Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Portnoy's Peak. A story for twisted guys.


My friend Willle the Schizo has some strange pronouncements.

He can't help it. He's from the Canadian East Coast.
Newfie.

I had complained to him that I was procrastinating.

There were stories to write for the press, which took discipline and hard work.

"I am letting it all slide," I was saying. "I am poking the puppy."

"Well," he said, his bushy brows arching (like Dr.. Rath in The Professor and the Blue Angel when he catches Marlene Dietrich making it with somebody else) :"Nothing to crow about."

"Discipline," he said like Humpty-Dumpty may have said to Alice.
Certainly like the Caterpillar, for he smoked huge stogies, the smke of which would often rise up in halos, so much like in the Disney cartoon.

Yet he was from the East Coast and the humour there was not subtle as with The Egg Man or the Caterpillar.

"Procrastination is like masturbation. You end up screwing yourself."

Yep. That was me. Onan the tentmaker.

Oh how mucn easier it was to blog, to flog, to spill one's id all over white computer space.

The old fisherman continued:

"But real writin', especially for money, takes clarity, elegance, tact, not just self-expression."

(Hm. Pretty sharp for a squid-jigger...Uh, I knew the old joke about anybody finishing grade eight in Newfoundland was considered "gifted" but this guy had some brains. Did become a chiropractor once, but drank the practice away...Now he was snapping my spine. Like Kierkegaard...(When you read Kierkegaard, you swear somebody is pulling out your spine. Like the line, "Of course he in love makes moutains out of molehills; you're supposed to make mountains out of molehills when you're in love.")

"Anyway," he continued.

"Nothing is really interesting unless it's well researched. It's got to have depth and breadth.

"You can't just write off the top of your head and expect publishing results."

You have to rewritre, edit, rewrite again. Like Heminway, who said first drafts are almost always crap.
"Good writing. is rewriting."

"So how do you know all that? You've never published a a line.".

"I read a lot," he offered.

Well yes, he obviously had.

But then writing or just reading could be compared to real sex and masturbation.

I have heard it said that some writers are so intese that with them, it's almost a sexul act.

Deatail, detail, detail, climax. And then the Grand Pollution at the end. Wow. The self-made genius.


But for someone who is just reading the book, it's like watching somebody do the actual writing.. You know how to do it, you've seen it done, but you can't quite do it yourself.

Like remembering somebody out of university who was a self-confessed follower of the Marquis de Sade.

One could write about Walter.

Walter, gloomy genius and Saddy-Massy, was known for his essays on masturbation for astronauts and his asserion that all male writers were arse bandit.
"Speak for yourself, Walter," the other students would chide the sunken- eyed Walteer, who though young,was nevertheless pretty twisted.

Walter! Chinese food for ya. Cream of Yung Gai!

And
"Hey Walter. I hear you're getting into politics. Student Council.
"I hear they want to make you party whip."

Not a hint of a smile from Walter.

He finally did lighten up.

"Sticks and stones may break my bones.
"But whips and chains excite me."

Oh what a party whip Walter would make.

And I havejust produced this bit of drivel off the top of my addled head.
"Hey, that's not writin'. That's typin'."

But then genius Leonard Cohen had some twists.

In his old novel Beautiful Losers, he has his hero crash his car right through a billboard, muttering obsessively, 1-2-3-4, and then... JACK OFF!".

Now that was a climax.

Well, for Leonard.





19 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

A twist ending to go with the twisted subject matter. Well done. I know all the Newfie jokes btw, through Lana.

benjibopper said...

Charles: ALL of them?!

Ivan: when you freelance it's always a balance between research and getting out a finished product fast enough to make the paltry pay worth your hours. I always over-research though (not even counting the hours of procrastination), end up chopping and cutting, re-writing obsessively draft after draft. It's so completely different from my creative typing, which to date has paid less but been a lot more fun.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Lana originally a Newfie?

Lard Jaysus.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Benji,

I too tend to over-rsearch.

And then what. You still have to write the piece.

At which time I do pretty well what you do

Donnetta Lee said...

Very, very well put Mr. Ivan! First drafts are crap--I'll say, Mr. H! And write and edit and rewrite! How true. When I was writing for the special ed newsletters, it was write and rewrite and sweat to make the deadline. But the first go round was always pretty poopy. Of course, that was quasi-technical writing-not novel writing. But, all writing has some vein of commonality to it. And good closer here. Smile!
Donnetta

the walking man said...

Procrastination is like masturbation...ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

As long as it still works eh? There is hope that eventually you'll find a reception not among the "arse bandits."

The best thing about typing is that while doing it your hands can't really reach your crotch, this is why I type everything. I like a speedy session when it is the top of my head or my head is being topped.

The Newfie was not a dumb guy for coming from a single session of typing.

Peace

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Donnetta,

Yes. I have found technical writing very difficult.
Much easier to go for the joke or metaphor.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Mark,

Lard Jaysus!

Anonymous said...

I AM EXPERIENCING TECHNOLOGICAL BREAKDOWN...AND PROBABLY NERVOUS BREAKDOWN.

I can not start my Outlook Express because Microsoft tells me "Outlook Express could not be started becaus MSODE DLL could not be loaded."

This probably was the rusult of trying to free up space for my local disc C:, which was abortive.

Suddenly, I can't access Blogger, an my own comment space here has changed format.

Like in the song, "This ain't no technological breakdown
This is the road to hell.

And my bad teeth have upset my stomach, so I am alternately constipated or crapping my drawers.

Jeesus.

I am becoming a decrepid old man--just like my computer.

Anonymous said...

...That was me, Ivan

Josie said...

Ivan, you need a new computer.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Oh Gawd.
Another expense!

Just when I was starting to get it together.

Hi.

the walking man said...

Ivan if you are running Windows XP go to start, programs, accessories, system tools, system restore, pick the restore point just beyond when the trouble started with your PC and restore to that date.

You will not lose any files on your drive, You will be able to undo the restore if you want.

This will not fix your teeth.

Peace

Anonymous said...

Mark,

Thanks.

There are not enough of those links on my Start mode.

Am taking the machine to the shop.

May have to invest in another,second-hand.

Anonymous said...

Mark.

Tried it.

Not enough links for me on my Start mode.

Taking machine to the shop.
Might geta good deal on secnd-hand one if this guy is kaput.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

HI ALL.

I HAVE BECOME THE INSPECTOR CLUSEAU OF TECHNOLOGY. NOT JUST LIKE A FRENCH POLICEMAN(SLIGHTLY INCOMPETENT), BUT TOTALLY INCOMPETENT,LIKE INSPECTOR CLUSEAU.

I COULD NOT PULL OUT THE DISPLAY PLUG ON MY VIEW CABLE GOIING TO MY MONITOR...NOT REALIZING THAT THERE WERE TWO KNURLS ON A CONNECTION THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ROTATED TO LOOSEN, I TOOK A HAMMER TO THE THING AND PROBABLY GAVE MY OLD IBM THE COUP DE GRACE.
WELL, I TOOK THE BEAT- UP HARD DRIVE TO A TECHIE HERE IN TOWN WHO SAYS HE CAN GET ME ANOTHER IBM FOR A HUNDRED BUCKS...WHAAA!

I GAVE UP POSITIVE THINKING YEARS AGO, BUT THERE'S A CHANCE I MIGHT BE ABLE TO GET BACK ON THE AIR IN A WEEK.

THANK GOD FOR THE URL.
IT IS "OUT THERE" AND NOT IN MY MACHINE, WHICH IS BENT.

I AM BENT.

Josie said...

Ivan, gosh! You and I are alike. You would not believe the stuff that happens to me.

*sigh*

ivan@creativewritng.ca said...

I recall days at the Star when a fellow cub reporter from UBC (it waw a summer job)said he was overwhelmed at his own incompetence.
Years later I am echoing that old fellow summer reporter.

Who heard of technology in l966?

How do I tie my shoes? :)

ivan@creativewritng.ca said...

....OOPS.

I Think I am back on the air, but flying weakly.