Friday, January 04, 2008

It's Wile- E. Coyote All Over AGain

The great Georgia writer Carson McCullers used to say you lose hair and teeth writing a novel, but I didn't think
she meant it literally.

I am losing hair and teeth.
The god has extracted his price.

Why me, sitting here with thinning hair, rotten teeth and a case of Yuppie flu that would fell an ox.

Why me, lord?


Yeah, yeah, but did you at least like my novel?


Do I at least get an E for effort?


Losing hair and teeth after having written a novel.
Counting my blog tally over the last three years. Three hundred and sixty blogs. That's almost three hundred and sixty thousand words.
Crikey, that's a novel in itself.

Why do I do this lord?


Got the flu. Real bad. Teeth falling out. Balder than a chicken-plucker, almost.

With the kind of efford I'd expended on the novel, applied in another direction, I'd be a rich man today.

But then I have been a rich man.
It wasn't all that hot.
Every rich man wants to write a novel.
But somehow never does.

Oh the secret pride of puny men and their words.

Ah well.
Yesterday I couldn't even spell novelist.

Today I are one.

Coughing up oysters and losing teeth.

Well, I'm better off, I suppose than Ms. McCullers.

She got Lupus.

I got Lobo.

Roadrunner and Coyote.

I'm gonna catch that Beep--Beeping smartass MoFo.

Even if it kills me.


Charles Gramlich said...

So far I'm not loosing a lot of hair, but it sure is turning gray.

ivan said...

Hi Charles.
Hope your new year shaping up a little better than mine this weekend.
Hey man, you got lots of hair.
Oh for those old days when I was a "rock star"--I think you play too--I used to spike it.
No there's little left to spike.
The only thing spiking is my credic card.

Anonymous said...

Never mind thinning hair and bad teeth. Here is what happened to one of my literary heroines:

Carson McCullers is often mentioned in one breath with the preeminent figures of Southern literature, such as her contemporaries, Flannery O'Connor and Eudora Welty. Unlike O'Connor and Welty, McCullers left the Georgia and the South at seventeen and lived mainly in New York and Paris for all her adult life, yet her settings and characters are frequently Southern.

Born Lula Carson Smith, she moved to New York at seventeen to study piano but ended up studying creative writing at Columbia and NYU instead. There she published her first story in 1936 and, in 1937, married Reeves McCullers, a serviceman and aspiring writer. They moved to North Carolina, living there for two years, during which time she wrote The Heart is a Lonely Hunter . The marriage was a tempestuous one, marked by separations and reunions, divorce and remarriage, alcoholism and suicide attempts. Reeves McCullers died in 1953 from an overdose of alcohol and barbituates, an apparent suicide.

Carson McCullers' adult life was a mixture of emotional unhappiness and bad health, but with luminous talent she drew upon her empathy and experience to compose resonant, ballad-like stories about the inner lives of marginal, often physically or psychologically scarred characters who were tormented by loneliness. Her best-known novel is probably The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1940), about a boarding-house cast of characters in a Southern mill town who are drawn to confide in a deaf-mute. She also received critical acclaim for The Member of the Wedding (1946), which describes the joys and frustrating loneliness of a twelve-year-old girl in the days surrounding her brother's wedding. These novels, as well as McCullers' Reflections in a Golden Eye (1942), a psychological horror story set on a Southern military base, were all eventually adapted as movies. The Broadway production of The Member of the Wedding (for which McCullers wrote the script) had an award-winning run in 1950-51.

Best known for her novels and their dramatic adaptations, she also published an original play and a book of poetry for children and she received acclaim for her shorter works. She won an O. Henry Award for her short story "A Tree, A Rock, A Cloud" and the New York Times Book Review said her novella, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, was "one of the finest novels ever written by an American."

The following titles may be found in the Hall of Fame Library:
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1940.

Reflections in a Golden Eye . Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1941.

Hjartat Jagar Allena. Hugo Gebers Forlag, Stockholm, 1941.

Hjertet Er En Ensom Vandrer. Hagerup, Copenhagen, 1941.

Historien om et Mord. Hagerup, Copenhagen, 1942.

Spegling I Ett Gyllne Oga. Gebers, Stockholm, 1943.

The Member of the Wedding. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1946.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter . Cleveland : World, 1946.

Brollopsgasten. Hugo Gebers Forlag, Stockholm, 1947.

Bryllupsgaesten. Aschehoug Dansk Forlag, Copenhagen, 1948.

The Member of the Wedding: A Play. New York: New Directions, 1951.

The Ballad of the Sad Café: The Novels and Stories of Carson McCullers. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1951.

Balladen om den bedrovelige Café. Glydendal, Copenhagen, 1953.

Die Mär von der glücklosen Schenke. Stuttgart : Reclam, 1954.

Seven. New York, Bantam,1954.

Balladem om Den Bedrovelige Kafe. Aschehoug, Oslo, 1955.

Le Coeur est un Chasseur Solitaire. Club des Libraires de France, 1955?

Coracao Solitatio Cacador. Estudios Cor, Lisbon, 1958.

The Square Root of Wonderful; a play . London: Cresset, 1958.

Balada do Cafe Triste. Contos e Novelas. Estudios Cor, Lisbon, 1959.

Reflexos Nuns Olhos de Oiro. Estudios Cor, 1959.

Het Hart Is Een Havik. N.V. De Arbeiderspears, Amsterdam, 1960.

Dama I Njen Vojnik. Frankie. Matica Hrvatska, Zagreb, 1961.

Klocka Utan Visare. Albert Bonniers, Stockholm, 1961.

Clock Without Hands. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1961.

Uret Uden Viser. Glydendal, Copenhagen, 1962.

De Ballade van de Droeve Herberg. Donker, Rotterdam, 1963.

Klokke Uten Visere. H. Aschehoug & Co., 1963.

Kello Kay Tyhjaa. Otava, Helsinki, 1964.

Sweet as a Pickle and Clean as a Pig. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1964.

Balado o Smutnej Kaviarni. Slovensky Spisovatel, Bratislava, 1967.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter . Boston, MA : Houghton Mifflin Company, 1967.

The Mortgaged Heart. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1971.

The Ballad of the Sad Café. World Today Press, Hong Kong, 1975.

Sucker. Tale Blazer, Logan, 1979.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter . Shu Lin (Book Forest), Taipei, 1979.

The Haunted Boy. Tale Blazer, Logan, 1979.

Sucker . Mankato, Minn.: Creative Education, Inc., 1985.

Collected Stories of Carson McCullers, Including The Member of the Wedding and The Ballad of the Sad Café. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987. McCullers, Carson and Carlos L. Dews, ed. Illumination and Night Glare: The Unfinished Autobiography of Carson McCullers. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1999.

Lana Gramlich said...

Feel better soon.

ivan said...

Thank you, Lana Gramlich.

Comes to Charles Gramlich, I guess you are avec?

benjibopper said...

aw c'mon, everybody uses their family's sins in a novel at some point. s'not so bad.

like charles, greyness has enveloped my head.

ivan said...


You are probbably right. I know Ms. McCullers used her life and family as grist for her mill.

Recently, however, my daughter came to me and said, "Are you going to use the soap opera of our nutty family and put it on the CBC?"

Small wonder we seem to communicate less and less.

I might put it all in a book. LOL.

But then my daugher writes too.

Josie said...

Ivan, you crack me up. You must be drinking the good stuff these days.

I still say, put all your blogs and your blog comments together, publish them, make a million $$$$. No would ever believe the stuff that goes on here. :-)

ivan said...

Hi Josie,


I am starting to realize that if the blog entertains people here and there, it's because there is no editor breathing down my back.

I am putting together something for publication these days, and it's tough going because I gotta hold back my nuttiness. :)

...Speaking of nuttiness, poor Britney has just been sent, handcuffed, to rehab again following a drunken fight or something, wherein she refused to give up her two boys when her time with them was up.

Says "She's a Writer", in the blog just back, What can you see in that skank?
Hey, that's my skank and I'll fantasise all I want.
(It has just struck me that that's how I ruined my life--after the shank of skank!). Opps. TMI. Lol.

Trevor Record said...

Talked to a few people who have had talked about how with the amount of time they spent on their blog, they could have written a book. Seems to be a common thing to notice. You know ,Ivan, losing hair and teeth seems like a small price to pay for anything worthwhile... Until your vanity kicks in and you realize that you just lost your hair and teeth. Sorry, man.

eric1313 said...

I second what Josie says!

Your blog is a prefab modern portrait, little fragments of reality and fiction told from a unique perspective. Not to mention the drama that takes place on the response page and behind the scenes.

eamonroe said...

Yep, Josie and I've been telling you since forever to collect your blog posts and comments into a book and Eric thinks so, too! Josie has even come up with some titles for you!

On the "skank" ;-) in the post below, you sure know how to pick 'em, dude! I'm sure you heard all about this morning's follies.

It's Friday night in the big town!


ivan said...



No place like "home". Heh.

ivan said...


I notice some big-time radio announcers are doing the very thing you suggest.
Some guy named Cross over here in Toronto. Put together all his best monologues and put them on My Space and he's damn proud of it.
MySpace a big deal?
If Dave Cross long-time host of The Edge, CFNY, Toronto can do it, hell, I might just try do it too.

Just that everything seems to take so damn long and my technical skills almost nonexistent.

I recall in the past, that whenever I'd get something published freelance (when I was not on the staff of a magazine)--it seemed to take Herculean effort because so many people had already ploughed deep furrows way ahead of me...Had to catch up and then try to baffle them with footwork.

At least with MySpace, nobody has the knives out ready for you when, say, you finally make it to One Yonge Street, Toronto Star, and its former mistress, Harlequin Books.
Ever try to write a Harlequin?
It's impossible. Sh*t is hard to write--very hard.


Yep. Friday night

"Put on your high-heeled sneakers
'Cause we're going out to night."

Who does that, Chuck Berry?

"Put on your red dress baby..."

Donnetta Lee said...

Well, I got my red dress on. Lady Clairol hair. Moisturizing make up. Brushed my teeth with Sensodyne. Took my senior vitamins. Yep, I'm ready for a night on the town.

the walking man said...

So what's a few rotten and teeth and baldness? Chew soft foods and grow your beard to do a comb up. I think I am beginning to like commenting more than writing it is easier, like a writing prompt. But then maybe you should publish portions of your blog because your editor can't really hoo haw about peoples comments now can they.



ivan said...


And with my pot belly, I'm going to "gird my loins", tighten my belt put on a Chubby Checker .45 and,












Chubby could do it!

ivan said...

Speaking of editors, I'm thinking of what Gertrude Stein did for Hemingway's style.
Looks like you've read some Getrude Stein, because you already know, for example, that there is no need for a question mark here, is there.

You've come a long way with your writing.

Middle Ditch said...

Poor you!!

The flu must be worldwide as we here also suffer.

I still have most of my teeth, all my hair and not grey either and most importantly a smile for every one of you.

Take care and HUG

ivan said...

Hi middle ditch.

Or is it middle dish?
Not yet grey and what they used to call an Ipana smile!

Snaggletoothe the lion here.
Listening here and there to your radio play...I presume you hired actors?...Did some of the dubs yourself?
Sounds very professional. No wonder it was aired.
Thanks for the good vibes and news.

TomCat said...

Ivan, whenever a writer and God get into it, it's a contest between two supernatural egos. ;-)

ivan said...

Kinda like the dialogue between Jupiter and Semele.

"Show me your power, Jupiter."

"I cannot. You will be fried."

"Aw c'mon.




eric1313 said...

As for Carson McCuller's damnation (There's a title for a book...) for using her family as the basis of novels, well, you use what is around you. Reality is stranger than fiction, so I imagine she actually toned it down in some areas, and exaggerated others.

"A prophet is never popular in their hometown."

Sounds like they would have dragged her to the east wall and stoned her to death in her "hometown".

"Keep it in the family."

But if it leads to success, take it from the family and use it, for chrisakes! People may be upset that you are exposing truths that are embarrassing (to them), but then, they should have thought about it when they were first acting like that.

Ultimate, what causes anger is a combination of things.

They can't change time and take back their abhorrent behavior.

They can't deny what happened without being shown as a liar by other angry members of the family also trying to shift blame and not look so guilty of their exposed sins.

They aren't the one [smart enough] to reap profit from it, and the writer is, and most likely isn't going to share the spoils with them.

However, if you have a severely unhinged family member or other insane and jealous party, the writer will have to watch your back.

And the rumor mill will work over time trying to destroy the writer. Hopefully, if the writer was smart enough to use the material, they'll be smart enough to use viscious/jealous behavior as future writing fodder.

I really like this subject, as some of my family and certain people I know have often been engaged in ludicrous behavior. By itself, it would make a shoddy, sorry ass story. But if tweaked just right (or write), it might perhaps work.

Just like your blog, Ivan.

You could weave a story from this, as long as you found a good arc.

But then again, I hope you find anything that you can to write another novel about.

ivan said...

The hell of it is is that the abuser ends up usurping all the power in the family, even financial, and the abused seem to just go on being abused.

That, or go on to abusive relationships themselves.

I strongly suspect abuse of one kind or another in, say, Britney Spears' family .
That, or her mother just plain ignored her when Britney really needed attention as a kid.

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