Thursday, October 30, 2008

"And you shiver from the cold"



Writers, I am told, are extremely versatile people.

From the fantasies conjured up (you can almost see all those gnomes rising all around the fuzzy-eared guy on the keyboard)--to the detail work of structuring and copyediting, it seems you have to be clever besides being creative.
And the big boys and girls were certainly clever.
But then, looking up at the stars, you fall into wells. Immnuel Kant must have been driven mad by his sheer intelligence, for it is said that he shot himself in advanced old age.

How is it that Truman Capote, with a certified IQ of 200--almost off the scale!--would squeamishly resort to male prostitution and had to put up with Brokeback rednecks who would say, "Relax, I'm not going to cornhole you, old buddy." Mr. Capote does not go TMI on this in his memoirs, but you kind of shiver at the alternative.

This is the price of art?

There was this rich artist in old "Beverly Hillbillies", who had hired a contractor to install a swimming pool.

Says Jethro Bodine to the artist: "I know artists have to suffer, but are you ever going to suffer when you find out they dropped a load of cement right on top of your Porsche Spyder.

Ah suffering and art.

Van Gogh was thought mad, but he beat the camera to the most basic of visual nuances. And he could write--oh how he could write! if his letter to his brother Theo were any indication. But again, looking up into starry nights, falling into wells.

And yet, writers, if forced, can be extremely versatile. It took, oddly, a formerly fascist country like Mexico to realize this, as the entire civil service and cabinet posts were give to--of all things--to creative writers. How you could go from a Master work like The Labyrinth of Solitude to shuffling paper is beyond me, but old Octavio Paz and the poet Carlos Fuentes could do it.

So writers are versatile people.

Except for me.

I do have trouble with knots, tying shoelaces is a complete mystery to me, and when it comes to math, I can talk endlessy about it, but I can' t really do it.
Intuitive, all my ladies used to tell me."All this time I thought you were like my father, but you are more like my mother.
Puttery."

So I putter. Pick, pluck and pray, hoping I can edit it ll into something.

Being baffled by existence and your own woeful incompetence makes you something of a philosopher, and at this, I think, I have some aptitude.

"What does your wife think of your outrageous assumptions?"

But most philosophers had no wife...And it seems that I have lost mine as well.Ah well. Back to the drawing board.

"'Scribble, scribble, scribble,' eh Ivan"

Well, versatile or not, once I lost my poor wife as a patron, I had to fight my way to the feed trough all the same.

I do believe I tried every occupation known to man. Jack-of-all-trades department.

I early figured out that most jobs were role-playing. Appear like something, and you'll be it. Nothing like like wearing hip-hugger jeans, a tool belt wrapped around your waist, your ass hanging out when you bent down to fix something--voila! Apartment super.

And I could load bags and bags of peanuts, their yellow FDA stickers still hanging out into a huge tractor-trailer. Loading in Georgia.

But the artist thing still there.

Ah, suffering in Georgia.

Sleeping at night in the truck.

You can hear things.

Almost primeaval things.

The artist things.

"In the pines, in the pines
Where the sun never shines
And you shiver from the cold.


Versatile or not, it gives you a shiver.

20 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

Intelligence, creativity and imagination are no defense against perversity. In fact, I think it takes a certain level of those three things to truly be perverse.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Sounds like a QED.

Anonymous said...

a rainy nite in georgia...Lord I believe it's rainin' all over the world...I'm a long way from home,and I miss my loved one so,in the early morning rain,with no place to go...if you miss the train I'm on,you will know that I am gone,Lord I'm five hundred miles from my home...well I'm walkin' down that railroad track,I got tears in my eyes...not a shirt on my back,not a penny to my name,Lord I can't go home this a way...

riders on the storm...creativity itself often can't be found/expressed, save for on the fine edge of an insanely steep and lethal precipice...to venture there risks all...riders on the storm...bravest of souls...

JR's Thumbprints said...

Scribble, scribble, scribble ... freewriting is so much better than editing.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Love that last paragraph, Tony.

ivan@Lcreativewritting.ca said...

JR,

Kind of making the difficult seem simple.

the walking man said...

One could trim the ear hair and become a banker. It would seem they have no capacity for math either.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Mark,

Yep. The old pyramid scheme.

benjibopper said...

it's the price of art, of any abnormality. but maybe it's worth it after all. normal is a bit, ow do you say, boring?

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Bennji,

It bedevils me as to how long you have to keep paying dues!

Anonymous said...

to the artist:

it must be a bitch to be often misunderstood,and mispronounced...many people simply cannot fathom or "cognite" the absolute highs and lows associated with a psyche both under duress,and at the same time shaped,encouraged, and bolstered by creative testosterone...a different kind of courage,not so common, is mandatory while riding those seas...you are one of those sailors, brother Ivanovich.......

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Hi Tony,

Well I could be a Nissei Japanese
visiting his old concentration camp in Canada or the U.S.
I guess we all go home one day.

Thanks for a tip of the old cap.

Anonymous said...

I never made it to the creative rung... I couldn't concentrate enuff...so what's happening with the Brit pseudo-pirates,and your book?...perhaps our GG should be looking[flying]into this matter...foreign intrigue,eh wot!...

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

I emailed Abelard in U.K. saying that a few people might be interested in buying The Fire in Bradford.

Two days now. No answer.

I'll try phoning them, the number in U.K. they have up.

Donnetta Lee said...

Well, I don't think I'm perverse. Don't even know if I'm all that versatile. Sometimes creative. Who knows about the IQ? But, I hang in there. And persevere...D

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Yes you do, Donnetta. Yes you do.

Merelyme said...

you make many good points. if we weren't strange and/or perverse, what would we have to write about?

ivan@creativwriting.ca said...

Hi Merelyme.

Midnight said...

AAh, but writers...

If they could say it all in conversation, would there be any need for poetry, or prose?

ivan@creaetivewriting.ca said...

Midnight,

Well, we could condense:

"Bang!

"'Miss Scarlett. The war is over!'"