Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Canadian Woman!

It is the last quarter of the full moon, but the son-of-a-bitch is still banging the side of my head in the wee hours and only a good stiff shot of malt liquor that brings one to any semblance of ones own self--whatever that may be.

I had intended to do a blog comparing the Canadian woman to her American counterpart, but real writing is hard in coming, so I'll cheat a bit, imitate the great Borges a bit and pretend the blog has already been written and I'll just make reference to it.

A Canadian woman:

She is tall, poised, somehow Victorian at her full age of 29 and she can make labyrinthine objects out of wire, nails and string. Quetzalcoatl Mexican snakes, medieval knights, batiks. She would have liked to have struck out as a serious artist, yet she never did. Secretly, when in her cups and not in possession of her usual presence, her good humour, she had admitted to our friends that she hates her life and her plodding statistician husband and she is going to a psychiatrist. Like many a Toronto area woman, she is nervous, high strung, high on the Darwin scale, but temperamental as a thoroughbred. She is allergic to any number of things. She is sometimes given to fits of compulsive scratching when she's sure people aren't watching and her whole makeup, when her poise is down is that of a tall, lovely woman, the envy of anybody on the block, who is violently uncomfortable inside her own skin.

The young Canadian woman as neurotic?
God help us.

But it is more likely that the writer is turning into a stone whacko.

All the noises we make when we have not done our research, have not produced the actual work, and then try to make Borgesian noises to make up for our hurry to get something into print.
I think we shall now back up and do the actual work.



Josie said...

Why do all women have to be tall and young?

the walking man said...

"All the noises we make when we have not done our research, have not produced the actual work, and then try to make Borgesian noises to make up for our hurry to get something into print."

How can you research anything but a demographic on a certain class of people? And what good would statistics be when writing of poise and secret hates and loves, fears and regrets.

Although I don't know any TO women other than a slam poet or two I met along the way and their public persona was just confident that they could perform.

Josie, if I was writing for homes and gardens my female character wouldn't be young or tall. As a matter of fact on reflection of all I have written the strongest female characters were either older or very young like say 10 years old.

Besides it is the writers choice no? Characters are how they develop; their physical characteristic has to match the setting.

Josie said...

Mark, there are plenty of women who are not young and tall, and who do not reside in the world of Homes and Gardens. A certain petite blonde, for instance. :-)

Could that be the reason why so many men's relationships crash and burn? Young and tall is a fantasy. What a world this would be if the only desirable men were young and tall. Tall is good, but most women (even the young, tall ones) prefer older men, at least 40+.

Ah, east is east and west is west and never the twain....


ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Josie and Mark,

Well, we've now got a thread going, havent we.
Any more thoughts?
Come on in. The more the merrier.


Anonymous said...

Belinda Stronach asked me to pass this on. Please see.

Tom Pearson

Note: forwarded message attached.

From: "Karen Addison" Karen@Belinda.ca
Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2007 08:52:02 -0400
To: karen@belinda.ca.
Subject: FW: BELINDA ASKED THAT WE PASS THIS ON. Have a look at Erin's bid to be part of the Olympic Torch relay.Take a minute to Vote for Erin

Hello friends and colleagues.

Many of you will remember the tragic murder of York Regional Police
Constable Robert Plunkett this past summer. His niece, Erin Roy, is
seeking to honor Rob's legacy with a once in a lifetime opportunity,
that is explained in her email below. Please vote, and please share
this with your network of friends and associates to help Erin fulfill
her dream. Deadline is midnight October 31.




From: Erin Roy [mailto:maitlandsmom@hotmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2007 10:45 PM
Subject: FW: Please help me carry the torch in the 2007 Beijing Olympics

Hi Everyone;
I am excited to announce that I recently submitted a short essay
to a contest sponsored by Lenovo (a Chinese computer company that
recently purchased the IBM line of PC's). They have chosen my essay as
one of the 20 finalists from 11 countries to compete in Phase II of the
contest. The Grand Prize winners will get the opportunity to carry the
Olympic torch over one of the legs of the 2008 Olympic Torch Relay
across China.

To win Phase II I have submitted a 30-second video to the

website to be judged by the general public. The three winners that
will be chosen will be the ones with the highest number of votes. The
voting runs until October 24, 2007.

Please take a minute to go to the website and cast your vote.

If chosen to win I would like to dedicate my relay run to my
uncle Robert Plunkett. Constable Robert Plunkett, an Ontario Officer
with York Region Police Services, was a leader in both the community and
to the Special Olympics organization. Constable Plunkett was involved
with the Law Enforcement Torch Run for over 15 years and the 1997 World
Winter Games. Through his long standing support of the organization he
also served as the Chairman for the 2000 Special Olympics Ontario
Provincial Games. Through his leadership over $1 million was raised for
the Special Olympic Games. In addition, as a result of his devotion and
support the Law Enforcement Torch Run has grown significantly in Ontario
raising funds and awareness for athletes with an intellectual

My uncle Rob was killed in the line of duty on August 2, 2007,
while making an arrest in conjunction with an automobile air-bag theft.
Rob is an inspiration to myself, my family and the community. I would
like to honour his legacy with this once in a lifetime chance to carry
the Olympic torch.

If you are compelled, please don't hesitate to forward this
e-mail to anyone you know. I will need all of the support I can get
(literally around the world!) to win.

Thank you in advance for helping me realize this dream,

Erin Roy

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Editor's note re last comment.

Belinda Stronach is the former Liberal MPP for Newmarket-Autora.
She withdrew early this year because of breast cancer.


Crashtest Comic said...

it's my birthday, baby!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Happy MAD birthday.

You one crazy MoFo comic writer.

Shesawriter said...

Okay, now tell me about American women, Ivan. I'd love to know how you Canadian men view us. ;-)

ea monroe said...

Whew, Ivan! It's a brave man who dares take on writing about women, especially in comparison to other women.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...



I was just about to compose the "American Woman" part of this current fantasy when Scrooge came to collect and I have 24 hours to pay...Knocked me right off my game.

Then I get this comment from the comic writer guy, I hit his site and he mooned me.
Must have figured me for a "lonely guy" LOL.

As soon as I'm compos-mentis (When will that be, Ivan?) I will sally forth into the dangerous waters
(storms?) of American womanhood.
...I have only had two American girlfriends, but I feel sort of qualified in my research. The relationsips were longterm.

The Walking Man has a pretty good piece out right now in a story about a single mother.


ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


A woman has read my "FIRE IN BRADFORD" novel and said, "What a piece of trash...It's a story about a guy chasing his girlfiend all over the Province (State)".

So much for writing a book with a witchy heroine in it.

However, men seem to like the story. Theatre director digs it...Thank God.
,,,I have had so many rejections from women editors.
Now if I can write from a woman's point of view...Hm. Difficult to achieve. May take radical surgery and voice change.

...Then I'll be hit on again by the Comic Writer guy.

There ain't no justices, I tell you. :)

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Please continue. This is a great topic. I am fascinated by your observations of Canadian women. And even more so if you dare venturing on to comparing them with American Women. Further, it would be interesting to differentiate between Anglophone and Francaphone women cause I do believe there is a different outlook to life between them.

Do not be upset. The world is indeed filled with tall and young women......which is why petite blondes are so highly prized because they are rare and special.

Squirrel speaks with silver coated forked tongue!

H.E.Eigler said...

And the kinda tall, 29, post-partum fluffy brunettes?? Where do I fit in Prof?? Usually I don't, that's the fun part.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


I'm so glad you opened the subject of French Canadian women.
They are, strangely, so like American women.They are very giving and make a man feel special.

American women, after Betty Friedan and all the feminists--making a man feel special? Yes.
Strangely so. Maybe it's because both Quebec and America were once occupied. There is this sense of a garrison and we'd better get it on before the gunboats start shelling us.
And yes, LGS pint-sised blondes are highly prized.
Oh what a chipper observation.
They are cute, tend to be theatrical and they are devastating.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


You are the exception to my somewhat gloomy picture of the neurotic, slightly narcissistic Toronto blonde.
Western women, especially brunettes
give you the sense that you'd known them forever, even from childhood.
And very smart. Great partners for an Ontario guy with two left feet.Most Ontario guys are so awkward.

the walking man said...

Josie, again when I write a long piece I usually have a very strong female character, I rarely give a physical description and only sometimes an age when it is germane to the background context. I find that when trying to get people to relate to the character it is best to allow them to picture them as they will, leaving it up to the reader.

For example the novel I had up last month had Mamma Pound an educated black woman who appears in 1950's Atlanta and as it turns out she was 90 yrs old when she first appeared in the first chapter. that was an intentional archetype. and in the final chapter when it comes about that Stan found the love of his life still there was no physical description of the woman but rather her shyness at the encounter that matched his own.

I don't really consider physical attributes when writing because most of what I write is not about the physical, even though it happens in a physical realm.

Even when I write about sex it is about the act not the size of anyone or anything involved.

Personally before Joann and I got together (5'7") it would be safe to say I dated more women less than 5'3" but that is my life not my writing.

Mostly I don't care about whether a woman is statuesque or short as long as she fits the scene, the little piece I have up right now, 4:11, you know nothing of the single mother's physical appearance other than she sleeps in panties and an over sized T shirt, the size of the woman is left to the imagination or the fantasy of the reader. She could be tall or short, heavy or thin, a raving beauty or a snaggle toothed woman, whatever one wants to imagine is ok.

I could add word count by giving a detailed a description but then I feel it would detract from taking the reader into the story. That's just the style I have developed.

And in fiction I sure could make the woman of a homes and garden piece statuesque and beautiful, tender and lovable for her calm demeanor and patient wit as she loves to grow her azaleas and lilacs, married to a brutish man of low character or high morals, just depends on what the story itself called for.

If you want, and I decide to continue the 4:11 piece, as JR is mocking me to do, then I'll spend some time describing the woman with no name yet and make her 5'1" and blond, of average looks but a good work ethic because it would neither add nor detract from the story other than force me to put a picture of her in the readers mind when in those types of details I prefer to make the reader find them within themselves.



benjibopper said...

i'd say that's a pretty good description of the toronto-based canadian women. they're much different out this way. actually that might be a big-city-urbanite canadian woman description.

benjibopper said...

This is for Josie:

Video Lyrics (India Arie)

Sometimes I shave my legs and sometimes I don't
Sometimes I comb my hair and sometimes I won't
Depend on how the wind blows I might even paint my toes
It really just depends on whatever feels good in my soul

I'm not the average girl from your video
and I ain't built like a supermodel
But, I Learned to love myself unconditionally
Because I am a queen
I'm not the average girl from your video
My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes
No matter what I'm wearing I will always be India Arie

When I look in the mirror the only one there is me
Every freckle on my face is where it's supposed to be
And I know our creator didn't make no mistakes on me
My feet, my thighs, my lips, my eyes I'm lovin' what I see

I'm not the average girl from your video
and I ain't built like a supermodel
But, I Learned to love myself unconditionally
Because I am a queen
I'm not the average girl from your video
My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes
No matter what I'm wearing I will always be India Arie

Am I less of a lady If I don't wear pantyhose?
My mama said a lady ain't what she wears but, what she knows
But, I've drawn a conclusion, it's all an illusion confusion's the name of the game
A misconception, a vast deception
Something's gotta change
Don't be offended this is all my opinion
ain't nothing that I'm sayin law
This is a true confession of a life learned lesson I was sent here to share with y'all
So get in where you fit in go on and shine
Free your mind, now's the time
Put your salt on the shelf
Go on and love yourself
'Cause everything's gonna be all right

I'm not the average girl from your video
and I ain't built like a supermodel
But, I Learned to love myself unconditionally
Because I am a queen
I'm not the average girl from your video
My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes
No matter what I'm wearing I will always be India Arie

Keep your fancy drinks and your expensive minks
I don't need that to have a good time
Keep your expensive car and your Caviar
All I need is my guitar
Keep your krystyle and your pistol
I'd rather have a pretty piece of Crystal
Don't need your sillicone, I prefer my own
What God gave me is just fine

I'm not the average girl from your video
and I ain't built like a supermodel
But, I Learned to love myself unconditionally
Because I am a queen
I'm not the average girl from your video
My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes
No matter what I'm wearing I will always be India Arie

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


I think it's all in the magic of rthe words and how they jog our associations and memories.

Josie reports in her blog that she is on a mini-vacation and won't be around for a day or two.

ivan@cretivewriting.ca said...


Nice poem.

I am sure Josie, when she gets back, will give a pretty good answer.

Myself, steeped in cheap liquor these days, I only have this old country song running throuh my mind--talk about losing one's brains!

"You got your big automobile
With a chauffeur at the wheel.
But you cain't
No you cain't
Have my love. :)

Josie said...

Good morning, everyone. Well a petite blonde won the Giller Prize for her book "Late Nights On Air" last night.

If the American folks don't know what the Giller Prize is, it's quite prestigious and worth $50,000CDN.

Let's hear it for the petite blondes!


benjibopper said...

Thought this might be fun for you given your recent beefs with Canadian publishing:

Drop the F Bomb on the Publisher:

new website focusing on the dismal state of today's supposedly important literature and the industry that propagates it." Submit essays, thoughts, and other reflections in the body of an email message to throwthefbomb@aol.com.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

~Spitting out sour grapes~

Yeah, but she's formerly CBC and their best dramas seem to focus on incest.

That's not taking away from Ms. Hay's achievement. Giller has its own standards, and they are high.

...Come to think of it, the CBC logo looks like a whole bunch of grapes.

To the tune of an old Frankie Lane song,

Night and day you torture me.

And the spoof,

"There goes my left ball
Into your high ball."

(I'm into at least two deadly sins here) :)

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...



"How I stopped worrying and...

TomCat said...

It that's the Canadian woman, what is the American like?

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


As an offhand response,
Not quite as combative as Hillary.
More like giving.

(I once met a stripper named Ineda Mann).

Josie said...

The average woman in North America is 5ft. 4in. tall and weights between 130 and 140 lbs. (That, by the way, was Marilyn Monroe's height and weight).

The average woman in North America does not have an air brushed navel. She wears a size 34C bra, has a 26 inch waist and 36 inch hips. This is the way God and nature made her, and every day she looks in the mirror and thinks she is deficient because she doesn't look like Gisele Bundchen, Tyra Banks or Cindy Crawford, all of whom are mutants.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


You mean the supermodels and Victoria Bekhams of this world are just a collection of body parts?

I once had a lady friend whom I couldn't service too enthusiastically because she had had "work done".
Felt like a gypsy. Delicate lover.

JR's Thumbprints said...

Hmmm .... should I talk about my wife?

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


Where angels fear to tread.

Shesawriter said...

Okay, dear heart. I'll be waiting to read it with baited breath. ;-)

Josie said...

What kind of "work"?

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

The old military background slipping through: Breastworks.

From an old Jimmie Rogers song:
"Get off, get off,you railroad bum
And (she) closed the boxcar door."

A l60 pound Ukie perched atop a woman who is convalescing after breast work can be a painful thing to behold. Or even imagine.

TMI? :)

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


I'm so screwed in the head with dunning phone calls and imminent bankruptcy that creative work is really a challenge. You have to be fairly relaxed to write.
Hard to create with electrodes taped onto your foo-foo valve.
Shades of Abu Graib!
Scrooge has me by my lights.

There was a time when an American woman had me by the lights.
"Had daddy real good."

You have to suffer to produce something?
Hm. Hope it works.

American Woman essay coming soon, I hope.

Josie said...

Waaaaaayyyy TMI.


But I can just visualize it.

What's wrong with a 34C anyway?

Pamela Anderson looks deformed, and unnatural. That can't be sexy!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Obscene and not heard?

Some men like that.