Monday, August 13, 2007

Grist for one's own mill

Pity the poor blogger.

We start off so well.

The lucky cyberworld is going to see how bright we are, how talented, how creative.

So we set off on our virgin blog, using just about anything we can, stealing from the best of the others, , hoping we won't get caught--and if we do, so what? It'll result in comments at least.

Ah those superiorities we present, our keen political insight, our best poetry, our way with words.

So up goes the blog, ttiled, perhaps, NOTHIN' LIKE A COOL BREEZE to almost a drumroll.

This is gonna knock 'em dead. You know your literature, you know your music, you know your current events.
And, of course, your teachers have always assured you you were brilliant....But that was way back in grade school, while you were still cute..

A week goes by.

Your post is up, but there is no comment.

Another week: Hm. Must be something wrong with my comment space. Word verification? Are people being kicked off my comments site by that infernal "You may use HTML tags such as..."?

A month.

No comments.

Hm.

So you put one in yourself. "Been awfully busy this past month so I havent blogged much. My apologies."

Two months.
Well, some spam came in and that's something.

Finally, some matron from East Jesus, Saskatchewan feels sorry for you so you get a comment.
But she is a Jesus freak. Oh well. What a friend we have in Jesus. A comment is a comment.

Then she gets her entire quilting bee in on the action and the shut-ins and the little old ladies are commenting aplenty.

You are finally a real blog, with real commentators.


But somewhere down the line something happens.

You have run out of blog material. You have reprinted that last poem, the last short story draft, the last postcard you got from someone--you are runnning out of gas.

Things the neighbour said.
Things the pharmacist said
Afternoon TV show that got you thinking.

You are gasping for air.

Thoughts while cutting your grass.
Thoughts from the days when you were a teenager and someone was cutting your grass.

Secret thoughts of resentment over your partner, your spouse, your dog.


Trying to be funny...You can hear yourself trying to be funny, and so can they.

Sort of sitting on the toilet seat and grunting. This is funny?


Now is the time to pay for all that pumping yourself up with the holy trinity of alcohol, cigaretts, booze-- for all those times you fished in forbidden streams, Those whirligig ideas.

Torturing words, forcing them till they protest--all those malapropisms. "This is the Canadian Broadcorping Castration." (Oops!)


Running out of gas.

Downstairs, they are waiting for you.

"Supper," from the wife

From the son, "Supper Daddy."


But here you are stuck in the attic. Blank screen syndrome.

The thought of eating is like having someone poke you in the eye.

Finally, you make it downstairs.

Wifey is making nice. The kids are bright and beautiful.

But you have a mental block. You can't get past "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party."

Morose son-of-a-gun at the dinner table.

You rise from the table only to trip over the dog. "Son of a bitch!" You pick up the dog by the scruff, poor family whipping boy. The dog will have none of it. "You pick me up like that again motherf*cker, I'm going to bite you."

Threatened now by one's wife, one's children, one's dog.
My world and welcome to it.

Up the stairs again. An idea seems to snake its way past the cigarettes and the coffee.

You begin to write. "For the past ten years (after a decade of paganism) I have been..."(Oops.
The thought will not complete).


You have been at this machine too long. You need a break.

The family hears you galumping down the stairs. There are creaks.( Mental note to self: You will have to fix those risers. Somebody's going to kill herself going up those noisy, rickety bastards one day).
.
Off to the coffee shop at the end of the street.

One coffee, two.

The first inkling of a good idea. Oh the originality of it! "How to get over mental blocks."

Yep, that's it. Gotta eat the problem.

Back past the family, who are convinced you have gone mad, up three stairs at a time, up to the computer.

The outing and the exercise seems to have triggered something.

"Martha, I am a firehose of words. I can write again!"

Dead silence from downstaris. The as*hole has lost his marbles.


Yet, you are suddenly starting to write, not just words and sentences--really write.

"The cultural-philosophical attitude known as nihilism vanished just after the Russian revolution..."

It must have been the food.

Yes, it was definitely the food.

Let no active blogger or essay writer go without supper!

No food, no good.


Ivan

23 comments:

H.E.Eigler said...

It is awfully hard to find something to say on a regular basis isn't it? Well, something worth saying anyway. Guess I should go eat.

ivan@creartivewriting.ca said...

Eat in good health, Heather.

I am sure both mothr and new daughter are doing fine.


Ivan

the walking man said...

pass the ex-lax! or the prozlax or the rethefucklax, yeah ok now we're on to something her...lax where we can get a plane toparabolax.

Peace

mark

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Pull the loo chain.

Let 'er rip!

Communal relief, I say with my l6h century master, Rabelais.

Says Rabelais, the world is divided between the sh*tters and retentives.
Small wonder his book was titled
"Gargatuan".
Big one.

Ivan

Josie said...

Ivan, that's my blog you're talking about, heh, heh.

I just like f*rting around. I'm not a writer, so I don't care, just so long as the little old ladies from East Jesus, Saskatchewan don't visit me. Oh, wait, I am one of those little old ladies... Ha!

EA Monroe said...

Ivan, I posted little pieces of crap for almost a year before anyone ever left a comment -- and that was on a post about a Knights of Columbus falling on his ass for a $.

I'm getting slower and slower posting these days. I think I may take a break for awhile. And soon.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

I'd better answer this one broadly.

I spent a lot of time in Quebec.

A fondness for poetry and articles of church worship.

"With a knick-knack, Tabernac..."

Ivan

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Liz,
Isn't it embarrasing the first few weeks out?
You give it your best shot and the only response (I'd gotten) was how to enlarge my modest foo-foo from its present pedestrian size to something resembling Jack's beanstalk. Intriguing, but it wasn't a real comment. Le Spam.

Then some friend would send in a email of enouragement and you print that email as if it were a comment.
The friend sees that you are now "using" him or her and calls you a devil.
Then some kind soul like Josie comes in with real comments,she brings others, and you are on your way.

Ivan

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

wow, Ivan, you sound a tad pissed off or bored. I am not sure which. I do know I like being here.. but not shut in an attic away from everyone, just those people that cannot see past themselves.

How are you doing my favorite Ivan man?

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ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Golly!

Ivan

Josie said...

This is my shrieking with laughter.

MegaDik?

Someone must have Googled "virgin blog".

You sure get 'em, Ivan. Heh, heh.

Josie said...

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Lone Grey Squirrel said...

This post is painful to read as the truth often is! :)

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

"Inside",

Nice to hear your "voice".

I think you are empathic, as most poets are. Kinda gauged the old mood.
I am doing well, what with family anxieties, meddling landlords and all the good stuff of real life.
Isn't it nice just to write, where you have the sense of having some control over things?
My guitar sits in a corner, a twang here or there as the dryness gets to it. I am doing riffs in my head, which is not good. I am losing my callouses.
Too much intellectuality is not good. I am probably, by temperament
a squirrel...Come to think of it, Lone Grey Squirrel just commented.

Some woman just wrote in about something I wrote about her artist husband 33 years ago. They are both still smarting over it, as now the published piece is being passed from hand to hand in the Canadian arts community. They feel slighted. Egad. Sensitive!
Well, I can't do art, but I can do words and I wish those folks would stop it...I had said something again about those artists in a mini-memoir on the internet and now they are doubly mad.
I don't get it.
I thought I was doing them an honour by writing about them and they are calling me a mountebank and a fraud.
Hee. Maybe the truth hurts.
I am, in fact a pretty good rattle- shaker and flim-flam man. Comes with the territory, I suppose.
I guess they'd never met an Ivan before.
As I say, I don't get it.
I am of the same social position and placement in the arts community as they are. Maybe they're just snobs.
When you put your work up in major gallerites you are in a public position and why do you resent people writing about your art?
Comes to libel, you have to show intent, and my intetions were good, that is to say praise the artist's work...I guess he didn't like the way I praised it.
No darn wonder I gave up journalism.
Yeah, you got it right: people that cannot see past themselves.
Thanks for writing in.
You are a very intuitive female, and I like you for that.

Ivan

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

MegaDik.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
That's what an important Ontario artist called me when I wrote about his work.
Actually, he said "drivel. Irresponsible and libellous journalism."
Im sure he must have meant that I am MegaDik.

Actually, I do have sort of a loose neck.

I recall one sub-editor at a college paper, who said, "If the bastards can't take a joke, p*ss on them."
I guess the artist in question didn't like my style. I liked his!

I think we're in a Dik fight. :)

Ivan

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Josie,

I think the VIA train for Vancouver leaves at nine a.m. this morning. :)

I was once nearly fired by Seneca collge by telling my english students that men in New Guinea have appendages this long.

I felt a stir in the room.

"Ladies, ladies," I clucked.
"The boat for Port Moresby doesn't leave till Wednesday."

They must have natural MegaDik out there in the rain forest.

Ivan

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Lone Grey Squirrel,

At least we have someting in common withthe Hemingways and the Fitzgeralds.
Apparently they'd get stuck too.

When F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote to his publisher about his "writer's block", the publisher immediately said, "Write about the block!"

So out came one of Fitzgerald's most intriguing novels, "The Crack-Up."

Wow. The Big Boys of old knew how to get out of the maze.

We over here just ape them.

Ivan

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Ivan,

To heck with them. You do not need to hear from people that do not understand true writing or artistic value. I think sometimes people forget themselves and when they do come back to reality they are embarrassed to apologize so they make everything worse and blame others. Ugh, the foolishness of people.

As for your guitar, sit me down and strum a bit for me and my heart will swoon just to hear you.

You mentioned it being nice to just sit down and write, feeling like you have some control. In that, you are right, my dear sweet man. When we write we drop off the radar and fall into our own worlds. It is so nice just relate to our own minds. Sometimes the emotions and the pettiness of the "real" world just needs to go away before they contaminate.

::soft smile:: dear Ivan, you are in the hearts of many and I like you there.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

"Inside",

You got me all flustered.

It is certainly not all Greek to me.

Φ 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.

Ivan

benjibopper said...

you outdid yourself with this one. today i felt this deeply, while looking not at a blank screen but at 13 pages of speech by a ghanaian presidential candidate that i was supposed to make beautiful. the blankness was in my head. i hate that feeling, and it's strongest when people start to expect something of you.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Benji,

Have a can of salmon or a six-pack of beer--in whatever order just before you go to bed tonight.

You'll be surprised at what will happen after a few coffees in the morning. Also pick up a book on toastmastering. :)

Ivan

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