The meaning of your life, your novel, the sudden intimation of where you live and among whom you move-- can lead to almost frightening realizations, especially when a real event brings home what you have been trying to do for the past thirty years.
It took that poor Polish man being tasered and killed at Vancouver International Aiport to finally bring home to me what in hell was the meaning of my second novel, The Hat People. (Mounties wear hats?).
In The Hat People I had a character going through a similar experience not in Vancouver, but the Canada/ U.S. border at Niagara Falls.
Egad. What a flash.
And the first thing you want to do, is to tell somebody about your experience as an Eastern European writer on the Canadian experience.
We writers are such blabbermouths, we talk too much on other people's blogs and we have no patience.
I had to tell somebody about my almost vanished surreal novel whose time may have come at last.
Whom else to tell but poor ususpecting TomCat, who had his own problems about George Bush and the brutal officialdom that is now so much part of the American experience. He had, in a recent blog, blog, a report on
Federal agents raiding the headquarters of a group that produced illegal currency and putting it in circulation. The agents seizing gold, silver and two tons of copper coins featuring Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul.
Oh what an opportunity for me.
I thought I'd put out a teaser (not taser!) on TomCat's blog.
Had to rekindle interest in my Hat People novel somehow.
So here is what I wrote in TomCat's blog:
I can't resist.
Your blog on eliminating the Federal Reserve has led me straight into the first chapter of my novel, The Hat People.
I wrote my book in 1987, little realizine that I may as well have written it today, twenty years later. The great UFO convention in Toronto recently... And the Canadian "Loony" dollar coin that you cite. (And that poor Polish guy they tasered and killed at Vancouver International Airport).
Oh what the hell.
Here are a few paragraphs of my Hat People, finally published in l996.
I thought the book was prophetic, but the critics missed it.
Here we go with a bit of Chapter One of my The Hat People.
The year was rife with signs, entire series of strange occurrences and unlucky portents, events so ominous that the superstitious in Toronto's great European community took immediate alarm and even the less skittish native Protestants began to entertain secret misgivings.
On the westward commute, on the QEW to Hamilton, a new object had appeared in the heavens, an L-shaped chunk of what appeared to be a Corinthian column, larger than the moon and out of all proportion to earthly size. Hardly anyone noticed, in the lengthening days of February that an eclipse had occurred at about the same time, appearing to have the sun setting at five-thirty p.m. instead of a quarter to six.
Only on the eleven o'clock news did our commuters learn that the fiery column, replete with its lower chunk of plinth, was an unexplained phenomenon by the local observatory and someone must have been sleeping at the switch, since the accompanying eclipse hadn't been predicted either. A satellite did pick up the torus, and all agreed, that from some angles, it did look like a hat. Torontonians shrugged and waited for other events.
Something was happening to the money. The paper banknote seemed to change colour every day, while at the Royal Canadian Mint, die makers were already tooling up to turn old American-style quarters and dimes into huge coins resembling Mexican pesos.
Three Conservative political campaigns fell as they rose, giving Bay Street a shudder, and in one Ukrainian Catholic Church, the very pillar of a conservative people, a priest went mad. In the midst of high mass, when the great onion-topped cathedral was crowded to its very doors, the Reverend Moisei Papryka, leaped to the altar, and shouting blasphemies, proceeded to lay violent hands on the Sacred Host, understood by all to be the body and blood of Christ...
Well, well well.
Hoo dat callin'.
In my book, it was a bad time to be a Ukrainian Catholic in a secular Canadian society.
For thirty years, I thought I had erred in risking everything to write my Hat People.
And that is all that I will blurt for now, for it seems I made no mistake at all.
I am glad I wrote the book.
Suffered damnably, lost hair and teeth, but wrote the book.
I sincerely hope other people are luckier in their projects.
But the book, she is writ.
And I am glad.