Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Tell me a story.

Tell me a story, my heartbreakinly beautiful granddaughter is blithely demanding.

Though only four, she could have been a happy, selfconfident woman who is just a little bored in a swell resturant. We are in a bistro.
She tugs at the peak of her little baseball cap, puts it at a fetching angle, the blonde hair streaming down from the racy hat to tumble all around her shoulders
Her top is turquoise as is the way of kids' clothes today. Her little dungarees are a wine colour. Everything on her is Kid-Zone. Her tiny shoes are Gap. She is sitting, or rathter moving around a little expectanly on her slightly creaking wicker chair
She likes you and want to hear more of you and about you.

"A story," she gesticulates with an open hand toward you, while passing the ice cream dish to her father, who has a little taste, with his own spoon to see if her dessert had been any good. She has had quite enough of the kid-coloured stuff. "Tell me a story!
"I want you to tell me a story."

"Well," I begin, "There once was a litttle prince, an alien really, but a really cool alien. He came from the asteroid Z-2007, a really tiny asteroid on which there were two volcanoes, one active, and the other inactive.
"On his asteroid too, was one flower. The flower liked to talk a lot and it had fears of being attacked. "'But I have my three thorns. I have my three thorns to defend myself with.'

The little prince would tend to the the flower every day with his watering can and then he would examine his two volcanoes, one active and the other inactive.

"But what the prince really wanted was a sheep to go with his flower. He had to acquire a sheep at once.

"The little prince did some yogic flying and came upon a man whose airplane engine had broken down and the man was frantically trying to tighen a bolt on his motor so all the oil would not pour out like it had had the last time, causing him to make an emergency landing.

"The little prince levitated over to the man.
"The man looked up from his work.

"Draw me a sheep," the little prince demanded.

"'I cannot draw you a sheep right now, said the pilot. 'I am trying to fix the engine on my airplane, or I shall be stranded on this mesa forever.'"

"Draw me a sheep!"

The man again examined the little prince from the tiny planet Z-2007, on which there were two volcanoes, one active and the other inactive and the flower who kept insisting she had three thorns to defend herself with should the little prince bring a sheep.

This is getting a little too detailed for the granddaughter . She takes off her hat. There is a barette in her hair to keep the lovely long locks from her face, which is round. She has a nice high forehead like all Ontario girls seem to possess. She shakes her hair. I am losing her attention.

I go on.

"The little prince said to the stranded pilot, "Draw me a sheep. Not just an ordinary sheep, but a really nice sheep!"

There is now not much progress with the engine repair.

The little prince has produced for the pilot something like a piece of white parchment, on which the pilot draws a really spunky sheep, a sheep with attitude.

"What's attitude?" my little granddaughter wants to know.
"Well, it's not altitude," I say. The pilot can't get off the ground.
"What's altitude?" She give the six-year-old brother a little slap on the shoulder. "What's altitude?"
The brother, who is darker in colouring, says "Altitude is high. He had been listening to the story.
"Is the little prince's planet bigger than one of the moons of Mars?"

"Smaller," I say. Even smaller than Phobos."

"I know Phobos," Dylan pipes up.
"Gee, It must have been a really tiny planet."

Ah, it is too late now. Aislinn is toying with a soda straw.

"Tell me another story."

"You didn't like that one? I was jut getting to the part where the little prince finally gets his sheep and the flower is in a panic.
"Ah, but she had her three claws to defend herself with," Dylan pipes up.

Dylan wants to hear the rest of the story, but Aislinn picks up her hat and playfully throws it at me.
I toss it back.
She is amazingly adept. Catches it right away.

"Let's go to the playground."

We walk to the playground where there are machines to dig dinosaur bones up with.

Dylan wants to hear more about the planet, the one with one active volcano and the other inactive.

I am trying to finish the story while we locate Albertosaurus bones.

Aislinn is having some trouble working the little front-end loader that digs up the bones in the sand.

I help her. Left hand and up is to scoop. Right hand and up is to shake the sand up.

The park by the river is full of sunlight. The river is bathed in green.

Does it really matter if I finish my story or not?

We work the little front-end loader.

"This place is just full of dinosaurs," Aislinn says.



Josie said...

Ivan, that's a lovely story. Sometimes not all stories have an ending, do they? They just have a beautiful middle.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Thanks Josie.

It kind of came like that.

EA Monroe said...

I liked that, Ivan. "The place is full of dinosaurs." I bet your little granddaughter is going to be a storyteller! Like her Grandpa is.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...


What a lovely story. it shows the deeper side of you, the endearing side you seem to keep hidden. How nice to see it.

'cradle me won't you, join with me and find such peace, if only for moments look into this nights sky and feel ... exact seconds, synchronized heartbeats, a world of conversation spoken in silence.

dream, close your eyes and weep, fall back, slip into the black ink laying still on the clean white paper waiting to feel you

adjust your position, slide right behind me .... spooning position, now rest.. breathe in deep and let everything drift away...


ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Thanks Liz.

I am still trying to figure out, for Pam, a story about a voyage and the meeting with the Quarks, though I think somebody else on her network is doing it.
Script writing today is so technical! I am lost.

Aw well, I met the Quarks.


ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


Well, it doesn't get any better than that.

Sienna said...

Great story...it's so funny with it's imagery ...I would have loved to hear how it unravelled!

The mystical and magical Quarks mysteriously appear out of the fog and mist on their beautiful big ship *The Dreamcatcher* (thanx Brian Keith)...the goodies had set sail off to pursue the baddies and had got lost/disorientated the first night at sea...squalls and misty fog (don't mind that it's the Great Barrier Reef :) )

The Quarks also bring with them fine and beautiful weather, smooth sailing..Blind (but clothed) Pegasus FBTAOHP's (flys by the arse of his pants) but rarely gets lost...

I've got it all down on paper, writing and adding and altering...months ago I locked myself out of works/word need the disc to reprogram

Should we use your names? or would you like mythical names?

The original storyline was basically complete...but the Quarks are being put into the storyline, they are fantastic and so funny...I've kind of just absorbed the conversations and mannerisms and speak and am applying that...it was exactly what I was thinking we needed, it was good before but it has *it-the magic* now...magic and humor you can't go wrong..I told Sharon, the co writer inventor of the film, she is busy with her work obligations and said she loves the idea of the Quarks, said go for it, so I'm able to alter and change as need be...Sharon is very structured, very correct and formulated, which is very necessary, and I am constantly dreaming and changing and hairbraining...it's gotta be fun or kids aren't interested, the characters are the key, the storyline is a little like a dime a dozen but the characters and their quirks and humor....so important...I seem to have based the characters on animals and people I know, bring to life on screen the Montys the foal, the dogs....it's all there to tap into and create and alter...the Quarks have reflected real life events here, sailing into my world....you guys are a huge part of this.

I emailed Sharon to email me her copy (of the electronic) script, but I still need my new works suite program-reprogrammed to open that duh Pam!!

It doesn't matter at the minute, I kinda have themes and plots and characters all linking and storylines coming from this, doing little sections and then linking up sections into the big script..

It is so funny...at the minute when I get a chance I'm looking at the animators around, what we liked 6 months ago we see different ones now...and there is a specialist film (animators company) in Canada my friend Bella Ballerina uses and recc'ds

So much happening...it's like you guys just only need to be yourselves, eg Donnetta looking herself out of her cabin....Josie I think will be falling overboard (I love u mate!!! but sometimes your luck is good copy)...Ivan!! blind (but clothed) pegasus with snoopy goggles...and a Ukranian/Canadian speak...how u talk...u are all such a part of this and have basically just written yourselves in by being yourselves..

Pam has written some more music, we have some lyrics we have got for some of it....plus using other music-fun music, you will love some of the Aussie songs we have adapted...the Quarks will have some of their select music too, taking requests, if u have preference...I have twice as much music to call upon, in case some of the musicians dont give us permission, we will have more up our sleeve...we kinda don't put in the whole entire songs...it gets too much, more a kinda verse or two..

You know we will haul you back on ship Josie, you wont stay in the water...I think you might be a swan that can't swim...

its so funny.


ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

I don't know, Pam.

In l985 I was contacted by a local newspaper about the earthquake in Mexico City at the time; I am a former resident of Mexico City.

Well, they asked me to write a story about it. I tried the journalistic way, author knowing everyting, all the facts about the earthquake punched in--I tried to know everything-- but it did not work.

I decided to approach the story obliquely, me looking for a friend named Ruben Myer, Latin-American head of Burroughs Adding Machine Company in Mexico City-- and hoping he was all right...
This way worked better. I had a story.
Without having to actually go to Mexico City again and look for Ruben among the damaged buildings and skyscrapers, I reminsiced instead about my friendship with Ruben and the story ended with me hoping that he was all with the devastation of Mexico City all around, its considerable skyscrapers, its Barrio slums and the eight million people that make up Mexico City.
So instead of actually searching though all the rubble and devastation, instead of looking for Ruben as if the man were a needle in a haystack--my story rested purely on the hope that he was alive and all right.
I think you may be getting swamped by a lot of detail.
Does this help at all?


eric1313 said...

You're not a dinosaur, Ivan. Not by a long shot.

You're a teller of stories.

You had two volcanoes to watch, and who both listened, one active and the other inactive. Your story had the power to make them switch places. The grand daughter found the details too much, but those same layered details woke up the interest of your grandson.

He obviously digs dinosaurs! Actually, they both do. Maybe you are a bit of a dinosaur--just don't let yourself become a fossil!

ivan@cretivewritign,ca said...


It's a good thing we get our stories down on the page or screen before the critical faculties set in.
I wan't fully conizant of what I was doing...just lettin' her rip.

It's amazing how many critical junctures are passed, and how easily transitions can be made when you just sort of sing it out.

I think your for the insight into my "story" and the hope that I don't go from byte to trilobite. :)


ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


eighth line should read I thank you and not I think you.

I think I have become the blind Zeppelin pilot in Pam's assortment of Quarks for her movie.

eric1313 said...

No problem, I van. I could tell you probably didn't write it with all that in mind, it just worked that way to an outside observer.

As I've told people on my blog "let her rip and try to finish your story in one sitting. As long as you draw in a few somewhat related threads by the end of your story, they will work themselves out as long as you stay in the same frame of mind. And later, people will mistake you for being a genius, like they do me."

I was just observing.

Now, to really turn this into a genius work of art, talk a little at the beginning of this about how seeing the kids makes you feel old, and that makes you question what you have done with your life so far, wondering if being a newsman/novelist has paid off.

That will certainly echo back when they begin reading the parts about dinosaur bones at the end of it.

or not. Just a thought. I was trained well, huh?

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


Though I agree that your suggestion of "feeling old" when seeing the grandkids would be a logical way to start, printed short stories are executed in a certain way, which includes your voice, style and--this is important--white space.
I do enought bellyaching about these matters in my regular blogging, i.e, I took a calculated risk, failed and now all this karma is coming down.
Fact is, I have not produced a really professional short story here. It is a fragment, I know it,
but if I can elicit an aha! from readers, I have come more than halfway.
You know that bit about the critic and the sexual adept. The critic knows how it's done...Heh.


eric1313 said...

Right. I was just suggesting. It really isn't far from a short-short. You have your own style like I have mine, so I should stick mine to mine. I wish I could come up with stories so easily. You write better fragments that I've seen stories that were published.

It's cool. Glad you didn't tell me to get fucked by a cactus or something!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Thanks, Eric.

How much energy we spend on this blogging thing.
If I'm going to be good for anything in the morning, I'd better get some shut-eye.

...Betcha Tara's peeping about.

I mentioned on her blog that you had an award to pass on to her.

eric1313 said...

Thanks, Ivan.

Hope she gets the note. She writes beautiful work, and just produced another over at Emotional Being. She's got a magic eye for her art.

Good night! Rest up and talk to you later.

the walking man said...

This reached into the darkest space within me and squeezed me hard enugh to make me short on breath, I too have a granddaughter but I don't know her,she'll be eight this year and that's how may times I have seen her maybe the longest was an hour or so.

In that dark place where you reached and squeezed me so hard it came back to me why I write so much, For her; so she will know me and what I was like when I am nothing but but dust.

Peace is somewhere


ivan@creativewiting..ca said...

Have peace, Mark.

And a good night all.

eric1313 said...

Good morning and afternonn to everyone concerned. I'll be going back by Detroit today, and Tara gave me a great idea: to print out my current poem and drop copies of it around the the city.

I think that sounds like a fine idea. And one of the places will be the Metro Times office. It would be nice to have something published again, and this one is certainly as worthy or more so than any I have ever written.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Break a leg out there.

And if you don't distribute enough copies
you can always put it in this space.

Shesawriter said...

Let the story end where you left it. Stuff doesn't always have to be tied with a neat little bow.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Thanks, Tanya.
For reading.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Evening everyone... hello Ivan. Loved the song by Ms. Myles.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Hello Tara,

"A soothing touch in the afternoon"
pretty well explained my feeling of emptiness and loss of love when I ran away from
{to?) somebody once.
Drove all the way to Mexico with that song in my head.
And when I found the one with the soothing touch, I told her she didn't do it right.
F*cking jaded.
Sick of love.
Should have joined a colony of autistic teenagers.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

why would you run from love? It can hurt, but the rewards of it are so worth it.

What did she do wrong? If I may ask.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Years later, it approches the humorous.
And as I drink more and more beer, I approach the garrulous.
And she reads this blog so for me, I've got to remember that loose lips sink ships.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Loose lips eh? The ships can only be sunk if there are feeling still swimming in the sea. Are there?

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

At the risks of introducing an oxymoron, there is a firehose in the sea.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Okay, so now what? Do you walk away? Do you find another? Different times Ivan, but there is nothing worse than evading the truth. if you care, if you love just say it.... for there will come a time when it will all pass and love will find a space to dwell in and die. Even the beauty love ages, and falls away when ignored long enough.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Like in a dimly remembered song I once heard in Chicago..."I know that you love me baby, but you don't know how to show it"?
Some old black guy was doing it by the river. Very fast on guitar.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

So you do not know how to tell her? Why not just say the words? They are the hardest and yet, the easiest words a mouth can utter.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

or am I getting this wrong and she doesn't know how to love you?

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Joni Mitchell:

"And if you care, don't let them know
"Don't give yourself away..."


Tara, something just came up.
Gotta leave for a bit.
...Eric's probably done delivering his evening poems and might be having a boo.

HeiressChild said...

hi ivan, i've tagged you on my blog. it's a different kind, and i hope you play along.

TomCat said...

Nice job, Ivan. If he had wanted a sheep, all he had to do was to turn on Fox News and see who watched. ;-)

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


That's brilliant.

And--dare one say it--political? :)

ivan@creativewrirting.ca said...


I am an old hot-lead linotype newspaperman really quite new to technology.
I hesitate a bit on entering the programme you suggest.
The Thinker Award, unfortunatelly, comes more often than not, accompaned by spam. I might pick up more spam if I try this.

I might gum up my computer and with my techie temporarily away, I may well end up with hot lead all over again, so used am I to the typrewriter.
I will try this, and thank you for asking me to play the game--in your blog--but this will take some time.
Hey, are you from Australia too?...I have to read more carefully.
Ah well, maybe Pam, another correspondent to this blog and herself Australian, can guide me part of the way; she's a gifted photographer.


HeiressChild said...

hi ivan, no, i'm from maryland here in the states. i can assure you there's no spam involved. it's just clicking on the button "PrtScn" on your keyboard, then opening "paint" under "accessories" on the start menu, then "paste" what will be a pic of your desktop. i understand what you're saying though, and i appreciate you responding back to me. since i hadn't seen anything from you on my blog, i thought i'd come back here to see if you replied. thanks again ivan. much appreciated. enjoy your weekend.

TomCat said...

Political? Moi?!!? Never!! ;-)

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Will do, heressChild.

Get to it right after Canadian Thanksgiving.
Looks like a fun thing.


ivan@creatiewriting.ca said...


We're all a little Bushed, to introduce a clanging phrase. :)