Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Catch-40. The big Wham!

How crazy we are at forty, and how strangely lucky.

Forty. The Big Catch -40.

Here you were bulletproof, making a large media splash that welled all the way to New York, meeting Toronto's Ed Mirvish, smart rich guy by his own labours and Mirvish delving into Hollywood; I ride Ed's coattails by writing about him and he rewards me by plastering my writings all over the Royal Elexandra Theatre in Toronto's entertainment district.

"Did you have to bend over?" some jealous wag hissed, but I said no, I did it all by myself.

I liked Ed. Everybody did. He had the most interesting homilies, as an old grocery man: "Don't ever, ever, buy green bananas.
"Look to your corner barbershop. People aren't in there just for haircuts."

How right he was. I bought green bananas and got the runs.

I once set up a campaign office atop a barbershop in Newmarket. Da Mob knew I was up to something. I could hear them whispering in a language familiar to me. I know the sounds of many tribes.

First effort didn't work. They set fire to my back porch. I phoned the fire deparment then rushed downstairs through the flames.

Second time they did a real pro job Cutting the phone line.. Back porch going Whoosh as the gasoline ignited.

No sense of humour, those Newmarket politicians at the time.

The encumbent is standing downstairs.

I said, "What Mr. Mayor, no foreplay?"

"No foreplay, Ivan," he yelled up. "This is the way the game is played.."

Sanctimonius fornication!

I did a swan dive from the second floor and almost landed on the mayor.

I thought I saw a Glock automatic pointed at me, thought it was all over, but it was a fireman calmly looking for core heat in the blazing house with some sort of instrument that sure looked a lot like a Glock.

What did the fireman have for breakfast that morning?

What was the fireman thinking when he knew there was a man in the burning house?

There he was, calmly using his heat seeker, while I was standing beside him, my shirtsleeves still a little smoky. I could have lit up the instrument all by myself.

There had not even been the hint of a siren as the firetrucks sidled by. It was the one with no ladder or pump.

Who invented my life?

Why did I ever run for office?

Why did I pick this Italian landlord?

Happily, I had a job at the time, and media connections. I made sure my reporter friends wrote the whole thing up.
One Madrechingado way to make the front page.

I thought back of what Mr. Mirvish had told me. "All advertising is good advertising."

I sold more of my novel that year than any other.

Even the mayor, whom I swear I heard saying, "why you slippery little rat" when I had escaped, stood up in council after my impressive book sales and declared me a town treasure.

Stangely, we became friends. If you can't fight 'em, join them, I suppose.

Word got out that the mayor and I were running the town together.

No longer did the incumbent look at me sideways, as if to say, "Is he stronger than me?
"Smarter than me?
"Less queer?"

But I remained a journalist. I began taking potshots at my newfound "friend". I had studied some anthropology, and began, in print, to call him " Australopithecus Paisan", after Leaky's "Australopihthecus Boisson."

Still, the bizzarre friendship held.

"You like me, Ivan," said the mayor. "You once said all renaissances were started by homosexuals. Newmarket is going through a renaissance from a bedroom community to a growing industrial concern.
"You had a lot to do with that.

"I think you're a homo, Ivan."

So I went to the newspaer office and quoted him. And I added the next quote, where he said all my journalistic kind were homosexuals as well.

Wham. Lawsuit.

Egad. First the attempt at my life and now my job.

Retraction from the paper. Ivan let go at the paper.

Suddenly, no job, no apartment, my wife living with some redneck who beat her often...In resentment, I suppose for the time I'd beat up on him. Banty rooster. I jumped up in the air and hit him.

I wasn't feeling especially lucky during this really bad period.

"The sweetest sound I can hear, " yells the mayor as he splashes me in his car, "Is a GO bus leaving town and you in it.

I was fast losing my sense of humour.

I went to the Attorney- General and the Chief of police.

They soon made short work of local corruption. I had made my point.

But then I ran for mayor again, against somebody else and lost anyway.

I did have a Jewish mother-in-law and I was starting to feel as if I was in the middle of some Old Testament temple crumbling.

So I moved to the New Testament.
St. Paul: When they shit on you in one city, move to another city.

And so I did. Retreated to my roots. Started to see Ed Mirvish again. "Do you want me to set you up?" He was serious. Ed was well known for giving artists storefronts and back-room apartments.

Ed's work? I went to the Toronto Star and plied my trade again.

Success. Women on the phone.

Always the women. It was probably why I had gotten to be the way I had gotten to be. Coddled by women, thinking you were King Kong . But things tend to fall apart at age forty. Classic midlife crisis!

And the smalltown mayor had long arms, and soon I was unemployed again.

I prayed to God.

The mayor died.

Well, back in town again. Back on Boogie Street.

But then my friend, the chief of police, realizing there was always a stir around me, said, "You're kind of a big fish in a small pond here. Wouldn't you be happier in a bigger place, like Toronto?"

Oh oh.

I immediately got a haircut (not the same barber shop), put on a suit and told the chielf of police I wanted to be a detective.
He humoured me, and we actually worked on a couple of cases. No more hints to get out of town.

And then my other novel came out, I got a front page review--and television time.

Lived happily ever after.



Josie said...

Ivan, someone should write a book about you. You're like no other character I have ever "met".


islandgrovepress said...

Hee hee, Josie.

Funny you should mention a book.

Apparently, over in Melbourne, Austalia, Stephen Spielberg is doing a sequel to his Band of Brothers, this time set in the Pacific.
Aussie film makers, glad of the extra publicity, are now calling for films they themselves could make, in exotic settings...I guess Victoria, Australia, would be pretty exotic.
So I shot off a few copies of Light Over Newmarket--Could it not be Light Over Melbourne?--to Pam, who lives right next door to where Spielberg is now galavanting around.
Well, let's see what shall develop.

If Light Over Newmarket doesn't work, maybe Aussie film makers can take the present blog and make something out of it. :)

Thanks for the comment, Josie.
Maybe Aussie film makers may yet make a movie out of the sturm und drang that had been...a life?


Donsie said...

What a interresting story. I am new at this blog so not sure if it is your story or just a story, poor Ivan - Thanks I had a great laugh - saying this with respect...

islandgrovepress said...

Hi donsie.

It really happened.

If I hadn't had Air Force training on how to handle oneself in a situation like this, I would have been an airborne harp player.

And in its own tragicomic way, the story seems funny today.


Sienna said...

Exactly Josie!

I think *Ivan does Ivan* would be fantastic reading...maybe we already have glimpses of parts of his life... and he is like no other character.

(It's okay to be gay).

Sounds like Band of Brothers is even going to be shot in rural Victoria, still deciding on (suitable) locations.

C'mon *The Black Icon* and *Light Over Newmarket* great characters and stories...sometimes people can create the greatest work and for one reason or other doesn't get the opportunity to see light of day...or it may get a bit of exposure then waylaid.

The other thing is so much beautiful and talented work out there and quite often the creators, the artists are just that, artists but not publicists or marketeers or able to sell on their work (usually trying to juggle other jobs just to bring in food and pay for a roof over their head)...

I felt the same way when I heard USA Pam and her voice and music, we had already started our kid's screenplay and it hit me like a bolt (not red hammer Josie, black and yellow cordless drill type ;) ) here is someone to help with our music score and great voice for the Marine Biologist from California!!

Here is Ivan tucked away in Canada (and a beautiful place to be tucked away I might add) churning out just classic and unique writing, we have to have a crack at offering all this up to the world, (Australia gives generous film grants to encourage development of series and films...) It is a matter of presenting the work and drumming up interest and support..persistancy, perserverance, patience and optimism, ask and we shall receive.

Can't you just see these characters in film, their stories and life unfold...

islandgrovepress said...


Thank you.

That's kind of a literary paean in itself, your comment.
You sure know some gifted people.
The Pam from the U.S., Pamela Shane
has had her work performed by Joni Mitchell--now how's that for being right up there in talent?
I am a little humbled by the people areound you, from Australia and the U.S....and so delighted that you will be taking my own work to be read by Australian film makers.
There are surely angels living in Victoria, Australia.
I've been lucky with angels in music and in literature.
Forty years ago, when I had trouble getting my Black Icon published, an angel, one Martin Avenhuis, of the Queen Street Book Store, put me on a list of poets and worked mightily to promote my book. Eventually, it was taken by two publishers.
You are my second angel, and, wonderfully, a female one.

There are certainly anges in the business. Thank you, Pam.


Josie said...

Ivan, the world will discover you yet. It doesn't know what it's missing. Don't forget all the "little people" who knew you when...

Seriously, you are definitely a character, and I hope Pam uses you as a character in her movie. It would be too much fun.


Anonymous said...


I've had such a rococo life that I halway believe some l9th century wag's statement that "He whom the gods would destroy, they first call promising."
Still, it would be nice to see a letter from OZ nestling there among the flyers.



JM said...

Great post, Ivan.
Crime may not pay as well as politics, but it's safer.

islandgrovepress said...

Thanks, Jeff.

Coming from you, whose entire income is from writing, I really appreciate it.
Yes, municipal politics is dangerous...I knew I should have played the lotteries instead!

For a while, it seemed to me that two things were certain: Taxes and incineration.


JR's Thumbprints said...

Oh but -30- wasn't the end, neither was -40- ... and Ivan continued on, his Wheel of Fortuna spinning downward, but spinning nonetheless.

islandgrovepress said...

That's kind of nice, JR.

Josie said...

I still think JR should be an honorary Quark.

Are you ready to go to Oz, Ivan? Maybe the world will discover you yet.

Leslie is invited as well. You could come to Vancouver and we'll all travel from here.


Islandgrovepress said...

O where oh where, has my little dog gone?

islandgrovepress said...


I am trying to digest a story JR has on his blog.

With a knick-knack, Tabernac, give a dog a bone...

Donnetta Lee said...

Hi, Ivan! My midlife crisis just hit at 56! I still thought all was pretty cool at 40. I was a compliance coordinator with the state department. Married to hubby who had a fairly highfalootin' job. Had a handsome teenager. But 56 has been tougher and like a turning point. Hope my spiral isn't downward!! Unless there is something really neat down there besides turning 57.

islandgrovepress said...

I spent all of age 57 living in a car.
I am positive you will have better luck.

Yet 57 was somehos a lucky year as well. Some woman sidled by the car and asked me if it was too much trouble if we just sort of went to her place and rock and roll a bit.
I said, "Oh no, I'm so busy and all.."
Heh. Suddenly housed and Ladies' Home Companion.
I think I'm a Ho.


Donnetta Lee said...

Ho, ho, ho. Was it a Merry Christmas?


islandgrovepress said...

She gave me a new pair of boots for Christmas, but we somehow got into an argument.
Threw me out.

But, crafty Ivan comes back.

"Boots don't fit."

Cracked her up.

Oh what a merry Christmas!


JR's Thumbprints said...

Please don't install a webcam. I'm sure Josie will send you the Nekkid Bloggers Award regardless.

islandgrovepess said...

E A. Monroe just wrote in to suggest we design a logo for you, the Island Grove Press award for innovative photography. She does like your inventiveness.


Josie said...

Hi, Boychik. I agree. JR has the best photos on the blog. I never fail to giggle when I see them. Should I design something?

Off to the Munchkins' baseball game today...


islandgrovepress said...

Hi Josie,

Have fun with the grandkids.

It'll take you a while to read this, but by all means, if you have some spare time, do design a photography award for JR.

Something like:


Cartoon camera icon here



JR's Thumbprints said...

Hey everyone, there's no need to give me an award for something my wife does. I simply ask her to take the photos, and she simply suggests that I quit slouching and hold my chin up.

And Ivan, thanks for the writing tips. I've always said that the worse thing about bad writing is bad writing getting published. There seems to be plenty of that going around--no need in me adding to the pile.

islandgrovepress said...


So it's your wife that was taking the pictures. We thought you had somehow posed youself. I guess we'd better rethink the award avatar.
Well, congratulate her, though I know she doesn't want to be directly involved in your blog.

As for not wanting to add your stuff to what's around today, take heart. One of the help around McDonald's writes way better than I do. I try not to tell him that.
Talent hides in the strangest places.
Do enough of something long enough and one of your darts may well not only double -in, but score a bullseye.


Josie said...

Oh, darn, and I had such a nice little award avatar all set up.


islandgrovepress said...

Don't discard it just yet, Josie.

I've got a feeling the creation of the photography avatar will start some sort of thread.

Heard your voice for the first time, on your blog...Dreamy.


Josie said...

Me? Dreamy? ***chuckle***.

It's spring today and I am going to garden. Van Dusen has its annual spring gardening sale today. Admission is free.

Have a look:

Is it spring in Ontario yet>


Josie said...

Oh, phooey, the link didn't work.

islandgrovepress said...

Hi Josie,

The link probably didn't work because I was composing a new blog.

I had a look at Liz's gothic exerpt on her blog (e.a.monroe) and was moved to produce a gothic story of my own.

Hm. I have just had a look at it.

I do believe I have fallen flat on my face. Liz, help!


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