Thursday, May 29, 2008

Don't Give it up, John Cleese.



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
crazy bastards
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.

22 comments:

ea monroe said...

Now days there is gold in them cans! I liked the post when you mentioned "window shopping" at the dumpster! I know some folks who make regular rounds at the sorority and frat house dumpsters as soon as college is out for the summer. They once found a motorcycle, other times a video camera with the graduation tape still in it. I don't think they have found any bodies yet. ~Liz

Donnetta Lee said...

My granny used to go dumpster diving, sort of. She liked to go out to the town dump and shop around once in a while. Took me and Miss Lizzy out there. We even wrote a song about it! Ah, those were the days. Maybe a little stinky.
Donnetta

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Donnetta and Liz,

I have watched so many inerviews with writers. Most of them seem so dull but still somewhow intense.

Well, there was this lady French Canadian writer who say she can't resist going by a dumpster without checking for goodies.

I like her!

Charles Gramlich said...

I made a fair amount of spending money growing up picking up bottles and returning them for their deposits. Then they made non returnable bottles adn put me out of business. Yeah, pretty much like writing.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Charles,

Well, journalism sometimes pays he bills.
But I used to collect bottles too in the bad old days.

Anonymous said...

May 29th, 2008

The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) recently moved that:

"Be it resolved that member locals [of the CFS] that refuse to allow anti-choice organizations access to their resources and space be supported. And further, be it resolved that a pro-choice organization kit be created that may include materials such as a fact sheet, buttons, contact information for local pro-choice organizations and research on anti-choice organizations and the conservative think-tanks that fund them."

Their statement leaves an important question un-answered: How is an organization “pro-choice” or “anti-choice”?

It all depends on “who” makes the choice.

The woman? The Man? The child? The doctor? The mother (of a minor)? The law (society)? The Church?

Any one of these “choices” excludes all the others.

For example, if the law stated that the “choice” is responsibility of the doctor, then presumably women’s groups would be against this choice.

Would then women’s groups be banned from University Campuses as “anti-choice”? Of course not. They do not mean that.

Or, if a "Fathers For Choice" group started today, would this group be banned as “anti-choice?”

They have no rational answer. It depends on whether they would agree with the objectives of this group.

The CFS cannot define the terms they use, because the issue is not “choice”, but whether a person (mother, father, doctor, etc.) can terminate another human life: legalized abortion or protection of the unborn.

Today the majority of “student representatives” in Canadian Campuses want abortion on demand. This is an ideology that does not permit logical arguments or cares about the Truth.

This is “democracy” at work in an organization of young people, the product of our "public" high schools, who are not mature enough to express (let alone exercise responsibly) their newly acquired freedom from parental supervision.

Ironically, while they call for "choice", they are carelessly suppressing freedom.

Giuseppe Gori, Leader
Family Coalition Party of Ontario

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Murky waters indeed.

ea monroe said...

The Junkyard Blues -- that's the song Donnetta and I wrote, Ivan. What! We were 14-year-old country kids. What did we know about the blues?!

How did we even know what the "blues" were? Must've been all the different blues, jazz and folk music my dad brought home. I doubt hanging out at the cotton gin qualifies for the "cotton club." Although, I did pull enough cotton bolls to join da club. Ha. ~Liz

Lana Gramlich said...

Good luck! Fortunately I've never been "en vogue," so I don't know what it's like to lose it.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

liz,

I was just thinking of you--out loud, actually.

One of the books written by a really obscure novelist,Jim Kjelgaard, dealt with the Oklahoma Land Run, a theme you have often intuited towards.

Here is what I put into Charles' blog, and I hope you don't mind:

"Well, I'm sure our correspondent E. A. Monroe would enjoy Jim Kjelgaard's "We Were There at the Oklahoma Land Run - 1957, Grosset & Dunlap.
She is from Oklahoma and does some writing on these themes herself."

Yep, there was the extremely hip Cotton Club while the rest of us(or our parents) were indeed choppin' cotton.

Tony- Joe White;

Poke sald Annie
Gator's got your granny...:)

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Lana,

The closest I got to the Condy-Nasties or the real Vogue was an article in the Reader's Digest.

Yeah, people used to read me in the can, and among the noises and the belches, I think I heard someone say,"Well, I guess that's that's someting anyway."

And the gentleman dapper stepped from the crapper, and I swear I head him saying, "Sell-out!"

ea monroe said...

Hi, Ivan. I'd leave a comment on Charles' blog but he doesn't allow anonymous comments! ~Liz

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

hi ivan. Have faith.

T

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Liz,

You could send to me, and I could relay.

But right now, I need a drink.

The dentist wants grand for the new teeth.

Enough to drive this pauper
to drink.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Hi Tara.

Somethin's up. I can feel it.

(Hm. That's a bit Fredian...I mean on the publishing front.)

benjibopper said...

i've often imagined an upside to jail time - lots to write about, lots of time to do it, and in some cases, access to a library. but, the reality probably wouldn't live up to the fantasy.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Benji,

Yeah it can become a trap.

I don't know hows often I'd get the cottage, the paeer and the typewriter, set myself up--and then blank paper syndrome. Or blank screen syndrome.
Seems to work best when one's balls are in a sling and you're on the verge of a breakdown, without acually breakinkng down.
Difficultie create art, I suppose.

ivan@ce\reativewriting.ca said...

Hi, it's Michael Koerner once again. Thanks for allowing me into your web
space once again. May, other than watching the all the snow that was deposited
earlier in the year melt, has been a relatively quiet month. I hope everything
is going well for everyone receiving this newsletter. [...]

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Hi Michael Koerner and old Air Force buddy.
What a great website you have for Pinetres Line (Old RCAF).

benjibopper said...

yeah, deadlines are a must.

ivan@creativewriting.ca. said...

Yep.

Even when self-imposed.

Discipline, I say.

Heh. There's always hope for bondage...Joke,joke!

Swiss Replica Watches said...

In addition they helps Music and even MP4 training of acoustic with training video recorders. The special life ability of your telephone concerns One hundred and fifty in sequence to 301 hours making use of the consumption. Talk-time capacity depends discount replica watches UK upon 180 min's. Returning up coming might replica Mont Blanc watches be the price of your crooks so that you can. Telephone timepieces is available starting from One hundred and fifty dollars to a single hundred seventy-five money which has an regular. When you compare replica rolex watches China made mobile designer different watches with top of the line kinds, knockoff Omega watches you'll think the specific replica Breguet watches China merchandise is rather less versus the actual named phone look at.