Friday, July 18, 2008

Speedy Mercury READ MY BOOK

Thirty- three years ago, on an unusually bright January day, I decided to stop teaching and become a real writer, not a teacher of writing.
Seemed like a good idea at the time. I was nearing forty, the deadline decade; I was meeting all my turtles, the once- fastest rabbit (mouth?) in town and though having a million words in print, these were in column form and I was not sure if that really counted. I had in print one small novel, "The Black Icon", which was published, of all places by the Bradford Witness Publishing Company, ON.
People would ask, "Are you a Jehovas'? You gonna stick your foot in my door and tell me to awake? You hear the one about the scion of a Jehova's Wintess and a biker, who comes to the door and tells you to f*ck off?
Enough that I didn't feel very authentic. So I quit my job at the college, surrendered the vows, left my wife (who was probably glad to get the crazy bastard and his beer bottles out; there had been issues) and made for the place where the writers go. Mexico. Cuernavaca. Crooked horn. And yes, after a spell there I was somewhat bent and wastin' away in Margaritaville, forget the manuscript and the vows, foxy chicks gotta get, foxy psychotics from California telling me to get in touch with my feelings, American woman, stay away from me. Ah, but she bagged the fool, and if you sleep with somebody crazy you'll end up crazy too, and soon I was "getting in touch with my feelings" tried to get away but she followed me all the way to San Miguel de Allende, where I soon discovered that I had drip to my whistle and thinking of that old limerick, "Since I met your lovely daughter/ I've had trouble passing water".

A damsel with a dose. This was not getting the Great Canadian novel done. Letter from the poor wife. "Whatcha doin', McLuhan? --"Shrew and the kids." Behaving badly.. How many novels on behaving badly?
A Fan's Notes
All of Burroughs.
Kingsey Amis
Me.

My novel came out, eventually. The Fire in Bradford, but as my impoverished banker and sp0nsor was to tell me, "Ivan, the fire was in your pants and not in Bradford. And, he added after a few drinks, "Your asshole is in Ottawa".
Behaving badly. Jerry Rubin:" If it feels good, do it." Ah but there were reasons for the odyssey. There had been a problem with my poor foo-foo valve. Doctor had said it was nasty and the antibotics weren't getting it. Well, with sunlight and marathon sex, one did repair ones foo-foo valve, but at what cost? Ragged Dick the Match Boy. Always the Horatio Alger follower. "Give you a bully shine, Sir" rags to riches all my life and now surely on the road back to rags. I think there was a movie made of this, titled "The Jerk".

Standing today in front of the bookstore where I'd made me decision to chuck it all and become a writer. Meeting herds and herds of my turtles as the passed the maddened hare. Someone taps me on the shoulder.
"You Ivan?"
"Yes."
"I read your book," said the stranger, who turned out to be a bus driver in Toronto.
Hah. Speedy mercurial figure. "I read your book. It's a knockout." Wow. Hey....If you can reach one person... But the hell and high water to get there. Do you have to be a devil to get your halo? Surely felt like hell going through the process of the novel/autobiography. And damn it all, it seems like it was all somehow worth it.

18 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

Sounds like you lived the book instead of writing it. From the sound of it, I'm not sure I'd be having any regrets. Memories may keep us warm at night when burning our books won't.

the walking man said...

That is a hell of a back cover blurb for your NEXT effort Ivan. Where one is reached on the first, ten can be got on the second, even one named Giller.

http://www.creativewriting.ca said...

Well, Mark, you have a way of lifting a scribbler's spirits.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Hello Ivan.

Anonymous said...

Dante,you must continue with your portrayal of landscapes visited,and landscapes envisioned...be bold with your brush,and the hues of your soul will shine through...the "race" is far from over,the song not completely written...the orchestra awaits you...you will ascend those stairs that others could not...

Donnetta Lee said...

And somehow it IS worth it. Just enough to make us try, try again. Oh, happy day! Just make sure the old foofoo doesn't get in the way any more!
Donnetta

Jo said...

You're a character, Ivan. I think your next book will be a blockbuster. You have lived quite a life!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Hi Tara,

I am on kind of a dark night here.
My computer is dark and my techie will not make house calls; as a cable puller myself over here, and getting all the cables wrong, I swear I would make a pretty good blacksmith and not a techie.

ivan@creativewritng.ca said...

Donnetta,

Men, huh?

Foo-foo always seems to lead.

ivan@ creativewriting.ca said...

Josie,

Thanks.

You lifted my spirits at a time
when I was thinking of writing a dystopia,i.e, my life.

ivan@creativewrtiting.ca said...

Anonymous,

Maybe it's good thing I have these computer problems. Kind of makes you send out stuff in hard copy, like in the old days.


Uh, afer my experiences, "Throw your broad upon the waters?" :)

Thanks for the inspiration.

Is this A.E.? We did go on television together once. Maybe we shall play again.

Anonymous said...

television thrice,before and after Lightfoot...he may have been speechless,but not lacking in lyrics...quality records went from concrete to mirage-like in one easy step...my personal paintbrush ran dry...sold my les paul,along with part of my soul...you,on the other hand have kept yours intact...write on, brother,thou art here,among us...and thanx for the guiding steps and memories...we done good...

http://www.creativewriting.ca said...

Gordon Lightfoot was the man.

Later showed me some chops at Steele's Tavern, Yonge Street, Toronto.
You showed me some chops.

Ah, our old band.

Cavaliers.

The boys wouldn't let the girls watch us on television in the Airmens' Mess TV lounge. Jealousy.
The Canadian thing. No one should rise above the others. Military. The uniform. When one succeeds, we all succeed. When one fails, we all fail.
Migod. Did we not rise and keep flying for a long time when we were young?
From soldiers to musicians, and damn, weren't we fine?
But Canada is like the military.
When one or two stand out, the rest will pull him down.
Playing the lyre in Sparta.

Anonymous said...

when you're young,there isn't anything else other than updrafts...we were meteors running like hell for the stratosphere...walk,don't run...not a hope in hell...

http://www.creativewring.ca said...

"once upon a time there was a tavern..."

Anonymous said...

Ivan, just saw this today and thought of you! ;-)

Australian woman described as the world's oldest blogger dies

14/07/2008 12:14:00 PM

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
SYDNEY, Australia - A 108-year-old Australian woman who was promoted as
the world's oldest blogger has died two weeks after making her last post
about "singing a happy song," her great-grand son and her online forum said.

Olive Riley wrote 74 entries in her blogs, firstly
www.allaboutolive.com.au and later
http://worldsoldestblogger.blogspot.com. A friend introduced Riley to
blogging early in 2007, and was hooked.

Riley "passed away peacefully on Saturday, July 12," a posting on her
website said. No cause of death was given. "She will be mourned by
thousands of Internet friends and hundreds of descendants and other
relatives."

She entered a nursing home in Woy Woy, 80 kilometres north of Sydney,
last month, from where she blogged about having a bad cough and feeling
weak.

In her last entry, on June 26, Riley thanked supporters for "a whole
swag of emails and comments from my Internet friends" and described
meeting a new friend in the bed next to her.

"She and I sang a happy song, as I do every day, and before long we were
joined by several nurses, who sang along too. It was quite a concert!"
she posted.

Great-grandson Darren Stone said Riley loved being able to stay in touch
with correspondents all over the world and said she believed it kept her
mind active.

"It was mind-blowing to her," Stone said. "She had people communicating
with her from as far away as Russia and America on a continual basis,
not just once in a while."

Born in the remote mining town of Broken Hill in 1899, Riley blogged
regularly in the last year of her life about growing up in the outback,
raising three children and working as a farm cook and bartender earlier
in her life.

Copyright The Canadian Press

Tom

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Ivan,

I am sorry. But I think you let the ways of the world and those in it drag you down. You can insprire, write, and flirt like the best of them and yet you allow things to trip you up. Ahh well, if you won't listen to me, listen to your friends here. They love you and I think you're grand.

On a side note... my ex-husband just came back from Canada... Toronto to be exact....he rather liked it. Course he would have been in some stuffy Hotel where there are robes laid out. So who wouldn't, but then well... just thought I would mention it. Im rambling and so I shall shut up now.

Be well love,
T

ivan@creativewritng.ca said...

Ah. What was once known as "Toronto the Good."

Thanks, Tara.