Monday, February 04, 2008

February blues

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!


benjibopper said...

Never could get into Findley anyway. Not Wanted on the Voyage was ok, and apparently he done stole that one from the bible.

I am getting into Light Over Newmarket though. I'm on chapter 3 and it's getting sexy.

benjibopper said...

"Name me someone that's not a parasite and I'll go out and say a prayer for him" --b.dylan

ivan said...

Well, what blogger doesn't welcome commens like that.
I think we are both huge fans of Bob Dylan.

Charles Gramlich said...

We all have our roadrunners I fear. Some taunt us more than others. Love that pic btw, the sad puppy. He knows he's done wrong. But then haven't we all.

ivan said...

Yep, Charles.
We've all done wrong.

I stole that adorable puppy picture from some unsuspecting blogger. Sienna?
And yes, that roadrunner is always out there taunting us.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...


Sounds to me that you are on a stool meant for the broken hearted and the pitied. You are a brilliant man. How could you suggest (if I am getting this right) that you are a failure. I think the only think you have failed at is is seeing who you really are.
If I were closer to you I would kick your sweet butt and tell you that life has a place for you. Maybe the novel of your dreams is not ready to be written, but it is there. Maybe the woman of your life has come, gone, or not even shown up yet. Maybe you need to stop comparing yourself to everyone else and see the brilliance inside you.

You have this amazing way of making even the most ridicuous interesting and a worth while read. Now pick up the pen or turn on the computer and write what you hear, what you know, who you are. If you do, no failures will come your way.

Soft love.

ivan said...



Well, I'm doing something now, but
the little devil with the pichfork
will give me one hell of a case of bursitis if I blab it to the world.
Other bloggers seem to descibe their works in progress and so many of them get speared!
So I will not say a word about the current novel/documentary until it's done.
And thanks for the kick.

"Massie" says stilletoes would be nice. :)

Monique said...

Love the puppy look. Chin up Ivan.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

I got your stilettos. But you better be careful. I KNOW how to use them!


TomCat said...

Ivan I hope you get the roadrunner, but I must say I was shocked to return and see a dawg! Ptui! ;-)

Tara in stilettos? Hmmmm... It's getting warm in here!

ivan said...

Sounds fun.

ivan said...

Banker is on my case.
Heaven forbid I should have to sell the pup!
Ah well. Some might say I've been doggin' it for a while.
Pokin' the puppy.

Donnetta Lee said...

Well, we make promises to ourselves and then we break them. The same goes with hearts.

What a precious puppy. Looks like he just pottied where he shouldn't and he knows it! (Haven't we all...)


ivan said...

Oh. I forgot you were a cat.
Not exactly enthralled by my puppy pic!
Tara in stilletos. Woo-ee!

ivan said...



With me it was empty nest syndrome.
I think everybody got out because I pottied.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Darkness and candlelight...I am coming to Canada. Winnipeg and Vancouver, should I add Toronto?


ivan said...

I might be dead by the time you arrive.

I've got this plastic light grate all broken up over my head and the rope broke.

...Some days you just can't do anything right!

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...


Even on those days when all seems lost we win. Worrynot about the mirror instead go about your evening smiling. Your times is coming.


ivan said...

kind of ya.

the walking man said...

me have hammer me fix!



Shesawriter said...

I don't make resolutions because I never keep them. :-) BTW, that puppy is adorable.

ivan said...


You are one perceptive dude, and also, I think, writing for your life.
You're getting through on power, and that is an amazing thing to see.

ivan said...

Hi Tanya.

Yeah. New Year's resolutions.
But there's something there.
At least we keep writing in a year that shows some promise.
...Tom Petty singing crap at the Superbowl but getting through all the same; Obama.
...Yes, that puppy is something.
I think I should have written about him.
Leave it to E.A. Monroe in these pages, I think. She is great at writing about animals.

EA Monroe said...

Animals! Ha. Ivan, I left some "animals" over at Donnetta's continuing story (I told her she better get into her blog and "fix up" what I wrote!).

The year is still young! I had other words of wisdom to say, but wouldn't you know -- I forgot them! ~Liz

ivan said...


I think Donnetta has absconded this evening and left us high and dry as far as editing your segment goes. And I'm too woozy to edit anything. There was a reference to a "rumble wheel". I'm not sure what a rumble wheel is, unless you mean the comic book Archie's hot-rod, which might be an early 30's Ford Runabout( with the rumble seat that opens and closes).
But I love the idea of the mole and the groundhog hanging out together....You hit on a theme that is sort of a preoccupation of mine, the underground burrowing animals and their ways.

ivan said...


Oh, I get it.

A cat would not see a truck but "rumble wheels".

Thanks for the email explanation.

Josie said...

"I fail, therefore I am." I am a failure?"

Gosh, Ivan, you have stolen my mantra. :-)

Everyone has the February blues, Ivan. And I have my second cold of the season.

It will be summer soon, and all those creative juices will start flowing again. But then, who wants to write in the summer? Did you ever read "Waiting for Winter", a collection of short stories by John O'Hara? He couldn't write serious novels in the summer, it had to be winter.

ivan said...


Well, I took Rene' Descartes' famous line, "I think, therefore I am" and changed it to "I fail, therefore I am.
So I guess we both owe something to Monsieur Descarte for changing his words a bit.
Yep, John O'Hara was up to something when he realized he had to be a bit down and depressed in winter so he could write something.
It's one hell of an insight.
I myself can't write much unless I am slightly depressed, but I notice in your case, you write whether it's gloom or mirth; you just keep writin'.

Lana Gramlich said...

Awwwwwwwwww! The world's cutest puppy! Awwwwwwwwwww!

ivan said...

Sweethart, ain't he?