Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Quarks, my cheerleaders, always there when you're down

"Nervously buttoning and rebuttoning his buttons of words."

Jesus. I had to take a Slavics course at the U of T to pull that one out.Ukrainian poetry.

Isn't that like a lot of us? Specific vocabulary of maybe 200,000 words, not all of them in English, all jumbled up in our heads, sometimes entire phrases in French, passages of novels, and bits out of Tosltoy about rottting czars and Boyars. The Russian word for death is smiert, which sounds much stinkier than ours.
The answer, of course, is always laced with humour, as the truth often is. "Death is Nature's way of slowing you down."
Nervously buttoning and unbuttoning his buttons of words.
I think that Tolstoy came just behind Balzac and that noble frog too had quite a bit to say about not so much words, but about a poor writer going through his entire wardrobe in hopes of finding a sou in a breast pocket-- fer to find something eat.
The Fatal Skin (Wild Ass's skin?) that neat little novel of he skin that spawned money--but it kept shrinking.
Just like Balzac on his income. Had to move from place to place to avoid his creditors.
Hey, this, at least I'm good at.
Balzac had a Ukrainian mistress who was married.
Ah here too I have some skill.
Oh if I had a Wild Ass' skin. Just rub it an watch the dollars wafting out.
Fact is, I have had a habit of falling into heaps of wild ass' skins. Rich father. Rich wife. What the hell.
But the magic skin does shrink, and now there is hardly a hair left.
Father-in-law used to say, "If you keep spending that capital, you will have to work!
Omigod. A fate worse than death.
Work? Whattayadoin' to me?
There is a series of cartoons by the l7th century William Hogarth, A Rake's Progress.

In it , Norman Rakewell inherits a fortune from his father, spends it on clothes and whores and ends up "piss on a plate", in the language of sodiers. He hopes to recover his fortune by writing a play, going through his own nervous buttoning and unbuttoning of words, and finally produces a play. But nobody wants it.
Sound like you, Bunky?
Failing at the play, Rakewell marries a really ugly woman, but he blows her fortune too.
Hah. The final indissoluble antinomy had been reached. Broke again. Goes nuts. Ends up in Bedlam, shaved bald, one hand and one leg chained to a wall.
Rake's progress.

Well, there have been times when I very nearly threw turds at my keeper.
"I am a rake," I tell the shrink. He shakes his head.
"You are Cindarella. You need a fairy godmother."
That night I got a call from another writer. "Ivan, this is your fairy godfather, and I've just called to....
"F*ck off, John. Don't know why I even told you."

Egad. Fairy godmothers. Eight of them in a row.
Had it not been for my rep as a writer in York Region I would have had none of them.
Stuck with John Simpson. Fairy godfather.

From my earliest recollections, women have made a fuss over me. "You have legs like a girl."
"Yes, fine, but I wish the rest of me were as good."
Eldonza the Whore was not so kind. "Most men have enough to choke a girl."
"Yes, but you're still with me, aren't you?"
There is an old Air Force joke. "You get her to pee, and then swim upstream like a salmon."
Wife used to say, "Ivan why are you so crude?"
"What do you mean by that?"
"You went up to the hostess at that boring party and yelled out, just for effect: "Well s*ck a fat man's dick!"
"Picked it up in Texas. Texas crude."
"You always embarrass me!"

Poor woman. Married to Zorba the Geek.
"You're an asshole."
"Writers are supposed to be assholes. Yes. Even Hemingway."
Well. Here I thought I had married F. Scott Fitzgerald and ended up with Donald Duck. At least you can walk home in the rain." Clearly, the honeymoon was over.

Well, here am I all alone. How did I get to be all alone?
The fatal skin. There was not a shred left.

Nervously buttoning and unebuttoning my button of words.

Ah but then there is a bevy of Quarks. One is not really alone. The Quarks come when hope is gone.
We in our club are interconnected. Can she bake a cherry pie, Billy Boy, Billy Boy? Smarten up, Ivan!

Still I am deep into millinary and fasteners. Buttoning and unbuttoning my buttons of words.

Now is the time for all good men (women?) to come to the aid of the party.

Look up at the sky. There ride the beautiful and sprightly Quarks.

Muses. Real ones with real names. They even comment on this blog!


ea monroe said...

Hiya, Ivan! Picked up any 20s on the soles of your shoes lately?

I just read that the father of chaos theory, Edward Lorenz, passed away. Probably due to chaotic weather. ~Liz

Lana Gramlich said...

"'At least you can walk home in the rain.' Clearly, the honeymoon was over."
Apologies, but I had to chuckle at that. said...

Heh, Liz,

You remember that trick of mine, do you? The chewing gum on my soles, standing in line at the Tim Horton's...Never know when somebody's going to drop a twenty.

Lorenz? Butterfly effect? O lord, my thoughs are getting skewy. Chaos theory. Who invented my life? said...

Laugh away, Lana. :)

Dr.John said...

Well you buttoned and unbuttoned a lot of words but I am not sure what fell out. said...

As for my critics, I'll agree with all of them. But if you don't get it...

Donnetta Lee said...

Muses, huh? Well, what are we Quarks for anyway? I love our "club." And the AntiQuark is always there for us! It works both ways. Thank, God.
Donnetta said...

Well, that's two Quarks reporting in.
Anti-quark very happy.

Anonymous said...

sounds like Punky's dilemma... said...


Punky's Dilemma.

Wish I was a Kellogf's Corn Flake
Floating in my bowl, takin' movies.
Relaxing a while
Living in style
Talking to a raisin who occasionally plays L.A.
Casually glancing at his toupee.

Wish I was an English Muffin
About to make the most out a toaster.
I'd ease my self down
Coming up brown.
I'd prefer boysenberry more than any ordinary jam.
I'm a sitizens - for - boysenderry jam fan.

Oh, say California.

If I become a first lieutnant
Would you put my photos on your piano?
To mary Jane
Best wishes Martin.
Ol Roger draft-dodger leaving by the basement door
Everybody knows what he's tip - toeing down there for.

Well, Simon and Garfunkel are Simon and Garfunkel.

But the lyrics here seem sort of limp.
Some critics take shots, and say Paul Simon is the ideal impotent guy.
"I feel, I feel...
I kind of know how it's done, but...

the walking man said...

Ivan, did you ever leave a kid in Detroit on your path?

You never knew this and probably don't care but your writing is the BEST daily stopping point, get off the train for minute, get a cup o' the brew, light a cigarette, then jump back on the train for a hell of a ride.

Just keep working the buttons and you and the quarks eh? You'll make it as a particle of matter that counts. If no where else than to a bastard child you left behind in Detroit.

Peace ol' man

mark said...



I have been to Detroit many times and I kid JR about looking like me.
But I never had a kid in Detroit.

I cannot say to JR, "I call you son because I knew your mother well." He has a sense of humour and I'm sure he'll forgive me.
Yet I have been with many Americans in Toronto. And I didn't say with Lenny Kravits, "American woman
"Stay away from me."

On the writing: I have been a bit too hard at it of late. Says old Play-dough: "Nothing in excess," though he was one busy son-of-a-gun, and was into everything and maybe a student or two in his Academy....So who's perfect?
It's too bad there weren't any chicks in the dorm. "I have to make myself pretty for a pretty man," he said somewhere in the Lyceum.
But we risk philistinism.
Now if you want to read about a stick man, go to Albert E., though he might have been like somebody from Keswick Ontario here, where people are astonished to find that there is sex outside the family.
You are right. This blog has become bit of an addiction and I really should take a break here and there.
So many bankers at the door, I sort of do it for therapy.
Quarks rule!

As you might say,

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

I will report, although my studies make me late and the fact that I am not a quark. But always here for you.

Soft love,
T said...

Honorary Quark?

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

If you wish....

spread your wings and for a time let me slumber inside them.For the sleeping mind has to dream if the waking mind has to live in reality...

T said...

Brewster McCloud.

Wings strapped on and folded. Climbing up the grandstan terraces in the ball park
Waiting to fly around Wrigley Field.

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