Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Bukowski on the town

Contracted some years ago to write a column for a major magazine, I found, after 12 months (or 50,000 words)--that I couldn't write any more.

Hey, that's like a paramedic with no ambulance, a traffic cop with no whistle, a Ron Jeremy unhung.

I mean, I was a professional. Professionals don't get mental blocks. They produce work on deadline, rain or shine. They are media people, lots of ego, lots of money. This, after all, is their life's calling.

But the more I got into media the more I realized that one couldn't be on all the time. Leads to burnout, marital problems. Drinking too much.

I wondered how the big boys and girls could keep it up, month after month, year after year.

I began to study my editor closely.

Still wondering what I was going to write about next, I saw my editor get up from his VDT, light a cigarette, throw his hands in the air and say, "I can't write any more.
"Let's all go to the Grey Goat."

The Grey Goat was a swell saleman's bar, very English, woody and brassy.
It was a great place to relax while watching salesmen conning each other to refine their techniques.
It was also a hangout for journalists.

Here is where my editor would take the entire staff, leaving just a skeleton crew back at work.

After a few tankards, everybody would loosen up.

"Alcoholism," the bearded editor would say. "Occupational hazard."

Tell me about it.

At the Goat that night, there was someone from the competing paper, a man I was forced to share an award with, since the Ontario Newspapers' Association couldn't figure out which one of us was better. I still harboured some resentment.

"R" was very drunk that night and still thirsty.

"Ivan. Another beer!
"I would s*ck a c*ck for another beer!"

"Have you tried Ukrainian?" I laughed.

I got the instinctive response. He then went to get another beer.

Ah, drinking in the pubs, bragging, lying constructing great sprawling novels in the smoky air.
Feeling that one was still young, that one's body would not corrode or wither, that you could tell the whole world to go "Sierra Mike Charlie." Bart Simpson at 39.

Going after someone's wife, getting a poke in the eye and surprised after the first few shooting stars that you were not as omnipotent as you thought.

The letting off of steam, the clearing of the logjam.

The next morning, the editor was all professional again, the purposefulness, the self-confidence, writing straight and clean, getting to the heart of the matter.

"Who's your favourite poet, John?" asked halfway through the morning.

"Ovid," he said, without hesitation.

"Ovid?" I asked. "The poet of love?"

"Yes," he anwered. "And one thing that Ovid said was no water-drinker ever wrote anything worthwhile."

That night I went back to the pub, got into a brawl and made a total ass of myself.

But in the morning, could I ever write.

The logjam was long gone. Ideas seemed to fly by, almost searing me with their passage.

Mind followed hand, hand followed mind, river was jungle and jungle was river.

At least that was the way it seemed to me.

"I like the way your mind works," said the girl who just finished reading the paper.

Oh if she only knew. That night when the gentleman dapper fell into the crapper.



Trevor Record said...

Heh, when the gentleman dapper fell into the crapper would be a good title for a story.

I dig Bukowski, but I also know that drunk old fuck would strangle me to death if I could make a time machine and go back in time to see him.

ivan@creativewritiing.ca said...

Better to see him as a younger guy.

Poor old rubby got diabetes at the end and seemed to suffer terribly...Many amputations.
But he had life force to the end!


Donnetta Lee said...

The logjam broke and I think things have been flowing ever since then! Keep it coming...

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


In plain Cantonese, "Ding-Hao".

Very good!.


Josie said...

Ivan, you're a force of nature. I'm still convinced that some of your best stuff is still ahead of you. Maybe it's a matter of focus? Do writers romanticize writers too much? Maybe it's really just a job that you guys have to knuckle down and 'do'.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Could well be a matter of focus.

"Maybe it's really just a job that you guys have to knuckle down and 'do'"

Very probably. It's easier to blog than to write. Like I mean, really write :)


Josie said...

Ivan, I'll bet you could really write. You have a fabulous way with words.

I don't think blogging is meant to be serious writing. The folks out there who are serious writers could get their stuff published, it's so good (like you...) but how does one go about getting published.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Thank you, Josie.

It seems easier to get published when you're younger, when all the forces in your life come together--money, goods, power, marriage into a family that can help you along in your ambitious quest.
Baseically, I think it's a lot of family help.
In my case, it was a powerful, established Ontario family.
...I was not a good apprentice.

There is a temptation in the young writer (never quite as good as he thinks he is) to drive away his family so he can "write."
This, to me, seems always a mistake.
It was that family who had launched you in the first place.

It is my opinion that it is impossible for a Canadian first novelist to get published unless an uppermiddleclass family is pulling for him or her.
the family that I'd married into had three estabished authors in it.


EA Monroe said...

I must drink too much damn water!

EA Monroe said...

PS, Ivan, and I don't get into enough good brawls. Time to head to The Other Place!

ivan@cretivewriting.ca said...

Well, you write like pure spirit.


ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


Hee hee.

I was just recommending an extreme way of getting over writer's block.

Says Flaubert (I think) that the writer should live quiet and bourgeois, so he can write like a lion at night.


Ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Note to Josie,

I think I finally know what you're auguring about any future projects I might undertake, and that the best may yet be ahead.

I'll have to borrow a page from Trevor Record's book and call myself a lazy hoor.

Gonna have to start writing again.
I won't tell you what form, because I'm superstitious.
Enought that maybe Pam and I could collaborate on something.


Josie said...

Ivan, you're a writer, you should write. I envy you.

You missed all the fun over at my place tonight. Heh.

I do like a giggle once in a while.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Ahh, you have me hooked Ivan on Ovid and you :;wink::... perhaps Ovid and I knew each other in another life... or maybe you sent him to me and didn't realize it. Either way, he sleeps restfully in my mind, like a content lover as I read what I can find of his work.

"Two hearts beat of the same music" or at least that is how I feel.

one more thing, I agree with Josie, your best is yet to come. Could be that you will be recognized long after you leave this world, all the best are...

soft love Ivan man

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


I been over.

But you're under your dubet tonight.
Sleep tight.
Make sure the bugs don't bite.


ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


What time is it getting to be?

I think I've drunk myself sober.


Sienna said...

Last year? I saw an interview of sorts with Charles Bukowski...I couldn't walk away, the interviewer virtually had him telling his life story and doing some voice over poetry....I'm guessing the interview was the 1970's? but he looked a hellofa lot older than he probably was.. had really knocked himself around, but what he had to say was so captivating....just so raw and honest...he really disliked his time at the Post Office; working there..

Makes me wonder people that obviously have so much creative juice in them....how do they *perform* -create all the time, like with your 50,000....deadlines and editors...gottas and shoulds ...amazing that the creative process could ever be regulated??

Thank god for grey goats I say Ivan..


ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


The Grey Goat was wonderful.
A real English pub. Then the Scots got in--my kind of people, they liked to either get laid or into a good fistfight--either way was ok. This, of course toned down the British "Gentlemen's bar" and Saloon bar for the navvies.
Scots navvies took the place over, I launched another musical career there, but got into an altercation with the captain of the Bayview Thistle, a soccer team, and I almost broke my guitar over his back--actually, it was my back that he nearly broke--professional boxer too, I really pick 'em.
I think my inept right crosees just gave hime ha*d on.
Make a long story short--I was also running for mayor at the same time and I think the athlete was sent over there to f*ck me up.
I got my revenge, of sorts.
The Scotsmen came over here to start a new life and the majority of them ended up on welfare.
the Grey Goat went downhill from there. It is now a popular hangout for punkers and kids.
Yeah, the literary gun for hire thing. Makes you feel like sort of a Dr. Doolittle Push Me-Pull you.
More accurately some cartoon carricature of a guy with an astrolabe in one hand, a pen in the other, a guitar hanging over the shoulder and a lawyer nearby to handle the libel suits.
Ah, yes. The Grey Goat.
I am one.


ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


You got me all flustered.

It is certainly not all Greek to me.

Φ φ

(I meant to send you a bouquet of flowery letters, but I'm something of a Cyrano at this).

So it's XO.


Josie said...

Oh, I think someone is stealing our Ivan away from us... Quarks, beware. :-)

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Heh heh.

That's sweet.


EA Monroe said...

Hummmm... How's it going today, Ivan? Josie, maybe it's all the "competition" over at your place? ;-) Just kidding!!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Migod, I am becoming Othello.

Josie never really was unfaithful, even with the dwarf fello. :)


Josie said...

You mean Rumpelstiltskin? I guess I'll find him when I change my sheets. Heh.

Ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
ha ha!


the walking man said...


If you don't mind I am going to answer Pam...hell even if you do mind then your only alternative is to hitchhike to Detroit and let me buy you beer and good bourbon and pour you down in the extra room upstairs or delete me.

50,000 words is mot hard if you're interested in the subject, the key is first knowing that you can write [and YOU can]the second is just simply knowing where the zone is.

Some people need to have a completely clean physical surrounding, me I need music and a few non essentials around to feel comfortable.

Then you just start tapping away at what your subject is.

my Brother was a reporter then an editor for 25 years and now is a lawyer, who writes briefs and depositions like today is the last day on earth.

That is time constraints and work that really I would have to reach to complete, but I know that the world is an interesting place and that everyone in it has something interesting to me about them.

But 50k words is a lot, damn near novel length work, novelette at the least and it would take time but the juice does flow, even when the subject matter is as boring as a town hall meeting.

This is what made Hunter Thompson famous, when he ran out of reality he made himself a part of the reality and upped his word count. Micheal Moore does the same thing except in a different medium.

Me personally and this is not said for braggadocio but I have never taken longer than three weeks to write a full length piece rough. Two of them 85k words give or take.

All of the poetry that was on my blog was written that day, just as everything I write as a post is written that day.

It is not talent or even skill, sometimes it is just done without thought and before I know it bang the piece says STOP HERE!

In my very first creative writing class i filled a two inch notebook with new work at the same time writing for four other classes.

It is simply desire to be finished getting it out, because I know the next piece is waiting for me to get out. and at least for me, one who never had a deadline on anything more than a term paper or essay it is desire...simply a desire to be heard.



ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


Pam is goodhearted and she was empathizing with me about the minutia and strictures of day-to-day journalism.
You describe the process very well--yes, that's pretty well how this kind of creativity works, but there is more to this--much more.

In the first place, to win a general-interest column (your name and picure atop) you first have to establish credentials that you worked somewhere else. This used to be done by presenting a scrapbook with all your clippings (cuttings) in it--that and a kind of curriculum vitae.

When I went to TOPIC Magazine (now the Era-Banner), I already had had a rock column in the Sunday Sun, a front page story in Starweek (Toronto Star), twelve poems and short stories in the Fifth Page (my
university literary thing)--and I had been editorial page editor of The Daily Ryersonian, my college.
paper. In addition to this, I was, I think, well known in Toronto and New York entertainment circles and was on first-name terms with the likes of Yvonne de Carlo, Bruno Gerussi, Darrel Calvin and Lyle Talbot.
So yeah, there's the writing, the producing of the 50,000 words-- but you have to win that column spot in the first place (I think Josie was asking about this--how do you get in?-- and this would be a more detailed answer for her).

Further, everything in journalism is everywhere inteconnected. The man who hired me was the same man who shepherded me throught my days as a cub repoter at the Toronto Star. He knew I was um, "weird, but kind of good."

Yes, just about any kind of fanatic can put 50,000 words together. But it's getting onto that publishing launch pad that counts.
Once you get up there, life gets no easier. The world is watching you, you cannot have a bad performance and there is always the lady just behind you after your job.
You had paved the way for a kind of Spike Milligan column, established that this kind of entertainment writing could be done--and now every housewife and kindergarten teacher wants your job, that is to say, produce "fun" reading for real money.

So it's not so much "cranking it out" as getting to this kind of prominence in the first place.

So it's your credentials, your writing credentials--previously published material--and the reputation you had developed in journalism circles.

It ain't easy to get in.

Once you're in it's fine. You can copy all the Mencken and Russell Baker you want--just don't get caught.
Basically, it's the production of proof copy--a far different thing than just plain word count.

To get a little highfalutin', your words have to be like crouching lions--otherwise it's just plain English composition.

It's taming those damn lions!


JR's Thumbprints said...

Oh, to say, "I can't write any more" and mean that I've been sitting for far too long working on a masterpiece ...



... of crap.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Ah well, if Rabelais could write so elegantly about crap, even before Columbus, and produce two masterpieces, surely we can do it.


Josie said...

See what I mean? Writers talk about writing. You guys need to write.

http://www.creativewriting.ca said...

Ah well,

We're not doing a hell of a lot right now, but bigod, we got lots of stuff in the can.

Might as well bore you with something I'm always working on.

Preamble goes:

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. William Faulkner even says the more educated the writer, the more hung-up he/she will be.

This is echoed, perhaps by some of JR's wards.

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

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


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 possess his Celia,impress her with his mystique, 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.


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.


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.

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




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 Avenue, 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--but she's got to be alone, 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?



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 her even the more.

She was pulling something out of her handbag. It looked like one of those Johnson and Johnson rubbered bands, 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 carrying . 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 witch 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.



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

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Blogger is screwring with my italics.
In the play, I am screwing with Italians.
Francis Bacon asks, "What is it about old men? They never drive the full bolt home."

Hey, I see some spam coming in about penis enlargement!


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ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

One to four inches!


The hockey boys are telling me that I have two belly buttons.

Must make amends!


Josie said...

Oh, gosh, the poor professor. He was obsessed. To be honest, Celia didn't sound worth it. Why are men always obsessed with the women who aren't worth it?

Well, I shouldn't say that. I once had someone obsessed about me. I was worth it.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

I can easily imagine someone being obsessed with a pretty number like you. Also heap smart.
My Celia was too, but, unfortunately, too far gone.

There are situations in life where you have to put your entire being up against something.
It works, but it takes a very long time and then, after years and years go by, you wonder if it was all worth it.
You sort of end up being the fool who now has to pay the piper.


http://www.creativewritng.ca said...


Maybe I should have picked a staler subject. Like marriage.

But The Old guys like Picasso and George Orwell did this so well in art and in living and writing that some of us pipsqueaks just plain give up.

Consider the first line of George Orwell's Coming Up for Air:

Marriage to the joyless Hilda was becoming a nightmare for George Bowling.

Talk about piquing reader iterest.

I pick up old Orwell and say, "Hey, this might be a stale subject, but it sure as hell ain't gonna be a dull book.

Ah well. Talking about writing again.


the walking man said...

Seeing as i see no desire to publish anymore i was talking about "english composition" I like composition that's graded by audience reaction to it.

Yep well versed in what it takes to get published...connections with connections but personally not having the connections I refuse to have my writing thrown in a slush pile and for my time and effort get a poorly copied form letter.

I like the crouching lion analogy though but if i were to post those parts then it would give too many endings away.

Yeah we talk about it but you know what we talk about it by writing about it, I guess that doesn't count right?

I woke up at the usual 4am and the thing first on my mind was Johann and Tildy and where i would pick up that story [if I pick it up] but until I decide what i am going to do with that piece i probably won't write anything new until then. either way it won't be long.



ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

The Walking Man:

Creative writing instructors are by and large kindly men and women.
The unspoken rule these days is for everybody to "play nice".

I have never played nice. This leads to rancor here and there, but I was never one to encourage mediocrity.
This is deception. Encourgage, yes--no destructive criticism, but you have to have the facility of spotting talent and then do your best in fostering it. I had two jobs once, magazine writer and college prof...I would publish my best students in the magazine. Lord, were they grateful. Would frame their pieces and put them up on the wall.
But you can't accept shit and you can't frame shit--unless the writer is a Rabelais and calls the whole thing "Defecation" or something. I'll accept Dada, but I won't accept shit.

There is a woman on the web who can't write her way out of a wet paper bag, yet, every time she posts something, 30 comments come in saying how plain wonderful she is as a romance-fantasy writer.

I am really tempted to put up some samples. There's just no logical word order, no flow--as if she had taken all the Swords and Sorcery novels she'd ever read and jotted down lines out-of-the-blue to confuse the poor reader.
...Maybe it's my hatred for Doris Lessing; I don't know.

I don't know what to recommend; I'm not sure if any recommendation is needed.
The trick is, I think, powerfuly felt emotions placed on the printed page with clarity, elegance and tact.

The buzzword, I think is "printed page."

Gotta cut your teeth, old fella. Cut them on anything, even a letter to the editor. Otherwise it's sort of a protracted jerking off.
All this, of course is immediately countered by some unreadable novel like The English Patient.
Jaysus. The guy must have had money.

"Impenetrability," said Humpty-Dumpty.
"Each word has got to fit, and no other will do.
"And then in the evening they all line up, for as to get their pay."

In a word, write good, write tight...Then look it over with a fishy eye, as if you were someone else.
Or show it to someone else--not a sycophant, but a pro. Your brother?


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My black room mate had a whang the size of the CN Tower.
For this, I envied him.
Ah, men and their hang-ups.

I always counter, with "It's not the size of the weapon, but the speed and fury of the attack." This is wearing thin. :)


JM said...


One night, burned out and bleary, I leaned over on my stool to retrieve a dropped cigarette and plunged face-first onto the floor at the Grey Goat. The noise was thunderous. Patrons paused, glasses poised mid-drink, and asked in a chorus if I was all right. Got up, finished my pint and staggered home -- I mean, really staggered, cartoon-like, a dead-drunk Andy Cap tentatively negotiating the street from curb to curb -- then slept until 10 a.m., long after I was supposed to be in the newsroom. I showed up with a clattering five-alarm hangover and scuff marks on my forehead, but managed to blend in; no one noticed, I guess, because they'd all been there themselves.
Sitting here now in a newsroom miles and years away I can't help but feel nostalgic.
And damn thirsty.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Wonderful squib.

I thought I was losing my credentials. :)


ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

If we could only all write like JM.
Talk about an object lesson!


EA Monroe said...

I love reading JM's comments. Ivan, it's been a busy time over here and lots of stuff to learn. What fun, only I had to work. ;b There was something I was going to add, but it fluttered right out of my head! I'll think of it later.

EA Monroe said...

PS, Ivan. I remember. It was a comment Laurel K Hamilton (successful vampire/fairy author) said about something her editor/publisher told her -- writers are like light bulbs. When one burns out you can always go out and buy another one. Jeez. I always hated hearing "a dime a dozen."

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

You triggered something here.

When I was 34, word was out that "Ivan can't get it up any more."
To the last guy who said this to me, I plopped a novel and five magazine articles into his trenchcoat pocket.
"Hate to belittle you, but take that!"

But on balance, Lord, have I suffered fromt he Peter Principle!
Reached my level of incompetence far too often.
...But the next day you get up and seem born again.


benjibopper said...

funny, the only drug that seems to help my writing is caffeine. alcohol is useless, don't get me started on the others. burnout hits everyone in every occupation at some point i guess, and i believe writer's block is just another word for burnout. i worked full-time as a journalist in africa for five months and i came home ready to keep writing. unfortunately, canadian papers don't seem particularly interested in stories about west africa unless there is serious bloodshed involved. nothing causes burnout/block faster than rejection.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


I guess Margaret Laurence beat us to the great African novel while we were all busy being born. But that was Somalia. I'd certainly love to have gone to West Senegal where all the great rock bands get their music.
Burnout is a funny thing.

After a bout of it, I took up teaching and my students couldn't believe that I had burned myself out writing for a provincial magazine. "What's to get burned out about? Writing about swimming pools, patios, the fast rubber of bridge?"
What they didn't know is that I was writing for my life, producing, I hoped a local literature and taking my students with me.
In a word, I was, along with others, writing a long novel disguised as a series of columns.

Kind of Central Ontario Hunter S., if a commparison could be made at all.
The incredible thing was that I was getting away with it for large bucks.

Yeah, rejection can bring you down.
It is, I think a form of evil. The evil comes down in threes.

First the rejection, then your son's impending divorce and then trouble at the bank. Corollary: Your bathtub overflows and really pisses off your Chinese neighbour downstairs.
...Or maybe he has played with the plumbing and wants your apartment for his grandmother.
Poppy family: Evil grows.
Especially worriesome when not too log ago, you had the publishers, the grant people and the critics all on your side--and you somehow dropped the ball...At about the same time your girlfriend says,
"You've just lost me too, butterfingers." Rejection in the middle of success can really bring you down.
Maudlin, no?

Dues, dues, still paying dues.

Says Dr. Thompson, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
Well, I been pro for a long time.

Sudden monkeywrench in the works.

Sh*t, here we go again with the outlines, the three novel chapters, the envelopes, the stamps.
"Thar she blows," yells Captain Ahab.

Says the gay whale hunter in an old Jonathan Winters routine,
"Spend all day looking for that silly fish!"

the walking man said...

I have cut my teeth, albeit baby teeth, a couple of letters to the editor, a few poems published in obscure journals and the self published anthology(written with another poet from Detroit half my age, different race and different outlook on the city) that went from California to Sweden, a hundred twenty five copies sold.
(Black White and Blue in Detroit

I know with certainty that I can hang three sentences together and have them make sense, write a novelette, write haiku (17 syllable haiku,) shorts, short stories and full length novels.

I can read to a live audience and entertain and if I felt like it I could publish more now that I have some publishing credits but call me a slacker or a wastrel or a rank amature, I just have no desire to go through the mechanization of doing it again.

When I write it is not, nor has never been, for a professor and when I was in a class my commentary on the work of others was honest, brutally so in some cases and I expected no less from others. No play nice rules for me, just play hard.

For the past couple of years I had been coaching aspiring performance poets, that worked as well, when the scores came out I never had one of my competitors rank less than third in any given slam, now that has fallen away, they moved on and up. That was good as well.

I write for anyone who cares to read it and when I feel like it I archive it and go on to whatever comes up next. If the only way I can be called a poet or an author is to be published then call me a poseur. Just don't call me a journalist, that would be offensive.lol.



JR's Thumbprints said...

Can you please get me a roll of toilet paper out of the hallway closet please? If not, I might be stuck here for awhile.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Yeah, journalists.

At one time I was journalist-turned politician. I ran against the mayor, whose favourite sentiment was "all journalists
s*ck d*cks."

In the middle of the campain, I quoted him and he sued me.

Laird, ain't I a lucky bugger?

(Press L for loser) :)


ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


Judging from the number of recent comments, the feeling is not altogether uncanny. :)


ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

If you're still out there, E.A. Monroe, I have taken the liberty of republishing your wonderful
reminiscences of childhood, the SUMMER DOLDRUMS piece.
I am still technically very much the Luddite, but I did the best I could while on a diet of cigarettes and beer (occupational hazards again).

Congratulations on making Island Grove Press again. Island Grove Press has a loosey-goosey appearance, but it probably the toughest market in town.
You now join the other Quarks in having stuff published through my renegade company.


Way to go.


Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Quarks...hmmmm.... Ivan.. please sit down and play me a some music. After reading all these comments I feel like I have read a comedy and I am getting a little dizzy. You guys make an outsider wish they lived by each one of you. Its like the circle of friends movie but with maturity and humor.. oh and withut the cheating part....smiles

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

please forgive my typo's... see you fluster me....smiles.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


You have a way of getting right to where I live.

Welcome, again to our community.


ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

p.s. to "inside",

We could make you an honourary Quark.