Thursday, December 20, 2007

Are writers "Dickheads"?


"All writers are dickheads," the hitchhiker was saying to me.
"They got this monomania, this obsession; they go on scribbling while the world around them seems to collapse--and they won't stop doing it. It's the words, the words, the beautiful words."

The hictchhiker's own words had a strange truth.
I myself was in the middle of a divorce, but writing a novel all the same, I had just left a workshop where they were producing models of Boeing 747's for airline displays (I was hoping to sell this business story to the Toronto Star), my head was way in the clouds, and I was somehow sleepwalking while my old life and family were collapsing all around me.
So I wasn't D.H. as in D.H. Lawrence--but another kind of D.H.
D.H. as in DickHead?

Still, I was the guy in the driver's seat and my hitchhiker had been picked up on Yonge Street, steps away from the court house. Probably a felon.
Yet, strangely, it is the outlaw and the thief who seems to have a better grasp on life than the man of letters, the dandy, the precious one, God's chosen.
I was so reminded of William . Selkirk, stranded for years and years on a desert island talking to Daniel Defoe, fancy man of letters and probably thinking to himself, "This dandy is a dickhead," while Defoe couldn't wait to get home and produce Robinson Crusoe, one of the masterpieces of modern times. Somebody's gotta write your story. Certainly your obituary.
Perhaps my latest conundrum is what set ny hitchhiker off. Could he have decided I was a dickhead when I told him that
I had a girlfriend who was trapped by a pimp in Toronto, that they were taking all her money and that I had to be some kind of white knight to get her out?
Was I inspired by the Desiderata, itself obviously an apochryphal work (added to) but the words having great weight nevertheless..."And yet everywhere the world is full of heroism."

My wife was divorcing me; I was still picking up the kids; I had gotten beautiful mistress whose other life I did not know. I was suddenly in contact with a Damon Runyon world of pimps, priests, police--and all the while I was writing the beautiful novel and trying to sell a business story to the Toronto Star.
And the hitchhiker I'd picked up was calling me a dickhead.
Well, yes, probably. Intellectual monster in a turtleneck sweater, that was me.

We had, however, both of us, forgotten theprogress of time, which is unrelenting and dicky in its own way. It has no sense of humour and you couldn't stop it. Sort of like the Iraq war.
So I dropped my hitchhiker off in Toronto, went down to the Star--and would you believe it?--sold the story.
My hitchhiker went off to the Winchester Hotel in Toronto, stinking pub, and resumed his Damon Runyon life.

The Star had given my model airplane story an enormous spread. I was soon hired to do more, but this is where the dickhead demi-god showed his ugly face. My car had broken down, my Ho mistress had stolen my typewriter, research notes and guitar to feed her drug habit, and I was suddenly reduced to a writer with no tools with another deadline looming in front of me. ...Bad enough being scared stiff over an unexpeced success (can I do it again?), but suddenly the very tools that you need for your work are gone. Dickhead! Why did you ever get involved with that woman?
So I fretted and fumed, tried to rent a typewriter, but hard to do with no money, produced something that looked like a newspaper article, longhand and sent it to a typist. The story ran, but in my despair over circumstances, I had made errors in matters of fact. No sooner had I been hired, than I was fired.

Oh no. Not again. Fired twice by the Star.
Dickhead!

Well, while you're not working, you might as well resume work on the novel. Better a busy dickhead than a crazy one.
So I went to work on my beautiful novel and found, suddenly that I had a voice and the thing went well.
I put THE END at the end of it and submitted it to a publisher.
Back came a form letter.
It may as well have read, "Dear Dickhead."

In the middle of the journey of our lives, I came to myself in a dark wood. Not for nothing do pornographers talk about a male's poor performance on the set. "The wood problem".
Intellectually, I had a "wood problem". Dickhead can't seem to get it up and the world knows it. The journalistic and literaryrary establishments certainly knew it. "He just can't get it up any more."

I went down to seedy King Street, just west of the entertainmen district and sat down at the Winchester Hotel for a beer.

And whom should I see but my little Ho drinking with the hitchhiker. Probably after pawning my belongings.


Most blows are not right-crosses, but straight from the chest, the fist out.

Call me a dickhead, you mother....ker

It is an uncomfortable fact, both in life and literare, the all problems are really solved by violence.
Time and chance had led me to this place and now the Dickhead had no choice but to stick to time's script.
.................

Nothing was resolved, it is all open-ended, but for about three days, the dickhead, who had backed out of the bar--began to feel better. Much better.

Yet still a dickhead.

##

28 comments:

Trevor Record said...

Here's to dickheads, then. I'd rather be a dickhead than a pussy or an asshole. (In the immortal words of team america: dickheads fuck pussies and assholes).

ivan said...

Yay America.
Yay Trevor.

eric1313 said...

Better a dickhead than a complete dick, better an asshole than a whole ass.

Funny thing with King street, I know a blogger who owns the Spa on King. She's actually pretty nice. As well as nice and pretty.

And as for Lawrence, I'm certain his novels were all thought out with the little head driving him to do so. Your deciphering of his true name makes a lot of sense. I bet he would have laughed.

Donnetta Lee said...

Trevor, Trevor, Trevor...

Well, I know some dickheads who AREN'T writers.

Donnetta

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

I am with Donnetta. I know some dickheads as well and most are writers, but some aren't. Course maybe they like being dickheads. Does it really matter?

Ivan, you are not a dickhead, just misunderstood. You have a sense about you that makes your readers want to come back. Not sure you realize that. But I certainly hope you do.

Tara

Josie said...

Ivan, there is an article about Malcolm Lowry in this week's edition of The New Yorker Magazine, and as I was reading about him, I was thinking, "Who (whom?) does he remind me of...?"

Hmmmm...

Hmmmm...

Hmmmm...

You...!!! He reminds me of you...!!!

ivan said...

Hi Eric,
King Street Westis a sometimes dangerous, but nevetheless happening place.The entertainment district Queen Street West, a couple of blocks north can be a latter day Haight-Ashbury. That's where the cool boutiques, little rock and blues bars and poetry reading places are.Also the dance clubs. Queen Street West is also the home of CITY TV, where the top singers and rappers from the U. S. and Canada perform.
I sure miss the area, though now there are more drugs around than you can shake a gun at. Some weekends the area can be pure ecstasy.

Yeah, old D.H. Lawrence.
That immortal line from the Scots gamekeeper, "Th'art good c*nt, Lady Chatterly..."

I am out of work these days.
Gamekeeper. Yeah. I wanna do that.

ivan said...

Donnetta,

Isn't it true that so many people seem programmed in just one way. Fleshy,
acquisitive Fitzgerald characters, devourers, looking for someone to devour. Real dicks...Gee, I was just thinking of some CEO's whose names are in the papers so much.
More often than not though, the justice system missfires and they go after poor Martha Stewart (I love that bitch for some reason).

But dickheads, yeah.
Some days you think you have met them all and it's all in the past.
And then you take a donkey job and the asshats you thought were way back in your past--are still there.
And they still want to wear your body down.

ivan said...

Tara,
You the sweetest thang around.
Thanks.

ivan said...

Josie,
Malcolm Lowry was a genius. He did not think like you and I.
Also an alky. Then he would think funny-peculiar, like me in my cups.

About the only thing I seem to have in common with the great Malcolm Lowery is Mexico and being under volcanoes...Kind of tried to follow in his footsteps.
I am so flattered that I might remind you of him.
To me, he seemed a god who had fallen out of the sky and somehow ended up in Mexico, then British Columbia.
So many gifted people end up in B.C.

Anonymous said...

Straight thoughts 161
December 21st, 2007

Defending the family, marriage, morality, Christianity, freedom of speech and the fundamental principles of western civilization has become a "dangerous" job.

In the last few months a barrage of attacks against Canadian individuals and institutions has emerged as the new 'conversational' tactic of anti-civilization activists.

The latest two incidents have been provoked by the same individual who has filed complaints to the Canadian Human Rights Commission claiming that people engaging in homosexual behaviour have been "offended". The complaints were against Ron Gray, leader of the Christian Heritage Party (CHP), and against Fr. De Valk, editor of the Catholic Insight magazine. In both cases the individuals attacked could not be more compassionate and understanding of the homosexual condition, but their compassion, policy suggestions and news reports have been interpreted as an "offence."

First of all, we need to stand firm in defense of freedom of speech and do our best in support of these particular institutions and individuals.

The CHP is a federal political party. If a political party loses its freedom to analyze, report, argue or object to government policy, in polite and sensitive terms, then Canada has already lost its democratic freedom.

The Catholic Insight magazine is a bastion of morality and an orthodox defender of the Catholic faith. Would an attack to a Jewish or Muslim publication be tolerated by Canadians?

if Canada is indeed a "democracy" and if the people supposedly enjoy freedom of speech, then why the polite and compassionate expression of ideas is even considered as grounds for a complaint? If any "hate" had been expressed by such organizations, surely these would have been charged under the newly enacted federal "hate legislation" (Bill C-250).

These attacks are obviously tactics used to slow down and discourage the diffusion of ideas contrary to the homosexual activist agenda.

They are also a proof that the Canadian governments who created and continue to support these commissions in every Canadian province, in addition to the federal Human Rights Commission, are wasting taxpayers' money in maintaining a duplicate quasi-juridical structure with the powers of fining and punishing individuals without going through formal legal proceedings.

Not only these particular cases should be immediately dismissed, but the whole concept of 'commissions' replacing the legal juridical structure is dangerous and undemocratic. Such commissions, as politically appointed by the governments in power, fly in the face of basic democratic principles, which require the independence between the Legislative and the Judicial branches of any government.

The policy of the Family Coalition Party already calls for the abolition of the Ontario HRC, as a duplicate, costly, undemocratic and dangerous institution.

Previous cases (e.g.: Boissoin, Brokie, Hall, Kempling, Owens, Steyn) are examples of the real damage and disservice to freedom perpetrated by these commissions.

Do Canadians even know about these cases?

- The major Canadian media rarely report "politically incorrect" news.

- The Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC), another federal institution created for the purpose of "regulating" (i.e. limiting) freedom of speech above and beyond criminal law, has contributed to keeping Canadians generally ignorant about anything that does not fit the politically correct Canadian "culture".

- Churches and charitable organizations are generally afraid of speaking out, in fear of losing their "charitable status". Now political parties and independent news media are in danger of being silenced.

- It does not seem that any of the governments in power or any of the major political parties are ready to act. Their position of power is based on "control", rather than on freedom of expression and fair elections.

Will Canadians, who normally show little interest in voting at election time, now recognize the real attacks to their freedoms, while they are 'asleep at the wheel' of Canadian democracy? Who is going to inform them? Who is going to speak for them?

What kind of a country are our children going to inherit?

Giuseppe Gori, Leader
Family Coalition Party of Ontario


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PLEASE FORWARD THIS MESSAGE TO TWO OR MORE FRIENDS AND SUGGEST TO THEM TO SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER OR TO MY MESSAGES BY SENDING A NOTE TO ME (Leader@FamilyCoalitionParty.com)

Anonymous said...

Kinda rough to be catholic these days, mais no?

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Ivan thats because I am made of sugarrrrrrrr baby! lol

ivan said...

You sho'nuff is.

Don't melt.

Mucho calor

Tara said...

Me? Melt? Nahhh.

::hipshake::

ivan said...

You got the hippy-hippy shakes.

ivan said...

Hey "Inside",

Your blog is back.

The Quarks will be happy.

eric1313 said...

Hey, Ivan

How's the writing today? Hoping the Lawrence effect is burning strong. We could use another piece like your Mexico Memoir.

Hoping your Christmas is a merry one.

It's a Blue Yule over here, but I can't complain. I feel the presence of holy power with me, like Aunt Theresa near, watching over me.

It could be the vodka, but I doubt it. I only had two shots. Enough to feel warm.

Talk to you soon.

Peace out, my friend.

ivan said...

Eric,

As the moon waxes toward this unusual Christams we are showered with miracles while somehow communing with the departed.
I am thinking to myself as I watch great bluegrass music on PBS, "Lord my dad (once a fiddle player), would have loved this Bluegrass show."
Only a particle of his DNA here, and yet he he's still someohow here.
This is going to be a spooky Christmas, falling right on a full moon.
"I felt the earth turn under my feet"?
Well, Josie says the short days have ended; sun coming our way now.
Ah, old Hippocrates:
"Art is long. Life is short.
"Healing difficult."

Yeah, I'm onto my fourth magnum of malt liquor. Body stone. Not quite as deadly as Jack Daniels.

On the writing...I am so superstitious about the process.

Seems some days I am writing out of the Weimar Reppuclic, which is Germany before things went to ratshit. Things in Americ are going to ratshit. And here too.

Ah well. Ein prosit!

eric1313 said...

Heck yeah, if Hillary the Nazi or Rudolph the Nazi get elected (Dems, Republicans, they say they are different, but they are more the same than anything), we're all fucked running off a cliff.

Burrock Hussein Obama might be better, but I don't know...

Hell in a snake skin handbag.

At least we have the pens. They are still mightier than the swords, right?

Right?

Right?

(give me a minute and I'll convince myself)

Peace out.

the walking man said...

Ivan see if you can You Tube a song by the BOGMEN called "suddenly" it was recorded in 1995.

It would make a great backdrop to this most excellent tale of...well whatever this is a tale of.

Peace

mark

ivan said...

Eric,
The pen is supposed to be mightier than the sword, but it has been my experience that you can get cut up pretty badly.
Sometimes a neat little roman a' clef about your antagonist can do it, but if not done through established publishing power, your screed might fizzle and your pen break.

ivan said...

Mark,
Thanks. I'll look it up.

ivan said...

Mark,

I found it.


Cast:

Freddie -
Bill Campion

Darlise -
Bill Campion

Roommate
(a.k.a. Darlise) -
Bill Campion

[F] I know she's home
[R] Hello
[F] Hello, may I speak to Darlise please?
[R] She's not in right now
[F] Yeah, but that woman's never in, I mean can you just tell her
Freddie called
[R] Sure to
[F] Uh, uh, and one more thing. If she don't want to talk to me why
don't she just tell me herself. Why is she got to get her
roommate to do it?
[D,R] I'm sorry Freddie, this is Darlise. I didn't mean to leave you
hangin' on a string like I did.
[F] If you're seein' another -
[D] There's no other man Freddie, It's just that - I've got my *own*
home now, my *own* life, my *own* job! I'm a working woman!
[F] Yeah, just 'cause a man loses his job doesn't mean you got to go
dumpin' him on his ass!
[D] I can't talk any longer, I gotta go
[F] All right baby, I guess I'll talk to you later - at some point -
have a nice life - do what you want (click!)

Suddenly a woman leaves me - I've got no job - a machine relieved me
Suddenly I've lost my piece of pie
I'm now in mourning and I wear all blue
That's the color you wear when the dead one's *you*
Suddenly I am living in a lie
My woman's off with some other guy

[Nostalgic, pensive F ] I can remember the first time I saw her. She
was hangin' out in one of those singles bars. Wearin' a really fancy
dress - drinkin' a really expensive mixed drink - smokin' one of those
Marlboro 100's with the big fancy plastic filters on the end. Made
her look like she had class, least I thought so. But then suddenly
the bitch left me - all of a sudden like something suddenly

Suddenly I'm on my own
I don't hear no rings on the telephone
And all the rings I've given her have been returned

I cling to clothes she used to wear
Then I try them on and style my hair
Suddenly I could never be as fine as she
I've got her eyes - but I sure don't have her teeth

[F] I can remember when we would take walks around the public pool -
and the way she would look at me - and the way she would do this
whistle and how I would feel - I'm gonna try and show you what it was
like (whistling)

Suddenly I found myself drinking from the lowest shelf
And all of a sudden I just could not believe my eyes
There goes some guy walkin' down the street wearing my tie

[F] Suddenly I'm not gonna let another man take my woman. Not even
death can do us part. Because when I'm an angel, I'm gonna come down
from heaven and I'm gonna buy her a brand new Cadillac. I'm gonna buy
her a brand new Cadillac!!

Let me tell you why - let me tell everybody why - Because in the 50's
it was pompadours - and in the 60's it was peace - in the 70's -
bellbottoms - I don't know why - in the 80's Ronald Reagan - BMW's -
sushi - back home we used that for fertilizer - but in the 90's LOVE -
love is the new fad - I love you - good God almighty I love you Ya da
da da da da da da da da da da....

Suddenly I have found myself alive

!!! GET Bogmen - Suddenly ringtones !!!

ivan said...

Shee-it.

I didn't realize I'd kind of anticipated someone's l995 song.

Parallel universes, I guess.

Danny Tagalog said...

Hi Ivan,

Here's hoping you have a slendid festive season and lots of stuff published in the new year.

DT.

ivan said...

Danny,
What a welcome greeeting.
It's hard to imagine a Christmas in Japan, but I'm sure all the expats will get together to welcome the Christ child.
Certainly the Christ Principle, which, I think is there in all faiths.
Merry Christmas!

ivan said...

Eric,
Nice how things turn around.

Your previous hard time with the lady reminds me once again of The Walking Man's Bogmen musicians:

[F] I know she's home
[R] Hello
[F] Hello, may I speak to Darlise please?
[R] She's not in right now
[F] Yeah, but that woman's never in, I mean can you just tell her
Freddie called
[R] Sure to
[F] Uh, uh, and one more thing. If she don't want to talk to me why
don't she just tell me herself. Why is she got to get her
roommate to do it?
[D,R] I'm sorry Freddie, this is Darlise. I didn't mean to leave you
hangin' on a string like I did.
[F] If you're seein' another -
[D] There's no other man Freddie, It's just that - I've got my *own*
home now, my *own* life, my *own* job! I'm a working woman!
[F] Yeah, just 'cause a man loses his job doesn't mean you got to go
dumpin' him on his ass!
[D] I can't talk any longer, I gotta go
[F] All right baby, I guess I'll talk to you later - at some point -
have a nice life - do what you want (click!)

Suddenly a woman leaves me - I've got no job - a machine relieved me
Suddenly I've lost my piece of pie
I'm now in mourning and I wear all blue
That's the color you wear when the dead one's *you*
Suddenly I am living in a lie
My woman's off with some other guy

[Nostalgic, pensive F ] I can remember the first time I saw her. She
was hangin' out in one of those singles bars. Wearin' a really fancy
dress - drinkin' a really expensive mixed drink - smokin' one of those
Marlboro 100's with the big fancy plastic filters on the end. Made
her look like she had class, least I thought so. But then suddenly
the bitch left me - all of a sudden like something suddenly

Suddenly I'm on my own
I don't hear no rings on the telephone
And all the rings I've given her have been returned

I cling to clothes she used to wear
Then I try them on and style my hair
Suddenly I could never be as fine as she
I've got her eyes - but I sure don't have her teeth

[F] I can remember when we would take walks around the public pool -
and the way she would look at me - and the way she would do this
whistle and how I would feel - I'm gonna try and show you what it was
like (whistling)

Suddenly I found myself drinking from the lowest shelf
And all of a sudden I just could not believe my eyes
There goes some guy walkin' down the street wearing my tie

[F] Suddenly I'm not gonna let another man take my woman. Not even
death can do us part. Because when I'm an angel, I'm gonna come down
from heaven and I'm gonna buy her a brand new Cadillac. I'm gonna buy
her a brand new Cadillac!!

Let me tell you why - let me tell everybody why - Because in the 50's
it was pompadours - and in the 60's it was peace - in the 70's -
bellbottoms - I don't know why - in the 80's Ronald Reagan - BMW's -
sushi - back home we used that for fertilizer - but in the 90's LOVE -
love is the new fad - I love you - good God almighty I love you Ya da
da da da da da da da da da da....

Suddenly I have found myself alive

!!! GET Bogmen - Suddenly ringtones !!!