I sometimes watch the big boys of literature and grand comedy, and in writing luck, at least, they are a lot like me.
Says John Cleese, "It's always the same. On large success, and aftet that, a whole string of failures.
Well, Mr. Cleese has managed to succeed once again, and grandly, with his old gold brought to
life with a zapped-up of version of "The Holy Grail" and he's laughing all the way.
But it seems there had been a hiatus. Like about thirty years.
I had a big hit in l999, followed by a cover story on me in a magazine about that big hit, but when I tried to repeat the performance, nothing would come. And huge inexplicable mental blocks.
Sudenly, I couldn't write
No matter how much booze, how much coffee, how much almost-calculated heartbreak so I' d dhave someing to write about--Nada.
Jesus. This is like a fireman with no hose, a traffic cop with no whistle (and they're more and more like that now) and Ron Jeremy not being able to get it up for a shoot.
(But then I read Ron's autobigraphy and it seems that even cocksmen get the blues...Swinging all that pipe and can't get an erection in front of a beautiful porn queen).
Lord knows it has happened to me often enough and thank god for the bounty of the lady.
My loves have been incredibly inventive
Saved years and years of neuroticism, self-castigation and thoughts of taking up the priesthood.
(And I've heard, in a joke that even priests sometimes get nun).
Well, I have been on a publishing hiatus for three years (There was journalism, but I don't think that couns).
I submitted a piece to my old editor at the Globe and mail, where she had a creative section only to find that Miss Dann had gone on to become a literary agent. So I wrote her at the Cooke Agency. No answer.
Jaysus. I'm getting the odd feeling that I'm no longer "in".
Something I'd said? Something I'd blogged?
James Joyce used to say that a lull like mine can be countered by "silence, exile and cunning."
Well, I'm as cunning as the next guy, but I can't keep silent.
Maybe it's my exposure of some of the people in publishing, my rants against specific publishing houses--they google me a lot; but Ivan ignored? This is the unkindest cut.
Ignoring is something you use as a tactic against a crazy person. Maybe they think I've gone mad. Well, there was that spell in "rehab", but they tell me all writers of any exposure-- are
Why else would take up an obsolete profession and still think, along with some of Balzac's unfortunate dumpster friends, that overnight success is just around the corner.
Writers are extremely versatile people.
You switch to TV or film.
Or you could be Jane Austen and be popular forever. Now that's somehow a contradiction.
Not all best sellers are masterpiece, but all masterpieces are best-seller.
So you set out to produce a masterpiece.
You get it all down with the patience of a watchmaker. And you send it out.
Comes the reply, "Could be pushed through for an absurdist, surreal masterpiece."
What in *&^^% is an "absurdist, surreal masterpiece"? Bram Stoker or Jean Genet come to mind, but I was never into horror or prison rape.
Maybe prison educator JR is in the right place. You're sure as hell going to get material there.
It's not the kind of sex you'd want to write about, but I've heard it said that down in "shops", prisoners would saw off a length of pipe and offer it as a ring to the cellblock" girlfriend".
Party at the County Jail.
Prison band was there
And they began to wail
--Especially Charlie, who didn't like that kind of stuff in the first place.
Well, three years of publishing drought.
"Your talent wasn't strong enough to carry you, Ivan," a hiss from a former rival with whom I once had to share a prize. He remains "in work" and making big bucks.
There are days when still I dumpster dive.
Ah, but I once wrote a story about this and brought the house down.
Thought it was an odd thing to do, but then I looked up Ivan Turgenev in Russian literature.
Hell, if the great Turgenev once had black boots sticking out of a dumpster, it had to be baroque enough for this Ivan.
And I'm not only baroque, but broke.
Well, I'm taking my advice from the best.
I'm gonna resuscitate something old, put a little gilt on it-- and along with the great Shakepeare with an old Seneca theme-- hit that old dumpster again.
There's gold in all them there cans.
If you please, John Cleese.