Now".
Back on "boogie street", for I was making money again, and the next thing you know, I'm at the Toronto Sun with my scrawls, and life is good. Except that I had screwed up the novel. What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world...

I seemed to have
lost my soul, first to rock'n'roll and now to something like the profession of Neil Young's father--journalism. I was not an artist, just a moon reflecting all the stars, here and there nearly mooning them out of sheer envy.

Comes now the standard artistic trick. Drive your family away. Find a garret. Become the novelist you were meant to be.

Snapped continuity.
You try for heaven, try for Beatrice among the stars and you end up in hell. The separation anxiety kills the creativity, your biopsychic intensities overcoming your proof page, the bottles piled up, the alcholism, the shame of rehab.

And the question is asked, did he, did he deliver the goods?
Yes he did. But it was like Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea. The project was finally completed, but it had been motheaten, and finally chewed upon by sharks.

And there was all this snapped continuity, what they had been talking about in the Sixties and Seventies. I had finally myself gotten the snap.


Josie said...

Hi, Ivan, where is everyone? I'm feeling blue today, and my home computer is broken. Sigh. Haven't been blogging.


islandgrovepress said...



I thought I was the only one feeling this way, so I wrote a blue blog.
Must be the rain in Vancouver. Has it lifted yet? It is bone-chilling here for the first day (almost) of spring.
Where are you sending from? The library? That's what I do when this old clunker belches and uh, fahts.
Your computer problems seem to suggest you let the kids do one programme too many. Some of the programs have their own little computers on them, and then, well...a kind of overload. I have had friends in and next thing you kow, the CD player is busted.
Anyway, I hope you have luck with your techies...Or are you the techie? Heh.
Liz has a very nice essay/poem up and everyone pretty well agrees that Donetta's story on friendship really hits the spot.
Doff that raincoat!


Donnetta Lee said...

Hi guys. We need to ask Liz if some celestial influence is at work here. I am still sick. Have coughed so much that my ribcage is sore! Liz writing about the hardest part of the day. Josie and Ivan colored a bit blue. It is overcast where both Liz and I live--whole state more or less. Must contribute to this.

I did love the language of the moon reflecting the stars in this. Painting with a blue brush, but painting nonetheless!


islandgrovepress said...

Hi Donnetta,

I forget what play it was, but I recall a scene of "Beating the Schmertz".
The Schmertz is actually a scapegoat, the thing that is doing us all in. In the play, the Scmertz in personified and everybody beats it horribly.
I've been "beating the schmertz" all morning, and it sounds like you and Josie need to "beat the schmertz" too.
Begone, schmetrz!

I shudder to think of what the word actually might mean in Yiddish
(and I speak some).


leslie said...

Okay, gang, let's all beat the c*** out of that 'schmertz' thingy. Spring has sprung even if the sky's still a little bit grey. (now making a goofy face and wiggling my fingers crazy-like to push away all the misery) BEGONE! BEGONE! spaketh she ... (well, I'm trying) ;D

islandgrovepress said...

Beat the Schmertz!


EA Monroe said...

We do have a whole week of rainy weather lined up in OK. I say it's that last partial solar eclipse telling us to get up and get moving and go out and be creative. Er, or some thing like that. I'll have to look it up! Ivan, you got any good stuff in the fridge?

islandgrovepress said...

Ah, seething Chekhovian passions under the cold suburban faux-cherry trees. Not a blossom in sight.
And it sounds like somebody's shaking old Erik's tree over there in Cherry country, Michigan.

Finally put myself back in circulation a bit--or more properly, my friends put me into circulation.
Spring. Even and old man's fancy turns from thoughts of revenge to something like love.

"There she was singin' boom-bara--"--or whatever. Eve under the tree again. Serpent no doubt close by.
Made me go into the fridge for that Mongoose, made in Ontario by Dr. Crippen.
Ernest Hemingway recommending the Canadian Broadcasting Castration somewhere, but that would be too radical a procedure.
One could be a hundred years old and still be a damfool.
But what a smile she had.


Josie said...

I see the party's at Ivan's place again. Wait for me. To heck with booze, I'm bringing the chocolate.


Iaslandgrovepress said...

Hi Josie,

You are wise to avoid the booze and bring chocolate.
Nobody in her right mind would drink Mongoose Beer--well, except for this one lady, but she insists I leave it open for a while before she dares a sip. "Eeew! You drink this crap?"
Ah, maybe we'll just brew up some hot chocolate.
But then I'll fall asleep, and everybody will blame me.



Donnetta Lee said...

Hey, how about Kahloua (sp?)? That's what I'm having tonight. Can't spell it though. Tastes a bit like chocolate. Try with a bit of vodka in it. MMMM. Maybe if I have one, then I'll be able to spell it. Donnetta

islandgrovepress said...

Yeah, lets do a Kahlua.
Makes me think of having filet on the patio of the Terrazza restaurant in San Miguel de Allende, mariachis burning bright.
Ta-ta-rattata-tara-tar! Liqueurs.
Oh thosse liqueurs after dinner!
Dancing the tango. "I want a dip!" she demands. I am in Mariachi outfit, replete with Spanish hat,giving her a dip.
Not like my father, who would "Pick up voman, drop voman", no, I was Hispanic now and full of grace. Kahsluha. Make you feel like Aztec god.
And in the morning, Mescal, the worm at the bottom of the bottle.
You eat the worm and you're ready to mariachi some more.


Donnetta Lee said...

And you can pour it over ice cream, too.


islandgrovepress said...

Baskin-Robbins with overdrive!

Take that, Haemen-Daesch!