Monday, February 04, 2008
The trouble with New Year's resolutions when you'd been in a complete failure mode for the past year is that you set yourself up for still another failure.
You do word plays on that famous Frenchman's aphorism. "I fail, therefore I am." I am a failure?
I bring up the noble frog's name in a bar. It sound like Day Cart.
"Do you use one of those things at Wal-Mart?
Well, there's failure and there's being a successful ignoramus.
Most people are successful ignorami. Functioning apes.
But to get things done, you need apes, as any construction superintendent knows.
Poor construction super, almost always a failure (the failed motel business, the get-rich schemes, the "Polish" mark at university, C+, the bored wife "You're always tired.. All you do when you come home is sleep.")
But the super is astounded, though feeling like a failure at times, that when you're with the uneducated, you're really among animals--apes. They have extreme antisocial instincts and to keep these instincts in check is at least something you get back from all your training. Yet you need the apes. They know what they're doing. "Me fix."
So when I mention the great mathematician Descartes, they say, "Day Cart? I get you one. Me fix."
Which gives you a laugh, but it doesn't mitigate you sense of impending failure.
And February blues.
You are still smoking after your New Year's resolution. You have produced an entire first page of your novel, and you're already stuck. Reads good, but you know the twists and turns of a novel. You may have to start fooling with somebody else's "envelope" to give the work any real worth, to make it into a real novel, that is to say, an exciting, long-winded fiction in prose that satisfies a reader.
Nice work if you can get it. You may have to see how the big boys and girls did it. You may have to imitate.
(It is my contantion that literature pretty well shot its bolt in the l9th century. The Russkies did it best, followed by the French, and then by some not-so-adept Englishmen and women...Mary Shelley and the Bronte sisters, are, of course, exceptions. I still can't read Jane Austen!).
One might have to imitate.
Still, your remember one Englishman's warming: Be careful. Envy is ignorance and imitation is suicide.
Well, our Timothy Findley, out of Toronto did try to rewrite Emile Zola with the critics' predictable cry of "imitation!" and then Mr. Findley apparent suicide.
Those of us still alive and in the game, however know that talent does steal quite a bit. The Life of Pi was a huge success, but it was borrowed from some poor Jewish guy who was magnaminous enough to tell the equally poor plagiarist to "take what you need."
My career in the newspaper business would make the movie Hannibal guy seem like a crumpet-eater.
Journalism is an extremely cannibalistic business. Ask any paperazzo following poor Britney around as she trundles between hospital bed and spittoon.
A but the novel, the Novel! This is a different thing altogether.
Every journalist is a frustrated novelist--even the great Hunter S. Thompson had two novels in the can.
Very likely, he was working on a wicked little roman 'a clef that would have done in the Chaney administration, and I, as a conspiracy theorist, sense the somebody got to him.
(Emile Zola would take a wrongful conviction of one Mr. Dreyfus and make a grand novel of it). What grand novel will no doubtbe found in the estate of Dr. Thompson, ordained minister and wonderful preachin' fool of the three p.m. drinks at the Holiday Inn).
Well, I'm working on a novel.
Right at a time of February blues.
Forget the surrendered vows about the smoking. This was still another failure for 08.
So here we go to another "failure".
Roadrunner and Coyote.
The great insufferable little tease that makes a fool of you every time you chase it.
You prancing little motherf*cker!
I'm going to make Adidas stew out of you even if it is February, I feel like a whipped dog and Acme Footspring Company has been outsourced to Malasia!