Saturday, December 20, 2008

Is down the only way out?

"Madness has always struck me as slovenly and exhibitionist, and a great deal of trouble for other people. If one had concern for others, one would not go mad.
It seemed to Brigit as simple as that: a moral choice. Instead, she seems to she is becoming weak and callow and sentimental.
--Joyce Carol Oates.

The only was out is down. Dante Alleghieri

I have two minds (Ha!) on this.

My computer had jammed, I was isolated from my email friends, there was full moon out, I had maxed out all my credit cards, the cupboard was bare, and I was smoking floor- scraping cigarettes made(almost) in China and sold by happy natives. Five bucks will get you a pack.

Isolation, poverty, baroque rock and roll.

Madness was not a choice now. One was mad, the roiling of ones brain in the wee hours seriosly eying the Listerine, as the liquor was gone. The tremblling of ones hands. And that god-damned full moon. Aw-woo!

Re-entey into Dante's Inferno. Open the door HAL!

Well, happily, Dante's hell was only for one night, though I must admit mine lasted a week, and I'm really seriously considering getting professional help...One is crazy as a coot, and it seems to be coming on a lot. And it's not fooling.

But wait. Here comes the pension check. Might be enough for the new computer and the old car.

....But that searing re-entry into HAL's (Hell's domain?) has left me rattled. A new insight dawned. Or seemed to.

The only way out is down?

I don't think I want to visit that place again.

Seems that it's not HAL, but me that's coming apart.

And I can't ask for help.

Ms Oates says that's slovenly.

Well yes, "A slob like one of us," as the song goes.

Slovenly and exhibitionistic. Well, one is a bit exhibitionistic.

Artist-manque'type...Wonder if anybody else can see me suffering. :)

Gotta stay a bit child-like, the way of all writers, it seems. But not childish.

That is slovenly.


Jo said...

Ivan, there is nothing wrong with asking for help. I have been sort of worried about you. I have nothing against smoking and drinking, except when they drain all one's money. You need to go to Buy Best or Future Shop and buy yourself a new computer. One you can plug in and play, and one that isn't expensive. You don't need to run a CAD program or computer games. And you need to take care of yourself. You're not an old man yet! Far from it, in fact.

Dylan Thomas wrote this poem just for you:

"Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

This is Josie giving you the Dutch uncle talking-to! You are the author of your own misfortune. Discipline! You can do it! We all love you. You can do it!

Charles Gramlich said...

five dollars for a pack of cigarrettes? I could almost get a book for that said...

Thanks, Josie,

Dylan Thomas is one of my favourite poets as well, as you know through my "conversations" with fellow Quark Liz, who, at times I think writes a bit like that old Welsh master. He writes of his youth, she writes about hers. Both charming in their recollections, though I am not sure Liz writes poetry.

I have, I think, through blogging over the past five years, have produced 300,000 words

Tabernac! That is a Russian novel!

I think I have figured it out: All "work" and no play makes Jack a dull boy."; also, Jack is hovering on the edges of flameout.

In professional writing to date, I have gleaned an entire $300, plus a whole $60 in book sales.
So what was the fuss, Gus? A quarter million words and no closer to grace or piety.

Anyway, not to worry. The poet Shelley used to have these periods at only at about age 22 or so.("When the Lamp is Shattered")...But then Shelley at 22 was alread better than most of us at sixty.

200-year- old gossip department:

Shelley was was also a poontanger (Would you believe it?) Certainly not Gay. He and Byron were reputed to go after anything that moved. How about that? 200-year -old National Enquirer material! And into Stanley Kubrick country in 1820? Eyes Wide Shut? Innovations in love and poetry?
Saucy fellows!
Well, I don't move so fast these days. I'm getting that look of recognition from old rubbies who see another one approaching that bridge too far..
Women around here still come and go, but mostly go.
But there has been a breakthrough, I like to think.

Found another techie with worse problems. He is dyslexic and still runs a successful IT business...WTF.
Egad, fully sighted, able to read backwards and forwards in anumber of languages, in reasonably good health,I sit here and whine.
Maybe it's a good thing you're kicking my ass.

Feel a flame from the old pod. Hope it lasts.
Open the door, HAL! said...

Hi Charles.

I get the point.

But I meant to say carton and not pack. A pack would go for about forty cents.

They are, a little like the Shykill Exprssway in Philadelphia,upon which I took a recent road trip. "Shyuill ta kill ya."

SQT said...

I find it so hard to believe you haven't earned more from your writing. Every time I read a post I think this guy can write...

the walking man said...

Embrace the insanity and make it your own, you may go down, old man, but you'll go down not knowing or caring.

Embrace the insanity not because it is a malady from that gentle good night but rather because it is the only way to fight it.

Embrace the insanity and see the band playing on...the key is not in seeing the band but hearing a different tune than the one being played.

Insanity...welcome to my home.

ea monroe said...

Hi ya, Ivan. Yes, the Quarks have been worried about you! Thought maybe you were out in the snow in your hot pink bloomers chasing Yeti. Every once in a wild hair, I'll write some poetry. Donnetta is the poet. She used to write sonnets once upon a time. Maybe she still does?!

I'm still plowing away on my Agate Jones story -- street kids during the Great Depression -- so I'm getting to use that Dylan childhood stuff of mine! I always "try" to make prose lyrical -- maybe it's the Irish. ~Liz

ea said...

PS -- come to OK for Christmas! It was only 9 degrees here this morning, high of 25. D and I will take you to the Indian Smoke Shop, although I think the Chinese have the Kiowa beat on the price! ~Liz

Donnetta Lee said...

Hi, Ivan: We Quarks are missing you. If you are descending into madness, just leave a trail of bread crumbs so you can find your way back out again. Probably Mark is right. Don't fight it. Just go with it but leave the trail to get back. What have you been eating lately? You need to be in Oklahoma having stew and cornbread with BK and me. Sure is good on an old cold day like today. And pretty cheap to make. Smells good. Comfort food. I like to baby myself with comfort food. Get that chicken out and throw it in the pot! Now, don't forget those bread crumbs! D

eric1313 said...

In this shitacular economy, new computers are surprisingly cheap. If you got a new one, you would not believe the relief you would feel.

Like living with those damnable tooth problems--the pain becomes an every day thing that you don;t think about. But finally, after you get crowbarred into the dentist's chair and it's all done, you can't believe how different the world can be when you no longer feel the drone of a constant source of pain.

Old computers are like that. You get used to their quirks and slowness, but over time, they get worse and worse. Get a new one and your intellectual pursuits will blossom.

As for madness, I know it well.


Time for tea with Jesus.

Talk to ya soon, Ivan. Keep the faith and do get a new computer if you can. said...

Hi guys.

I'm in a snowbank in front of the computer shop.
Working on the problem.

All is sticky.

Trying to work on real problemsnow.
Like new computer.

...Get back to ya soon.

Jo said...

Ivan, Eric is right. Take care of the smaller things, and the bigger things will all fall into place. You went through this exact same thing last Christmas. Time to treat yourself to a new computer. You might have to give up a few cartons of ciggies for a few weeks, but what the hell... You might even feel better as well.

And then you will be free to be as crazy as you want! *heh*

Midnight said...

Speakin' 'bout ciggies :
95% of men, that have tried camels,
prefer women.

Snort some whiskey ; it will clear
any sinus manifestations, and refresh your appreciation, of the simple pleasures (such as sippin').

Hope this helps ...

Cheers , and Na Zdorovlia !

eric1313 said...

Merry Christmas Ivan.

I hope you get the new machine soon.

I saw a computer at Best Buy for $399.99. Everything included, though if you wanted to use your old monitor, you might save some cash. Monitor technology has not advanced like the processors have. And the new flat screens are somewhat unreliable.

JR's Thumbprints said...

Hang in there Ivan! The holidays will soon be over. Lay off the spiked eggnog -- too much of the bad cholesterol -- and have a Merry Merry Christmas! said...


Thank you!

re writing.

Makes me think of a friend of mine who tried to get a job at the Globe and Mail here.

She was told, "Zippy writers are shat upon here. You are insufficiently dull for us." Heh. said...



Heh. "I am schizophrenic, and so am I." said...

Hi Liz.

Hey, Tara is part Apache.
I wonder if she has any smokes! ...Joke, joke. said...


"...having stew and cornbread with BK and me. Sure is good on an old cold day like today. "

Hey, I could go with that!
Gotta have collard greens and bacon bits as well though....Lord I loved Southern cooking when I was in Chatanooga. said...


"...having stew and cornbread with BK and me. Sure is good on an old cold day like today. "

Hey, I could go with that!
Gotta have collard greens and bacon bits as well though....Lord I loved Southern cooking when I was in Chatanooga. said...



Library computer says time is up.

I have boutght a new computer...Broke now.


Donnetta Lee said...

Ivan: Are you hanging in there? You know BK uses the computer at the library now in Florida rather than buy a new one down there. The library allows for one hour a per day per customer. The stew was good. Gone now. BK says he's taking son and me out for ribs this evening. More southern food. Haven't seen son in a year. Tomorrow, son wants liver and onions with apple pie for dessert. We will all be gaining 5 to 10 pounds this holiday. D

ea monroe said...

HoHoHo! Merry Christmas, Ivan! I'll be visiting the lunatic family members. Nephew sold his drug dog, so I doubt we'll be planting illegal substances around the yard this Christmas for the drug dog to find or get to watch the doggie attack any one! Hey, you never know though! They're a wild bunch. ~Liz

eric1313 said...

Whenever the IT guy gets it set up, you let us know.

Damn... If I were to send you a present then it probably would be best to send ya a carton of smokes.

I've managed to cut down to a pack every 3 to 4 days. Necessity, I might as well drop it... But that's sometime next...

Anyway, Merry Christmas to all here! I have to get going to the city and visit family, but I'll talk to you again soon.

Peace out.

Middle Ditch said...

Ivan, whatever you do, wherever you are and with whom (see, I'm not doing too bad with the English language) stay sane.

I really hope that you have a wonderful Christmas and a happy and creative new year. You of all people deserve it.

Hug and LOL said...


You're back!


Yep. Your english is perfect.

I used to have the power to grant degrees in english...Here's your B.A if you haven't got one already.
I must say that for years, I have been stuck between the subjunctive and the indicative...Then I read Kierkegaard....Crikey, was he stuck! Either/Or, wtf.

Best to you on the holidays. said...


My IT guy refuses to come to my house to set me up...No house calls. I think I will have to revert to my Mexican alter ego, whose name is Manuel Incompetent. Will have to hook up those flashing outletts with their red and green lights. Cor. I can't even tie my shoelaces.
Ah well a new machine. There is the hum of promise.

Damn. One is pumped with adrenalise and the brain has cut out.
I swear my family motto is "Give it to us, we'll f*ck it up!"

Ah but Arthur
Schopenhauer and his "The World as Will and Idea."

He begins his thesis, "The world is my idea..."

Sells five copiets of World as Will and Idea and the rest of the book is used as butter wrappers...all that spare paper.

Said the gloomy Schopenhauer, "Five copies sold? Well what if an ass looks at my work, and an ass peeps out?"

Ah wounded ego.
And still today, his World and Idea is a major philosophical work.
"See?" he told his mother, who once threw him down the stairs. "I will be the important one in history and your crappy novels will not last."
Egotistical bastard, but absolutely correct.

...I have no idea what I will do for smokes and booze. But at least I seem to have a new computer, which I will have to hook up myself

...eeaagh. All thumbs, half mad, and they want me to be a sort of watchmaker...

We flinch not, neither do we falter.falter. heh.

Merry Christmas,Eric and all.

Donnetta Lee said...


Middle Ditch said...

Ivan, thank you for that B.A. ... I didn't have one and it's allemachtig mooi!!

hug said...



Anybody who knows who from whom deserves a degree in English.

Happy New Year. said...


I was out of town at Christmas, but learned there that if I missed Christmas this time around, I could always go for Ukrainian Chrismas, Greek Orthodox,which comes, I think Jan8...But our family has been here so long we don't celebrate Ukie Christmas. We go Dec 25.

Still, as a self respecting schizo, I could be of two minds on this and celebrate both Cristmases.

So thanks of the Merry Chrismas,Donnetta. I went to see my family. Gad all that Prokopchuk DNA around, I could hardly stand it. All these people around who looked more or less like me, including the genetic kinks...Eek.
We're all crazy.
But they're all crazy and rich; I'm just crazy. "If you're so rich, why are you so dumb?" I ponder.
Sister takes me to the head table.
Says "This in my brother, Ivan.
He is drunk, fat and overweight, like Santa.
He is also an Jack Daniel embiber and a speed freak."
She could have said writer and sexual acrobat, but that would have been worse, I guess.
...Was given a lower stool at the table.
Never mind, sister Mary. The way I'm going I might yet hit you with a stool...Stool probably meant formy keeper in the cage.
Lergactyl, caged pteradactyl, it's all th same to me.

Anyway, Donnetta, it was nice of you and Liz to sort of invite me to OK for Christmas.
I am a great trencherman, almost born with bib and tucker on and the food sounds just wonderful.
Chicken man.
He's everywhere, he's everwhere!