Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Professor Crows Like a Rooster.


INT.
GREY GOAT ENGLISH PUB AGAIN. THE PLACE IS NOISY AND RAUCOUS. THE MAIN
ATTRACTION IS THE BUSY BAR WITH ITS FULLBREASTED, SATIN-BLOUSED BARMAIDS.
THERE ARE TWO OF THEM , A BLONDE AND A BRUNETTE SERVING. THE PLACE IS
INTERNATIONAL, THOUGH LARGELY SCOTS. SOME OF THE MEN ARE INDEED IN
KILTS.

LYING DOWN ON THE GREEN BAIZE POOL TABLE, ONE FOOT STILL ON THE FLOOR AS PER RULES, A SCOTSMAN LOOKS SLIGHTLY RIDICULOUS, KILT HIKED WAY UP, BUTTOCKS SHOWING, AS HE ATTEMPTS A TIGHT CORNER SHOT FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE TABLE.
ONE OF THE OPPOSING PARTNERS TAKES HIS CUE AND WORKS IT UP THE KILT OF THE SUPINE SCOTSMAN.

SCOTS POOL PLAYER.

Will ye just fuck- off, Mate?

HE GETS OFF THE TABLE AND RAISES A CUE TO THE CHEST OF THE OPPOSING PLAYER'S PARTNER.

THERE IS A MELLEE. AS OTHER CUES ARE RAISED AS IF IN EN GARDE POSITION.


VOICE OF MANAGER, WHO IS BEHIND THE BAR WITH THE MAIDS. HE HAS A MICROPHONE.

You guys start fighting, you're all cut off for life.

THE POOL PLAYERS SETTLE DOWN.

THERE IS SMOKE IN THE AIR IN THE PUB, AND A COMFORTABLE WHISKEY SMELL.. HUM OF THE CROWD.

THE PROFESSOR AND HIS BOOK EDITOR ARE IN A BOOTH AT STAGE LEFT OF THE BAR. THEY ARE DRIKING TOBY BEER.

EDITOR (WHO IS DARK, BEARDED AND WEARING GLASSES)

What kind of a place did you take me to? I thought you said it was a swell British pub.

THE PROFESSOR.

It is. But all these Scotsmen, mostly just off the boat, have all taken over. Most of them out of
Glasgow, looking for a new life. I guess old habits die hard. They come here looking for a
woman or a fight. They'll take either one.

THE EDITOR
So what did you ask me out for? Sounds like something's very much on your mind. It's so
smoky in here. (WIPES FOREHEAD)

THE PROFESSOR:
It's smoky in my head, John. Right among the pillars.

There is this woman....


THE EDITOR
Oh yeah. Always "this woman." Most men, when they get divorced, find another woman. With you, it's one after another. You're right off the scale.

THE PROFESSOR
No. This one is different. Way different situation.(HE RAISES HIS GLASS AND TAKES A
LONG DRAUGHT.)
Got this problem. I was more thoroughly loved last night than I'd ever been before. Yet somehow, I didn't finish.
She came to me without reservation. Yet I did not complete the act. I feel somehow that I had
not been a full man. I had not achieved completion.

THE EDITOR
David, David, David. You know that old bit out of Johnny Carson. Where this guy brings in this motorized
unicycle, which he calls a "Wheelie"?
Some days you just can't get your wheelie to work.

THE PROFESSOR
No, it wasn't anything like that. Seems she poured sand into my wheelie. Fucked me up.


THE EDITOR TAKES HIS OWN DRINK OUT OF THE TOBY GLASS.


BEAT

THE EDITOR
...New one on me. It's usually you who is playing musical broads.

THE PROFESSOR.
It's different this time. She is married, her husband looks like a voyeur, probably a poof, and I'll
bet she's getting her real sex out of third guy if I know some women. I think she is just using
me for entertainment and a sounding board. ...I think she's on drugs.

THE EDITOR
Wow. You really pick 'em. Sounds like a story. Maybe you should write about it.


THE PROFESSOR
Jeezus, John. I really don't want to be in this play.
But I've got her smell. She seems right inside me. Ever been so horny your brain seems awash
with alligator sperm?

THE EDITOR.
Or so horny you could faint? LIke James Joyce, jacked off by a woman in a theatre and
following that woman around for most of his days?

THE PROFESSOR
You got the scenario. I guess that's why you're the editor and me the writer. Yep. Looks like it's
Professor and the Blue Angel. Poor old Professor Rath. Horny and confused as a mink on a sandbar. And crowing like a rooster while Marlene does everybody in town.

THE EDITOR (TAKES ANOTHER DRINK. HE SWATS AT A FLY)

This sound a bit different from Prof. Rath's situation. More bizzarre.
Can I say something?

THE PROFESSOR

Shoot.

THE EDITOR

Sounds like you've just stumbled on a houseful of pimps.

So what happened?


THE PROFESSOR

One day she walked into my creative writing class....

THE PROFESSOR IS INTERRUPED BY A WAITRESS WHO BTINGS MORE DRINKS. SHE IS BOSOMY AND THE PROFESSOR NOTICES.

"SHE FINISHES SETTING UP, THEY HAVE FRESH DRINKS, THE PROFESSOR IS ABOUT TO PAY, BUT SHE IS DISINCLINED TO TAKE THE MONEY AT FIRST.

WAITRESS:
Are you Professor Lohan?

PROFESSOR.
Why, yes.

WAITRESS
Therere's a phone call for you. At the bar. Do you want to take it?

PROFESSOR (LOOKS FIRST AT THE WAITRESS AND THEN AT THE EDITOR).

Oh, I guess I'd better...How did anyone know I was here?


THE PROFESSOR STANDS UP AND TURNS AROUND TO WALK OVER TO THE BAR. A LONE WOMAN IS
SITTING AT THE FAR CORNER, NEXT TO THE TELEPHONE. SHE IS PERCHED ON A VERY HIGH STOOL,
WHICH IS ABOUT TWO FEET AWAY FROM THE BRASSY, OAKY BAR. THE PROFESSOR WONDERS HOW
SHE CAN REACH HER DRINK, AND SHE IN FACT IS HAVING SOME TROUBLE WITH THIS.

THE PROFESSHOR HAS TO GET PAST THE FUMBLNG WOMAN TO GET AT THE PHONE. HE HUNCHES DOWN A BIT TO GET AT IT.
SUDDENLY THE WOMAN, WHO IS DRESSED IN A BLACK SKIRT AND HIGH HEELS, AND NOW SOMEHOW IMMEDIATEL"Y BEHIND HIM, WINDS HER LEGS AROUND HIM. FROM BEHIND. HE CAN"T GET AT THE PHONE. HE TURNS ROUND TO DISCOVER PANTIES.

MYSTERIOUS WOMAN
You've been doing some hard work, haven't you? I can smell the work and stress.

THE PROFESSOR (UNTANGLING HIMSELF, ONE KNEE AT A TIME. HE DOES THIS AS NATURALLY AS HE CAN, PUTIING AN ARM AROUND THE WOMAN'S RIGHT SHOULDER):

I think you're lovely. It's just that I have some business to attend to right now.

THE PROFESSOR KEEPS AN ARM AROUND THE WOMAN"S SHOULDER. HE REACHES FOR THE TELEPHONE WITH HIS RIGHT HAND.

THERE IS A DIAL TONE.
THE CALLER, PROBABLY TIRED OF WAITING, HAD HUNG UP. THE PROFESSOR TAKES HIS LEFT ARM OFF THE MYSTERIOUS WOMANJ, GIVES HER A HUG AND GOES TO MAKE FOR THE BOOTH WHERE THE EDITOR STILL SITS WITING FOR HIM. HE REJOINS THE EDITOR.

PROFESSOR
The woods are full of funny people.

THE EDITOR (NOW A LITTLE AFFECTED BY THE BEER THAT HE HAS ALMOST
FINIISHED:

Ummm. Wha..?

PROFESSOR
I don't know how to tell you this. It really reminds me of a joke, the one about the musician, playing badly all night, complaining over the actions of a disgruntled pervert who kept masturbating in the second row.

EDITOR
I don't want to know!

PROFESSOR

Lady at the bar. Almost attacked me.


THE EDITOR
You got confidence. That's what it is.

THE PROFESSOR SHRUGS.

PROFESSOR 9TAKES A DRAUGHT OF HIS UNFINISHED BEER)

Did you ever read a book by Frederic Exley, "A Fan's Notes"?

THE EDITOR
Of course. What of it?

PROFESSOR
It seems that Mr. Exley is disgusted over being a fan all his life, of loving the great football guy, The Gipper, of loving great authors.

But it was always somebody else that was great, never him."

There is another guy in this Celia's life. I can sense it. It's never going to be me.

THE EDITOR
Yep. You're like your archetype, I guess. Prof. Rath. Crowing like a rooster.

THE PROFSSOR TAKES A DEEP DRAUGHT. HE STANDS UP FROM THE TABLE, CAUSING
A GROAN OF CHAIRS. SUDDENLY HE CRIES OUT, AS IF COMPELLED BY SOMETHING
ALIEN IN HIM ABOUT TO GIVER BIRTH IN HIS VERY BODY....

Cuckarukakoo!

THIS CAUSES A STIR AMONG THE OTHER TABLES.

THE EDITOR (A LITTLE EMBARRASSED):
You sir, are a fucking nut. You seem possessed.

Get out of that situation. Walk away from it.

Walk! That's what you do.
You walk
.....end ACT I,, Scene 3 THE FIRE IN BRADFORD,
A TV Script by Ivan Prokopchuk
.............................................INTERMISSION.....................................................................

Monday, April 28, 2008

Lief Takes a Fall


THE FIRE IN BRADFORD

Act II. Scene Four.


INT. STILL IN LEIF AND CELIA' S HOUSE.
THE PROFESSOR IS SITTING ON THE C-SHAPED CHESTERFIELD WITH A LARGE DANISH COFFEE TABLE IN FRONT. CELIA IS SITTING ACROSS FROM HIM IN A CHAIR. SHE IS WEARING A FULL-LENGTH PAISELY DRESS. SHE HAS HER KNEES TOGETHER IN A VIRGIN POSE.
SHE IS NERVOUSLY SIPPING AT HER COFFEE. SHE CRADELES THE MUG WITH BOTH HANDS WHILE SHE SITS KNEES TOGETHER.

CELIA

I hope you don't think I'm a loose woman.

PROFESSOR

Celia, I've met some. You're not.

CELIA

We've been seeing too much of each other. Let's go back to the writing circle. Let's go out with other people.

PROFESSOR

What is that supposed to mean?

CELIA.

Come on. This opera. Tristan and Iseault . SHE PLAYS WITH HER CUP.

PROFESSOR.

Hm.

CELIA

David, I really like you. I don't want to go to work this morning. I don't have any friends any more. I like being with you.

PROFESSOR

So you tell me we should go out with other people. Say what you mean, Celia.

CELIA

I am very, very fond of you.

PROFESSOR

Uh, how could I tell? HE SMILES.


BEAT


PROFESSOR

Mutual amiration society.

THE PROFESSOR BENDS ACROSS THE TABLE AND KISSES HER.

SHE KISSES BACK..

THERE IS A SUDDEN CRACKING SOUND FROM A TRAP DOOR IN THE CEILING. A MAN'S SHOE CAN BE SEEN THROUGH THE NOW DISTENDED DOOR. A VTR CAMERA CLATTERS TO THE FLOOR, JUST BEHIND
CELIA, WHO STARTS.

PROFESSOR

What the hell.

LIEF(FROM OVERHEAD)

Celia, I can't find that insurance policy.

CELIA (PICKING UP THE CAMERA FROM THE FLOOR) SHE GIGGLES.

What were you going to do, photocopy it?
CELIA BURTS INTO LAUGHTER.

THE PROFESSOR IS TOTALLY BEWILDERED.

PROFESSOR

I thought Lief was away.

CELIA.

He was. But he came back early, in the middle of the night. You were asleep. Said he'd forgotten something.

PROFESSOR (WHO IS GETTING A BIT EDGY)

Forgotten what? To take videos of us?

CELIA

David!

SHE SUDDENLY RELAXES. SHE LEANS BACK, WITH LEIF MUMBLING SOMETHING THROUGH THE DISTENDED TRAP DOOR.

LIEF

Sorry I almost hit you witth the camera.
I still can't find it!

CELIA.

It's up on the pigeon hole. Stand up. See it?

CELIA (TO THE PROFESSOR):

Tacky, isn't it?

TIGHT SHOT OF DAVID'S BEWILDERED FACE.


FADE

............

Saturday, April 26, 2008

THE PROFESSOR FALLS SHORT


INT.NIGHT.

THE SAME LIVING ROOM WHERE LEIF AND CELIA LIVE IN HOLLAND LANDING.
CELIA IS SITTING WITH A BOOK ON THE C-CHAPED CHESTERFIELD. SHE HEARS A KNOCK ON THE DOOR.

FX: three knocks

VERY CASUALLY, AS IS HER WAY, SHE PUTS DOWN HE BON-BON SHE HAD BEEN NIBBLING ON, RISES AND GOES TO THE DOOR. CELIA IS BEAUTIFUL. SHE HAS HER BLONDE HAIR UP AS IF SHE WERE A BLACK PERSON, BUT THE HAIR-DO IS FRIZZIER, AND SOMEHOW GIVES HER A HALO OR A CLOUD-- NEAT LITTLE CORN ROWS. SHE IS WEARING VERY TIGHT QUAZI-ARMY SURPLUS DESIGNER TANK DUNGAREES, WITH THIGH POCKETS, WHICH ARE CLINGING TO HER FIGURE AS IF SHE WERE A HARP. SHE IS VERY PETITE. SHE MIGHT AS WELL HAVE BEEN THE KNEELING FAIRY IN THE l930's IVORY SOAP ADS, BUT IN l987.
SHE WALKS TO THE DOOR TO ANSWER. SHE OPENS THE DOOR.

IT IS THE PROFESSOR.

CELIA: ......................................Well. I thought you wouldn't come.

PROFESSOR: ...........................Nothing to get excited about. We're here because we're here.

CELIA HAS A GOOD LOOK AT HIM. HE IS SLIGHTLY DISHEVELLED AND LOOKS AS IF HE'D BEEN DRINKING.................................Uh. Lief is gone to Calgary on business. Looks like you've got me all to yourself.
Drink?

PROFESSOR.........................Oh yes! You are ever so lovely, but that Byron stuff about "drink to me only with thy eyes" is so much better with a shot of vodka.

SHE TAKES HIS COAT, AND DUSTS HIM OFF A LITTLE, AS IF SHE WERE STROKING A PET. SHE THEN PLACES THE COAT ON A CHAIR TO STAGE RIGH OF THE CHESTERFIELD.

HE IS STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LIVING ROOM. SHE GOES BACK TO HIM GIVING HIM A GENTLE STROKE AT ARONUND HIS BELT LINE, MOVES TO THE GLASSED LIQUOR CABINET TO STAGE LEFT, TO THE LEFT OF WHICH IS THE OPEN-DOORED KITCHENETTE WITH CEZANNE AND MILLET PRINTS ALONG
THE WALLS.

CELIA: (POINTING TO THE C-SHAPED CHESTERFIELD (SOFA).......................................................Sit down, David. Sit down.

CELIA:..................................................................................Here's your drink. I know you like vodka and tomato juice. (She avoids the term Bloody Mary).


THE PROFESSOR IS A BIT UNCOMFORTABLE. HE RUNS HIS FINGERS THROUGH HIS HAIR. HE TAKES THE DRINK IN HIS LEFT HAND.

CELIA (SITTING BESIDE HIM NOW TO HIS LEFT..................You came over. I didn't really think you would. You know, after what you' said over lunch. Lief and all.

SHE TOUCHES HIS ARM AND GETS UP TO TEND TO SOMETING IN THE KITCHENETTE TO THEIR LEFT.

CELIA.................................................................................You must be hungry.

PROFESSOR:........................................................................Actually, I ate in the pub.

CELIA:(POINTING TO THE GLASSED OVEN INSIDE WHICH EGGS BENDICT ARE THERE IN THEIR TUBS)...

Shall I turn all this down?

PROFESSOR.............................................Yeah. We can wait. Let's have a drink.

THE PROFESSOR CAN HEAR HER POURING HER WHITE WINE, JUST OUT OF THE FRIDGE.

SUDDENLY, A PROPOS OF NOTHING, SHE ALMOST LEAPS UPON THE PROFESSOR, CAUSING HIM TO NEARLY SPILL HIS DRINK. HE PUTS OUT HIS HAND TO STOP THE GLASS GYRATIONS, BUT CELIA IS UPON HIM, NOW PUMPING AND PUMPING AS IF IN A DRY HUMP.
THE PROFESSOR BRINGS HIS BODY OVER HERS, TO REVERSE POSITIONS. HE LOOKS AT HER FACE, WHICH SEEMS MADDENED. HE CRADLES HER HER LOVELY BLONDE HEAD IN HIS RIGHT ARM, HIS LEFT HAND MLOVING TOWARD THE ZIPPER OF HER TIGHT LITTLE DUNGAREES. NO PANTIES. HE IS SOON INSIDE HER.

CELIA (IN A WHISPER).....................................Pretty smooth.

CELIA SEEMS IN A KIND OF TRANCE WHILE HE IS STROKING HER.

THE LOTHARIO WILL NOW HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF THIS TEENAGE LOVEMAKING. BUT HE MAKES A MISTAKE. HE UNHANDS CELIA AND ATTEMPTS TO PULL DOWN HER DUNGAREES. BUT FROM THE CUFF ENDS!
NOTHING WILL COME OFF. HE SUCCEEDS IN DRAGGING CELIA UP AND DOWN THE CHESTERFIELD.
SLIGHTLY MADDENED BY ALL THIS, HE PULLS DOWN HIS OWN FLY, PUT HER MANICURED HAND ON HIS PENIS, WHICH HE FANCIES BY NOW IS THE SIZE OF TORONTO'S CN TOWER.
SHE MASTURBATES HIM, SKILLFULLY AND EFFECTIVELY.

SUDDELNLY SHE STOPS. SHE GOES TO KNEEL BEFORE HIM ON THE CHESTERFIELD. SHE IS BEAUTIFUL. A KNEELING MADONNA.

BUT HE PUTS A HAND ON EACH SHOULDER AND URGES HER TO STOP.

PROFESSOR................................How drunk are we? MIssionary, missionary. I am Father Brebouff!

HE TRIES AGAIN TO REMOVE HER TIGHT JEANS, IN THE SAME AWKWARD FASHION, BUT SHE MUST SURELY HAVE A RASH IN SEVERAL PLACES NOW. NOW, EVERY TIME HE ZIPS DOWN HER FLY, SHE GOES TO ZIP IT BACK UP AGAIN.

SHE GETS UP SUDDENLY AND MAKES A BEELINE TO HER BEDROOM, STAGE LEFT.

SHE RETUNS, THIS TIME IN A NEGLIGEE OF A BLUE COLUR. BUTSHE STILL HAS ON JEANS. THESE ARE ALSO BLUE AND NOW SEEM A LITTLE LOOSER.
SHE ISHOLDING A DRINKK IN HER HAND.

CELIA (WALKING TOWARDS DAVID)................................Hm. Here, I've got something here that will mellow your right out.

HE TAKES A SIP OF THE NEW DRINK. IT IS A GREEN COLOUR, LIKE CREME DE MENTHE.

PROFESSOR (IN A SUDDEN HICCUP).............................Holy Cow!

THE PROFESSOR'S EYES GO WILD. HE PASSES OUT.

LIGHTS: Dim.

BEAT

LIGHTS BACK UP

SHE IS ONLY IN HER NEGLIGEE NOW. SHE IS IN HIS ARMS, BUT HE IS NOT ENTIRELY CONSCIOUS. IN A DAZE, HE IS NOW FONDLING HER ERECT BREASTS WHICH PEEP THROUGH THE NEGLIGEE. SHE MOVES HER FACE OVER HIM, PUTS HER EYES RIGH T AGAINST HIS EYES.

CELIA..............................................................Do I remind your of your wife>

PROFESSOR.(WHO IS EXPERIENCING A CARTOON EFFECT, FOUR EYES BLINKING, AS IF BELONGING TO DONALD AND DAISY DUCK..................... ...."Yes you do, Celia. Yes you do."

THEN CELIA SUDDENLY JUMPS ON HIS LAP.

PROFESSOR (AS IF HE WERE A CARNIVAL BARKER................Doggie doggie!Buffalo, buffalo.

THERE IS A CLIMAX HERE OF SORTS. DAVID STOPS ALL ACTION.

CELIA GETS UP FROM THE CHESTERFIELD.

HE ALSO RISES TO STAND BESIDE HER.

CELIA (STANDING NEXT TO DAVID)..........................You know, you're not so tall in your socks.

CELIA( EYES HIM CRITICALLY),,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,I don't think I'll take any more courses from you.

SHE TURNS AND AGAIN GOES TO HER BEDROOM.

PROFESSOR......................................................I want to be in your bedroom. I want you to lie with me.

CELIA GOES TO STAND IN THE OPEN BEDROOM THE LIGHT STREAMING BEHIND.

NOT SURE WHAT TO DO THE PROFESSOR GOES TO THE BATHROIOM FOR A PEE.

HE RETURNS TO FIND HER STILL STANDING THERE, LIKE SOCRATES INA CATATONIC TRANCE.

HE THINKS HE HEARS A MAN"S VOICE FROM HE BEDROOM.

WHISPER FROM BEDROOM:................................Not very macho.

.....END ACT II, SCENE 3.

LIGHTS: OUT.





Friday, April 25, 2008

The Kiss and Ride


All mysterious hints lead to sex. And my Celia is always putting them out.
But what kind of sex and wih whom?
The plot thickes as the professor wonders about entering a menage a trois.
Or is it Menage a quatre? The Professor knows that there are at least two more players in this set piece. He could well be the cat who sank here.
ACT II, SCENE 3. INT. MORNING.

WE ARE STILL AT LIEF AND CELIA'S HOUSE.

THE PROFESSOR IS CURLED UP ON THE C-SHAPED COUCH. A COFFEE PERCOLATOR IS PULSING NOISILY. CELIA IS BUSY AT THE KITCHENETTTE TO STAGE LEFT.

CELIA (BREEZILY...................All right. Everybody up!Get it together!

PROFESSOR(WOOZILY): Wha.....

CELIA..........................................Rise and shine, David. We've all go to go to work.

CELIA HAS A MUG OF STEAMING COFFEE IN HER HAND. SHE WALKS OVER TO THE PROFESSOR AND GIVES HIME THE MUG. HE DOES NOT IMMEDIATELY TAKE IT. LIEF IS NOT IMMEDIATELY VISIBLE AT HIS SEAT AT THE KITCHEN TABLE.

THE PROFESSOR.....................
I can't have that coffee until I check to see if my cigarette is drawing properly.

CELIA (TOUSLING HIS HAI)......Wake up, sleepyhead. We're running late. We'll have to have our coffee on the road.


EXT. THEY ARE WALKING TOWARDS LES RED SUV. IN THE DRIVEWAY. HE IS ALREADY IN THE DRIVER"S SEAT STEAMING CUP OF COFFEE IN HIS HAND.

CELIA (WALKING TOWARDS THE VEHICLE WITH THE PROFESSOR.....................Sorry I couldn't give you breakfast. We usually just have coffee on the road.

THE PROFESSOR IS STILL HALF DRUNK. Jeesus. I think that this morning, I'd rather be poked in the eye with a stick than have breakfast anyway.

CELIA GETS INTO THE PASSENGER SIDE OF THE SUV AND SCRUNCHES AGAINST THE GEARSHIFT.
THE PROFESSOR, WHO SHOULD REALLY HAVE TAKEN THE REAR SEAT, SCRUNCHES UP AGAINST HER IN THE FRONT.
LIEF (LOOKING AT THE PREFESSOR, PAST CELIA:).........What's this? Musical broads?

THE PROFESSOR LOOKS AT LIEF. THE HUSBAND IS JEALOUS, OF COURSE.

CELIA: ......................................Going to the Kiss'n'Ride!

THE PROFESSOR, WHO IS A BIT GIGGLY. ...........................Do I get to kiss Lief too, as you drop him off?

CELIA....................................................................................Why don't you ask him?..........

LEIF IS JUST DRAGGING ON HIS CIGARETTE.

THE ROAD TO TORONTO FROM HOLLAND LANDING IS LONG. THERE IS NO FURTHER CONVERSATION.
FINALLY, THEY ARRIVE AT THE KISS AND RIDE ON FINCH AVENUE.

CELIA AND LIEF HEAD FOR THE CIRCULAR GLASSED ROTUND WITH ITS MANY DOORS LEADING IN FROM THE PARKING AREA. SHE KISSES HIM, AND RETURNS TO DRIVE THE SUV.

THE PROFESSOR EXPECTS THAT CELIA WILL DRIVE HIM TO HIS STUDIO IN TORONTO. BUT HE, FOR SOME REASON, DOES NOT WANT CELIA TO KNOW THE ADDRESS...

PROFESSOR......................Uh, Celia. Just drop me off at Bloor and Yonge. I've got some business there in the morning anyway.

CELIA..............................Your wish is my command.

THEY DRIVE. THERE IS NO CONVERSATION. FINALLY AT BLOOR AND ST. GEORGE, CELIA"S ARM CROSSSES HIS LAP AND LINGERS THERE AS SHE IS ABOUT TO OPEN THE PASSENGER DOOR.

CELIA..............................I Know this is all tacky and weird...But will you phone me?

THE PROFESSOR LEANS ACROSS THE GEARSHIFT AND KISSES HER CHEEK. JUDAS KISS.

HE LEAVES THE CAR AND TURNS AROUND TO SEE CELIA WAVING PRETTILY WITH HER GLOVED HAND.

DISSOLVE.





Wednesday, April 23, 2008

THE PROFESSOR GETS PEED OFF

THE FIRE IN BRADFORD.

ACT II SCENE ONE.

.............................


INT.
SUBURBAN-STYLE LIVING ROOM WITH A PICTURE WINDOW IN FRONT, THROUGH WHICH CAN BE SEEN TWO MOCK-CYPRESS TREES LIT BY LIVING ROOM LIGHTS. CELIA AND LIEF HAVE PLUMPED THE PROFESSOR ONTO THE MIDDLE OF A C-SHAPED CHESTERFIELD (SOFA).
LIEF IS HOLDING A DRINK IN HIS HAND.

LIEF
I don't want any monkey business, David. and you too, Celia. We brought you here because
you were tired. But I think I feel the room swaying. I'm going to have to go to bed. To
bed....And remember, David. No monkey business.

LIEF TURNS TO STAGE RIGHT. GOES TO WHAT APPEARS TO BE HIS ROOM.

PROFESSOR:
It's lonely down here.

CELIA
Is it?

VERY DELIBERATELY, SHE PUTS OUT AND OPEN PALM AND EXTENDS MANICURED FINGER TO THE SEAT OF WHRE SHE SAW THE TROUBLE TO BE.

PROFESSOR.(COVERING HER HAND WITH HIS)
Celia. You are a married woman!

CELIA
Lief has male friends. He has female friends. I have female friends. I have male friends.
We have an open marriage.

SHE STOPS THE FONDLING THE PREOFESOR, RISES, AND WALKS OVER TO A HI-FI TO THE LEFT OF THE PICTURE WINDOW.
SHE BENDS DOWN TO DISPLAY FOR THE PROFESSOR A
MAGNIFICENT PEAR-SHAPED DERIERRE. BENT DOWN, SHE SEARCHES THROGH THE
LP RACK AND COMES UP WITH A BOB DYLAN ALBUM.

FX. MUSIC: UP

Darkness at the break of noon
The hand-held toy, the child's balloon
Makes you understand too soon
There is no sense in trying

Suicide remarks are torm
From the fool's mouthpiece the hollow horn
Makes all to serve to warn
That he not busy bing born
is busy dying.

THE PROFESSOR IS WAKING UP!

HE IS MESMERIZED BY CELIA'S REAR.

PROFESSOR:
Celia. Your are beautiful. Can we turn off hat pop nihilism for a bit and put on somehing to dance to:

CELIA LOOK UP AT THE PROFESSOR, WHO IS NOW STANDING VERY NEAR.
SHE TAKE OUT ANOTHER LP.

IT IS THE ROLLING STONES:

MUSIC: UP.

Well I followed her to the station
With a suitcase in my hand
Yeah, I followed her to the station
With a suitcase in my hand
Whoa, it's hard to tell, it's hard to tell
When all your love's in vain

When the train come in the station
I looked her in the eye
Well the train come in the station
And I looked her in the eye
Whoa, I felt so sad so lonesome
That I could not help but cry

MUSIC: DOWN.

PROFESSOR

Robert Johnson.
You dig him too?

CELIA

Who's Robert Johnson? I just like Mick Jagger.

THERE IS A SEGUE TO HONKY TONK WOMEN.
CELIA TURNS UP THE LP. THE PROFESSOR TAKE HER HAND. THEY DANCE. BUT SHE
IS DOING IT SOMEWHAT STIFFLY, AS IF IN A RITUAL.

THEY STOP DANCING AT THE END OF HONKY-TONK WOMENj.
THE PROFESSOR BEGINS TO KISS HER, HOLD HER.

HE PICKS HER UP BODILY AND CARRIES HER TO THE U-SHAPED CHESTERFIELD.
HE TRIPS, BUT THEY ARE ALMOST ON TOP OF THE SOFA. HE ATTEMPS TO UNZIP THE FLY ON HER TIGHT, MAN-TYPE JEANS.

THERE IS A STIRRING IN LIEF'S ROOM

CELIA.
David, we can't. Not here. Not now.

THE PROFESSOR, WHO HAD BEEN BUSY TRYING TO UNDO CELIA'S FLY, IS NOW ON THE FLOOR BESIDE THE CHESTERFIELD. HE IS CLEARLY FRUSTRATED, BUT STILL AROUSED.

THE PROFESSOR
Yeah? Well what am I going to tell Omar here? HE POINTS TO THE BULGE IN HIS PANTS.

CELIA.
Omar had better take down his tent.

THE PROFESSOR STANDS UP AND RAKES HIS HAND THROUGH HIS HAIR.

CELIA
It's really late. I'd better go to my room. You can sleep here. The liquor cabinet is full.

SHE GIVES HIM A PECK ON THE CHEEK AND MAKES FOR HER BEDROOM STAGE LEFT.

CELIA
Good night.

SHE LEAVES THE PROFESSOR ALL ALONE.

LIGHTS. DOWN.

PAUSE.

LIGHTS BACK UP.

THERE IS A SCENE OF THE PROFESSOR HAVING A PEE IN THE BATHROOM NEXT TO LIEF'S ROOM.

HE HEARS VOICIES OFFSTAGE. HE HEARS LIEF' S VOICE. THEY SLEEP IN SEPARATE ROOMS, BUT SHE IS OBVIOUSLY IN LIEF'S ROOM, STAGE RIGHT.

LIEF.

So you get Dave over here to get you all hot, and then you come to me.

THE PROFESSOR CONTINES PEEING

SFX
SOUND OF PEEING.

LIGHTS: DOWN


.....END SCENE.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

"Didn't want to be in this play anyway." Heh


THE FIRE IN BRADFORD.
A TV PLAY
by Ivan Prokopchuk


ACT II


Scene One
............................

EXT. MAIN STREET, WITH LIEF'S TOYOTA SUV IN FRONT OF PARKING METER
CELIA AND LIEF HAVE THE PROFESSOR BETWEEN THEM. HE IS VERY DRUNK. THEY ARE ALL WEAVING TOWARDS THE VEHICLE.

PROFESSOR (WHO IS BABBLING)..................Thou shalt not covet they neighbours wife, nor his goods, nor his ass.



LIEF (GIGGLING AS HE TRIES TO HOLD UP THE PROFESSOR'S RIGHT SHOULDER):

Nor his ass?

PROFESSOR: ..............I know your're a fart smastard, Lief. I know you've read Kant . a Posteriori. .

One of Kant's propositions.


CELIA (WHO HAS THE PROFESSOR's LEFT ARM, BEGINS TO GIGGLE AS WELL):...........................................What did you just say?



PROFESSOR:............. Kant. Immanuel Kant. What did you think I said?...And if your pronounce Goethe like Goth again I'll never speak to you again. Goth indeed. Johnny Rotten. Johnny Rotten.

CELIA:.............................. You're lucky I like the things you say. Even the rude things.
.

CELIA'S HEAD IS NOW ALMOST UNDERNEATH THE PROFESSOR'S ARM. LIEF FUMBLES IN HIS RIGHT-HAND POCKET OR THE KEYS. THEY STEER THE PROFESSOR AROUND THE FRONT OF THE VEHICLE TO THE SIDEWALK. THEY OPEN THE BACK DRIVER'S SIDE DOOR AND DUMP HIM IN HE BACK SEAT. LEAF GETS IN THE FRONT DRIVER'S SIDE AND STARTS THE SUV. THERE IS A PAUSE.

LIEF CRANES HIS HEAD AROUND TOWARDS THE PROF, WHO IS DOING A REALLY BAD JOB OF LIGHTING HIS CIGARETTE. HE KEEPS MISSING THE TIP OF IT ALTOGETHER, AND SINGES HIS HAIR.


PROFESSOR:...........................................Jesus. It's a good thing we didn't buy any ice cream cones.
I would

have brained myself with this kind of aim.


LIEF:...... ..................................................There is an ashtray in front of you. Pull it back.

PROFESSOR::........................................... Fuck you. The world is my ashtray!


LIEF (TO CELIA, ALMOST WHISPERING):.......................This guy's a professor? He's not even middleclass. Listen to him! Boy, you really pick them!

CELIA: .........................................................................He's a brilliant writer.

LIEF:........................................ Well, I don't care if he's a brilliant writer. I'm from the west. I know we laugh at
Newfies here in Ontario, but over in Alberta, we used to call them Ukies. The guy's a boor, a horse's ass!


PROFESSOR:........................ I heard. But I think it's you who's the EQUUS man. Yeah, 'Double Your
Pleasure, double you fun. With Doublemint, Doublemint Doublemint Gum!' You're not at that stage yet, but there
was this young man in EQUUS who sucked the sweat offf horseswhile muttering advertising jingles. But you're
too intelligent for all of that. Yout just want to play kneesies with the prof. Hah. You wanna take the prof
to Bradford, where I hear sex outside the family or small animals is a novel concept. Notice back there that when
I tapped your kee to for emphasis,your moved right into my hand.


THIS BRINGS A LAUGH FROM LIEF. HE TURNS BACK TO THE PROFESSOR..

LIEF:...................................... Fast reflexes.

PROFESSOR: ................................. I don't know what you guys have in mind. Got horses at your
place? Cameras?

LIEF STARTS THE CAR AND THEY ARE OFF TO BRADFORD.




...end ACT II, Scene One

Monday, April 21, 2008

Moonlighting as a playwritght.


I was going to put what I have down below on to Pam's blog, but it would have been self-serving and somewhat repetitive, as Pam already has my Fire in Bradford novel. She is the Quarks' unofficial agent and is networking between LA and Australia in hopes of getting some of our projects out. It is hard work and we all love Pam for it.

But anyway, I will put in the first section of my Fire in Bradford here in a kind of quasi-play form. Some of you have read it already, but there is no question that the Professor and the Blue Angel makes fairly interesting reading, even today. Ah If Marlene Dietrich would have been around to play my blue angel Celia in the book.

God, I love the idea of the f*cked - up professor.

THE FIRE IN BRADFORD.

Set:
A really cool English-style pub, replete with oaken bar, general Tudor wood-and-plaster atmosphere, oak tables in front of the bar. There is a dart board behind the tables. But first, there is voice-over. There is a picture of Celia in full Marilyn Monroe mode on the wide screen in the bar.

NARRATOR:

I was a somewhat raffish professor who enjoyed drinking with his students afte class. I had no objection at all when she asked through another student if she could come over to one of the pub nights, and could she bring her husband.

Scene:
The professor, slightly grizzled and a dozen students revelling at three tables that had been brought together. Two people, straight out of a Conde Nast fashion publication approach the table. It is Celia and Lief.

VOICE OF NARRATOR:

Celia appears before you while you are rolling your own cigarettes, the 1920's Vogue face, the bobbed hair, a beautiful flapper not yet fallen into the rye on one September day, though I would know in future September days that she had a hunger for opium and cocaine, and that would make her thoroughly modern, thoroughly like My Lady of the papers.

Hash papers, and hot knives.

I was in fact a newspaperman with a predilection for French authors because they were so maddeningly thorough, that mark of real writers, and so well did I get to know 20th century authors in French that I soon got to teach a nigh course in it. Ah, that French penhant for the absurd, the splayed-out mysticism of an Andre Malraux and that incredible clarity of image and idea that only the French writers possess--and they'd be the first to tell you. The French are somewhat superior and they know it
.Enough that I was a teacher of French authors and she walked in one day with no hint of the Vogue beauty that I would later get to know, no inkling as to the heaviness of spirit that would later come to oppress me, no clue at all as to the beautiful woman who resided in the suburban Mam's bib overalls she used to wear to my classes, the little white tee shirt with the apple on it, or the closely cropped hair of the liberated, funky, suburban young woman.

Ah, but there is another visitation right now, a flashback from the days I'd imagine myself a Goethe scholar, abandoning French altogether for Goethe's beautiful Katschen Sheonkopf.
Lief is handsome as the night is long, like a Eropean Wayne Gettsky, with continental manners, but no accent at all.Celia is in a silk minidress, long sleeves, all a natural silk colour. She has on lavender eye contacts which give her a surreal, elfin look .

Canny Lief (The Lucky?) says nothing as we offer seats to him and Celia. He has a Wayne Gretsky smile.
Celia: This is my husband, Lief.
Lief, still silent and smiling, shakes the prof's hand. There is a meeting of eyes. Lief's appearance is highly attractive. He is a tall man, visibly so, even when sitting down in his Maple Leafs jersey.
There is sudden activity stage right. Tha band has come in.
Lief: Oh. It's going to get busy. I'd better get the drinks for me and Celia before they start playing.
Lief rises.
The prof has a good look at Celia. She is stunning. Hair short and bobbled, cut straight across the back like a Twenties flapper. She has on blue eyeshadow. Yes, the blue eyeshadow. Dead givaway. She is available.
Lief returns with a pint of Toby's beer and a glass of white wine for Celia.
Lief:
Celia has told me a lot about you. Seems you are really into Flaubert...and even Tolstoy in translation.
Prof: "Yeah, I find myself amazed that hardly anybody in the class, largely women--look at them all--has ever read real novels instead of the Harlequin trash all around them....And how they themselves love to write Harlequin--I have seen the samples. My god, what active imaginations! No wonder they're in a French Novels class. They all seem to think their problems will end, just by leaving old hubber. Madame Bovary,.
Lief masks a wince, by a smile and a nod; Ah well. It's l986.Prof: Kinda makes you think you're in a movie. Everybody's lost her sense of history. This will certainly pass.

Pause.

Professsor: Think I'm going to ask one of these lovely students to dance. Excuse me for
now.
Lief to Celia, sotto vocce: I've never met a man like him before. So like Inspector Cluseau from, you know, the movie. Shot in the Dark.
Celia: Shut the hell up, Lief.
The professor is back from his dance. He sits down.Lief, a little miffed; excuses himself .Celia and the professor face each other across the hastily-wiped, oaken table.
Celia is beautiful, right down to the fine blue veins on the back of her legs. Swedirsh colouring.
The professor bends across the table and kisses her plain on the lips.

Lief, just opening the washroom door, notices. He sits down. Celia and the prof have locked eyes.
Prof (heated now by the booze) You have a wonderful wife. Do you mind if I ask her to dance?Lief appears totally unruffled. He holds an open-palmed hand out. He is truly sweet as a pimp.
Celia and the prof dance. And dance .Back to the table, and back to the drinks.There is now a smokiness to the pub.The professor is describing great sprawling French novels in the smoky air. He is starting to brag, throw wild promises to the wind, descibing the novel in French he hoped to write one day.
Lief: What do you think of Balzac?
Prof: The Master. The absolute master. The Shakespeare of the novel!
Lief: My favourite. In French or English. I especially like The Fatal Skin. Where the owner of the wild ass' skin can have all the wishes, until the skin shrinks to nothing.
Prof: Yeah, don't I feel that way right now?
The band is playing something uncharacteristic, the piano players lapsing into Debussy.
Prof (looking straight at Celia): Passion flower.
Lief: Passion flower indeed. He avoids sarcasm. The prof asks Celia to dance once more. Celia (in his ams): Lief can't do anything. He just can't do anything any more. I'm worried that he's turning gay. I've told him....He just can't seem to do anything.
Prof (Now half drunk and self-confident with it): Nah. Get him some French pornography.

There is great revelry, dancing and noise in the pub. Three Scotsmen, in full kilt, knock over two beer pitchers and are asked to leave. The professor knocks over his own glass.
Celia: "That's tacky, David." She had called him by his first name. But then Lief too, knocks over an entire pitcher, to loud applause from the others. They are all drunk.
Celia (wiping some foam from Lief''s jersey) I like David. I think we should take him home with us.An indulgent nod from Lief.
------end Act One

OMIGOD. I THINK I'M SCREWING THIS UP.AH WELL, MAYBE ACT II WILL BE MORE SKILLFULLY RENDERED...Monique, lady playwright,
from England: Help!

##

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I want to make up withchoo


Well, Freddie Mercury is dead, but not before addling my mind with something like "Death on Two Legs", which is pretty well the way your feel in the first stages of divorce.
So all right. I walked through it.
But now another nagging song from Queen that I can't get out of my head.
It is insidious.

"I want to make up
I want to make up
I want to make up

Witchyoo


Who is beaming this stuff my way?
My ex-wife, realizing that I'd played some riffs on my daugher's guitar, said something like, "You let that rake play your guitar? I hate the man."

Still, I keep hearing the new Queen song.

I want to make up
I want to make up
I want to make up
Wit chyouu


It's sort of a zapped -up piano boogie run, very repetivive, and I can't get the thing out of my head.

I want to make up
I wanna make up
I wanna make u
With you
.

I haven't touched the guitar for some time, but every time I hear a good riff, I want to get right on the fingerboard and try it out.

It's like watching Jimi Hedrix. You know youll never, ever be that fast, but at least you can imitate the actions of the tiger. Bang on the E chord twice and then go the Lightn' Hopkins way to find that blue note in the middle.
But then Hendrix is all over the fingerboard. About all I would be good at would be something out of his tablature. To wit.

Smashes guitar on amplifier.
Takes Bic lighter out of right-hand tight-pants pocket.
Drops lighter.
Picks up lighter and can of lighter fluid.
Pours lighter fluid over smashed guitar.
Sets this kindling on fire.

Tablature. For something missing in the sheet music
But lord, this is too much information.

I wanna make up
I wanna make up
I wanna make up
Withchyooo.

Went to Queen's web page but they don't want to part with their lyrics without me signing in.
I want to sing "I want to make up,"

Flick my bick
Crack my spine.
Oh to be John Prine.

##

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! here comes my wagon


Seems around here everyody's on the same wavelength.

Mention pyramids and psychology and somebody's bound to speculate on aliens, though the truth is probably more prosaic.
Those weren't aliens, those were antique Ukies, Scythians. If those little garlic- snappers could invent the wheel, pi and the pyramids couldn't have been far behind.
The Scythians came down from the Caucasus into Mesopotamia l7,OOO years ago. Everybody in the same Mesopotamian hot tub after the flood. In India,t he black Dravidians were replaced by Aryans.And Greece was already turning Alpine and white, heretofore being dark-skinned and Mesopotamian. Lot of migration back and forth.
Trouble was with the horse. It hadn't evolved far enough, and it took a whole herd of them to pull a chariot.
More like dog team..

What is this? Art Bell?

Nah. Just me trying to fight off the alcohol chucks. It is far from noon, and I dasn't have a drink, though along with W.C. Fields, I'm sure it's noon somewhere.
To have a drink or not have a drink at ten a.m.
My friend, journeyman lush says, "Should there be any doubt?"

Well, put in the time tapping away. There is a full moon tonight, it will leach out all your resolves, make you a quivering neurotic all over again and all progress will seem to stop....Keep telling ouselves, "I've got to be better than this", and most times we are. No matter what social bullshit there is in the air, the rules are timeless.
Character is everything even among hippies, and they too pick up discipline and get into the stock market or something clever like that. That or vegetate or even die. I notice that in the Sixties, there were so many abnormally tall, lonely, frightened angels in army overcoats walking around. Christs in stormtrooper greatcoats. Wonder where they all are now.Dead, probably.
Said Ray Davies of the Kinks, "I wonder what became of the Rockers and the Mods.
"I guess they're all making it, they've all got steady jobs.
"And I wonder where they all are now."
I do worry about Ray Davies. He has this 6 1/2 inch smile and he keeps writing songs about picking up drag queens. Lola.
Ah well. Genius hides in the strangest places

In l974, Professor Irwin Thompson of Ontario's York Univeristy put forward the theory that society's captain had been killed and the crew had taken over. This accounts for all the murder, mayhem and total moral breakdown in society. The family is all but destroyed and only the babysitter is in there pitching in. Break the family, and you can lead the poor confused bastards by the nose. And the moguls do.
So now with the family undermined, people go into strange cults. Not fully matured psychologically they go along with charismatic "churches" and cult leaders, and even today, they get into communal farming and polygamy. What strange shapes arise when the captain is dead.
But then the Fifties were no screaming hell either. Earth's gravitational field knocked out for a full fifteen minutes because of all the A-bomb testing, and the Strontium 90 is still around, giving us cancer and all those other things that must surely make the medical-industrial complex salivate.

Our cat is such a Pfizer,
Oh dear me.

Saudis knock down the World Trade Centre and Bush and Cheney play into their hands and attack Iraq.
Brings to mind the story of the viper and the stork.
The stork will try to harpoon the viper, but the snake is fast and cunning.
Eventually, the stork will tire, approach exhaustion
He can then be dispatched with a single bite.

They are bleeding America unto exhaustion and Msrs. Bush and Cheney took the bait, hook, line and sinker
First you kill the captain and then be led by fools in the crew.
And yet they will not learn.
"Gotta win against the terriirists!"

And then you go over and give King Fahd a blowjob.
Fer to keep the price of oil down
Have you been to your local gas station lately?
Effendi!

And now all the auto plants are shutting down and an entire middle class is desttroyed. We have become like Spain, Only an upper and a lower class. And there is no noblesse oblige.
Loading your cattle onto an airliner, because there is nowhere else to put them if you are trying to get them to market. Your seatmate may be a goat. Is he strapped in?

It is miracle that a man like Obama has appeared on the scene.
Just don't put him into any motorcades.

The plutocrats have ruined America.

Getting to be like Canada now. Constitution? We ain't got one.
To find out what your bill of rights is, you have to go to a constitution commitee, and that's under the auspices of the government in power. An now, it's very right-wing.
O Canada.
Human sacrifice after all these advances, to have been the peacekeeper of the world, and now sacrificing its soldiers in stupid Afghanistan.
Get out! Yesterday!
Okay. Uncle Tommy was a commie, but our own New Democrat Jack Layton is saying the same thing.
Parliament now has blood on its hands, and it's just a matter of time now before we become a target outselves.
Who killed Canada?
Probably started with Trudeau and now Mr. Harper will finish the job.
And the Liberals are headed by a peasouper who appears to have no clue at all.
There are other factors, but some things you can't write about.

.....end rant.

Well, how're we doing? Hey, it is eleven now, only one hour to go.
Feel proud of myself.
And you should too, Sunday morning imbiber, because it will soon be noon.
Hah. So late do we learn that what good is happiness? You can't buy money with it.

But they have taken all the money.

Oh what the hell. They'll just print some more.

What has been done to us?
Makes me think of a stupid song I learned in the Air Force, to the tune of Frara Jocka:

I am crazy
I am crazy
So are you
So are you.
Happy little moron
Happy little moron

Ho Ha Hoo.

And:

Ding, ding ding ding ding here comes my wagon
I can hear my keeper calling me
Just like the nuts that fall
I'm a little cracked that's all
Ding, ding ding ding, here come my wagon.
My twuck.

............Well, it's really got to be time for a drink.


Ein prosit.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Temptations of St. Anthony


There are times when I wish poor St. Anthony would have gotten laid and gotten it over with.
To stay pure and holy he would sometimes become a flaggelant, cut himself with glass, or jump into a rosebush.
"Get the f*ck out of my rosebush, Tony!" an irate campasino would yell. "Who do you think you are, Jesus?
Ah, poor Tony. A saint for sure, but but is was one earthly hell of a way to go.
Today, all he will have had to do was get a computer and spend a few delightful hours.
But who knows. Maybe Ron Jeremy might excite him.
"Catch you, Tony, you get a piece of this."
Saints generally have high intelligence and low sexual drive, but St. Anthony really had to keep that cobra down.
(Oh-oh. I am flirting with blasphemy. The nuns would not be happy.
Neither the priests).
A joke at the half-way house. "What do priests get?"
"Nun."
Actually, in the course of my descent into bumhood, I did meet a Franciscan monk, somewhat defrocked.
"Franciscans are the hippies of the Catholic church.
"Bishop came over one day to visit.
Monk went over and said, "How're ya doin', Phil?"
I can just see if the Pope were to visit this monastery.
"Ratsinger, huh? Makes me think of American Idol.
"What'd Randy say.
"Isn't that Simon creepy?"
Franciscans are nuts.
Still, there is definitely something in the story of St. Anthony.
Enough to inspire a freelance genius like Dali
to paint a marvellous vision of triumph over the flesh.
So one must be chary of notions of blasphemy. The saints were certainly bigger people than ourselves.
There is, in fact a gathering roll of thunder while I persist in my foolishness here.
Something prescient in old St. Anthony, certainly St. Francis, probably the word's first animal rights activist.
Would have gotten the old seal-bottom seal of approval today. No clap.
Ah, the do-gooders and the Newfies.
With two sealers dead in the current hunt, it was really bad form of Greenpeace to say,
in efffect, that a herd of untouched seal is worth any number of Newfies.
Now this is sin.
And I'm all for St. Anthony.
And St. Francis of Assisi too, for the activists have a point.
But in the current seal hunt, I think Greenpeace should flaggelate itself.
##

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Quarks, my cheerleaders, always there when you're down


"Nervously buttoning and rebuttoning his buttons of words."

Jesus. I had to take a Slavics course at the U of T to pull that one out.Ukrainian poetry.

Isn't that like a lot of us? Specific vocabulary of maybe 200,000 words, not all of them in English, all jumbled up in our heads, sometimes entire phrases in French, passages of novels, and bits out of Tosltoy about rottting czars and Boyars. The Russian word for death is smiert, which sounds much stinkier than ours.
The answer, of course, is always laced with humour, as the truth often is. "Death is Nature's way of slowing you down."
Nervously buttoning and unbuttoning his buttons of words.
I think that Tolstoy came just behind Balzac and that noble frog too had quite a bit to say about not so much words, but about a poor writer going through his entire wardrobe in hopes of finding a sou in a breast pocket-- fer to find something eat.
The Fatal Skin (Wild Ass's skin?) that neat little novel of he skin that spawned money--but it kept shrinking.
Just like Balzac on his income. Had to move from place to place to avoid his creditors.
Hey, this, at least I'm good at.
Balzac had a Ukrainian mistress who was married.
Ah here too I have some skill.
Oh if I had a Wild Ass' skin. Just rub it an watch the dollars wafting out.
Fact is, I have had a habit of falling into heaps of wild ass' skins. Rich father. Rich wife. What the hell.
But the magic skin does shrink, and now there is hardly a hair left.
Father-in-law used to say, "If you keep spending that capital, you will have to work!
Omigod. A fate worse than death.
Work? Whattayadoin' to me?
There is a series of cartoons by the l7th century William Hogarth, A Rake's Progress.

In it , Norman Rakewell inherits a fortune from his father, spends it on clothes and whores and ends up "piss on a plate", in the language of sodiers. He hopes to recover his fortune by writing a play, going through his own nervous buttoning and unbuttoning of words, and finally produces a play. But nobody wants it.
Sound like you, Bunky?
Failing at the play, Rakewell marries a really ugly woman, but he blows her fortune too.
Hah. The final indissoluble antinomy had been reached. Broke again. Goes nuts. Ends up in Bedlam, shaved bald, one hand and one leg chained to a wall.
Rake's progress.

Well, there have been times when I very nearly threw turds at my keeper.
"I am a rake," I tell the shrink. He shakes his head.
"You are Cindarella. You need a fairy godmother."
That night I got a call from another writer. "Ivan, this is your fairy godfather, and I've just called to....
"F*ck off, John. Don't know why I even told you."

Egad. Fairy godmothers. Eight of them in a row.
Had it not been for my rep as a writer in York Region I would have had none of them.
Stuck with John Simpson. Fairy godfather.

From my earliest recollections, women have made a fuss over me. "You have legs like a girl."
"Yes, fine, but I wish the rest of me were as good."
Eldonza the Whore was not so kind. "Most men have enough to choke a girl."
"Yes, but you're still with me, aren't you?"
There is an old Air Force joke. "You get her to pee, and then swim upstream like a salmon."
Wife used to say, "Ivan why are you so crude?"
"What do you mean by that?"
"You went up to the hostess at that boring party and yelled out, just for effect: "Well s*ck a fat man's dick!"
"Picked it up in Texas. Texas crude."
"You always embarrass me!"

Poor woman. Married to Zorba the Geek.
"You're an asshole."
"Writers are supposed to be assholes. Yes. Even Hemingway."
Well. Here I thought I had married F. Scott Fitzgerald and ended up with Donald Duck. At least you can walk home in the rain." Clearly, the honeymoon was over.

Well, here am I all alone. How did I get to be all alone?
The fatal skin. There was not a shred left.

Nervously buttoning and unebuttoning my button of words.

Ah but then there is a bevy of Quarks. One is not really alone. The Quarks come when hope is gone.
We in our club are interconnected. Can she bake a cherry pie, Billy Boy, Billy Boy? Smarten up, Ivan!

Still I am deep into millinary and fasteners. Buttoning and unbuttoning my buttons of words.

Now is the time for all good men (women?) to come to the aid of the party.

Look up at the sky. There ride the beautiful and sprightly Quarks.

Muses. Real ones with real names. They even comment on this blog!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Rococo, Baroque, and, yes, broke and on the road.



Have you ever tried writing a novel? It is impossible. So you go through your files and come up with crap like the following:


While in the Air Force, we would have little memory aids when doing routine checks on station readiness.


For instance, we had to check the state of the tower, the lights, air-to-ground facilies, radar and all that.

These thing had to be itemized in your head by memory. You went Tower, Lights, Air Control, GCA, and so on down the line. You could not miss a single check.


So I would make up a little aphorism in my head, in which there would be the first letter of everything I had to check.

Mine went, Tom Loves a Girl, but he Rapes Repeatedly.


Tower

Lights

ACA/ Ground control

GCA


See?


Read the the first capital of each function. Tom Love A Girl...


Had a similar system to organize my blog drafts...Hey here is one that can be resuscitated!


Fact is, I am too hung over to give you a blog today, so I'll just sort of fill in the blanks on what I'd intended to talk about. So here goes:



Forty is a time to lose your adolescent self, but we don't.

Especially we men. O Lord we don't
So what if your wife is pregnant for the third time, so what if your son is challenging you to foot races that he is now starting to win, so what
if the people at work seem like droids, devoid even of common sense as they compete so fiercely for a management position that could have been filled by a chimp.

You want to get out to feel wonderful again, to be wonderful again, to be the athlete, to have any number of beautiful lovers, yeah, to be the cock of the walk you seemed to be just scant years ago.

First line of George Orwell's Coming Up for Air:

"Marriage to the joyless Hilda was becoming a nightmare for George Bowling."

You feel that you are George Bowling, and you don't even bowl, but that is certainly what it feels like to you, George Bowling, golfer, respectable citizen, DagwoodBumstead , a little bit afraid of Blondie who is also nearing forty and is for the first time discovering the sharpness of her wit, and that she is not all that happy in this domestic crapcan either. She too, might be scrambling throught the Yellow Pages looking for Dr. Kavorkian.

Is this all there is?

Marriage and I was not ready.

First child and I was not ready.

Second child and I was not ready.

Stress job at the college and I was not ready.

Wife knocked up again, and I sure as hell am not ready.


Where the hell are the three beautiful novels about Toronto when Toronto was so fine?

You gave up three beautiful novels about Toronto to teach students how to parse sentences.

Well, at least you felt useful. Poor students were largely idiots, the products of "open concept" learning, a cop-out if there ever was one, of letting the Alpha kids run things while you smoked in the faculty room.

You had met the head of the department, who would communicate only by videocam and pride himself in not being "a grammarian."

Well what the f*ck are you doing as head of the English department? And where's your sheepskin? Sneaked into community college teaching after having been an announcer for a Montreal radio station now defunct. Sir George Williams university for a semester, and you screwed that up too; those who can't, teach; those who cant teach, administrate.

You see the youngish colleagues around you and they are all the same way, a restlessness, a questioning of everything, a doubting of everything. "I know I want something, need something, but I don't know what the hell I want."

Garden variety mid-life crisis.

This is the time to pull ahead of the pack, this is the time to make you statement, this is the time to write that goddanm novel. You gotta do it by forty.

If you don't you never will.

Oh sure, there will be the palliatives, the little article in the local paper here and there. But the Big Book,she is not writ. Youngsters all around you cutting huge furrows, while you stuggle with the jubjunctive and the indicative.

"Take a sabbatical," says the Dean. "Fuck you," you mutter to yourself.

But you do take the sabbatical.

You behave foolishly.

You come back with an unfinished novel, even though the mighty presses are poised to roll at your command. The college has all the offset equipment and a huge budget. It was understood that you, as a star in the English department, was going to produce something fine. they had agreed to print your nevel on your name alone.

"Give us the book."

But there is no book, merely a first draft.

And you'd picked up a dose in Mexico.

You fuddle. You fudge.

Your wife wants to divorce you.
You can't concentrate on your teaching. You are not tenured, so everyone is watching you. The evaluations come in. Not doing such a hot job.
And there is someone new sitting at your desk now.

You start all the way down at the bottom again.

Rumpelstiltskin.

The students are still there, under the Chesnut tree, some even giving you applause as you pass, you had been a pretty good prof, but you are starting to know sin as not just an abstract. The teaching nuns were right. When you are pure, you have the strength of a hundred men. You've lost the strength of a hundred men because your heart is flirting with pure evil. There is a snake in the garden, and you'd had a scoff.

Everybody in the world is after you immortal soul and some woman has got it. She is not your wife.

You thought you had pain before, but this time it's triple. It's not ennui, not boredom. You are about to lose everything you had.

And you do.

Lost the old tenure.

Losing wife and family.

Isn't forty a shit-kicker?

"It gets better on the other side," says Jung.

"Where? When?

And then it suddenly become clear to you.

You somehow sell your book.

It is published before you hardly know it.


Back on the street again. Back on Boogie Street.

"I am an artist, Martha," you say to your wife.

"Oh yeah? Here is the vacuum, artist. Get busy. What were you doing galavanting areoud Mexico thesel eght months while I took care of the childen?"

Alanis Morisette is on the radio: "I am here. To remind you of the mess you made when you walked out the door..."

"What is your problem, you ask the wife.

"You," she says.

Briefing for a descent into hell.

And only a year ago, you thought you were in a nightmare.


Hank Williams died at twenty-nine, after achieving seventy years' worth of any singer's normal career.

A false goodbye, a life is shattered.
There lies the story on the rose.

And Hank Williams did it all in his twenties.

Gone by 29.

What is the message here?

A king like Bill Clinton could get away with it.

Another king like Hank Williams could elude it for a time.


Ah.

Tom

Loves

A

Girl,

But

He rapes

Repeatedly.


Poor Picaro, carrier of the pike.


Picaresque novel for you.


Art exacts some price!

-30-








Monday, April 14, 2008

My bucket's got a hole in it


We no sooner get our most profound personal revelations until we peddle them to the people in the streets.
The artist thing.
Suffer damnably. Weep.

But keep one eye open to see if anyone else is watching.

This, of course, can be a dangerous preoccupation as we fix on the stars and stumble into wells.

Those wells are very deep sometimes and, as luck always has it,the guy on top of the well will probably be an asshole. "What? Did I hear 'help'? Hey, you're down there, huh? Gee it must be awfully uncomfortable for you.
"Can't help you right now. I'm having my lunch."

I swear I am somehow talking about my immediate family. "Drown you bastard!"
"Says older sister: "Your books don't sell because they're dull."
Brother-in-law says he reads my books on the can.
Cindarella is having a hell of a time with the sisty-uglers.
And the frog prince, not fully mutated, sticks his head out of the carriage to snag flies.

So, it's probably best to keep our self-examinations to ourselves.
Just when we seem to get it together, you somehow meet an asshole. Like the time I last taught at an American university.
"Ya gotta pass me. Jesus. I'm on the GI Bill. I don't want to go back to being a gardener. "Well, I asked for a critical analysis of a gothic novel. Where is it?
"I didn't do it ,but I"ll give you a poem instead.
It was a good poem, but I'm positive he had used that tactic on another prof.
Even an economics prof will sometimes take a poem to explain, say, John Maynard Keynes' proposition for full employment.
I read the poem, but it was about gay love.
Well, Shakespeare has been known to write some rainbow sonnets.
Yet Curtis' poem had nothing to do with critical analysis.
He looked at me with fishy eyes.
I grabbed him by both ears and kissed him.
But he sort of moved into that.

"Ah well, Curtis, this is not a Judas. Go back to your barstool. I'll pass you this semester, but not next."
"I miss being in love," he said.
"Tell me about it.
"Now don't call the prof a fag any more."

Ah. Living proof that all english teachers are eccentric.

Says wife, "You've got to stop kissing men, Ivan."

Ah, but the novel, the novel. Years and years trying to develop a technique and always falling back to teaching, because the novel advances (save for one) just weren' there.

So one day I was fired by one department in a Toronto college.
"Go back to Seneca King. They'll take you back there.
But don't come here any more.
Ah. Stalin- type dean. He'd followed me everywhere I went in his car.
"I am watching you." Well, Newman, this time I'm watching you. Next time you're in the bottom of a well, I'm going to say that I will have my lunch first."
Drown, you bastard.

Revelations, revelations,some not too pretty.

Getting fired leads to an identity crisis.

I walk around malls, late at night.

In the parking lot, I find a watch. Good. This is an identity symbol

There is also a face-down playing card. I pick it up.
Jack of diamonds.

Hah!: Hoyt Axton, the great Oklahoma songwriter.

Jack of diamonds
Jack of diamonds, Lord
Well I know you
Well I know that your were bold.


You have robbed
my daddy's pockets
Of my mama's
Of my mama's hard-earned gold.

It's rainin'
And it's hailin' Lord

And the moon
And the moon it give no light.

Won't you tell me
Pretty darlin'

Why you never
Never ever write


Things come in threes. You get rejected on a novel, your wife wants a divorce and the campus dean fires you.
You want to talk to a cunning asp at the bottom of the well.

With my luck, there'd be a game warden up by the winch.
"Leave the snake alone."

"But I'm drowning."

"Ees not my job."

Cried the snake: "I am wisdom.It is not for nothing that you are in the bottom of the well. What does the discarded watch mean?
And that playing card, the Jack of diamonds?"

"Identity, I guess."

"OK. Now go write your song, Hoyt.

I felt the bucket starting to rise.

I grab it.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Borges is Borges, But I do give a sh*t for Rabelais



I think that either I or my computer has had a senior moment.

Wrote a draft for a blog, and where she goes, nobody knows.

It was about the late and great Argentine fabulist Jorge Luis Borges, who writes like nobody else. Five lines out of Borges equals five hundred pages of closely-reasoned thesis.

But I have lost the piece on Borges.

This time you'll get Ivan trying to imitate the actions of this Argenine jaguar, who, at different times can be a pussycat too.
Like:" Persistence and tenacity once inside the labyrinth, will lead straight to the minotaur."

Al could get gored?
Well, over here in Newmarket, I am certainly malled. (Clang!).

My memory, at one time pretty good seems to have swiss cheese holes in it, but I will, for a moment, try to write like Borges.

"As everyone knows (Yes, yes, of course. Of course we do!) the 14th century caliph of Baghdad had been put into a labyrith by his enemy Akbar qur Said.
The caliph prayed to God and was released from the maze. Then God put the caliph's enemy into a straight labyrinth, which, as everyone knows, is the cruellest, and most complicated."


Went to my prof and said I wanted to be Borges.

Said prof. "Borges is Borges. Find a plot and write to it."

Came back feeling very young and inexperienced.

"Come, Dick, come."

(Its right in Dick and Jane. I've bookmarked it!...serious scholarship, yout understand!)

This is how your brain feels when you've been intellectually flattened by writer like Borges.

Go into some kind of compulsive-neurosis. Automatic writing.

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party.

Bits of useless information are remembered:

Sextus was Rome's first censor. "Lines like 'Tibulsus eats it!' will be expunged, though it may yet be put up on a column as graffiiti , and Randal the Vandal, good at that kind of thing, will surely retaliate by scribbling "copularte tu! " on the bathhouse wall.
"We shall look out for him. We didn't invent cement just so that the vandal can scribbble on it."

These are the kind of thoughts that go through your head when you're in trouble as a writer.

Small wonder that a generation back Borges was invited to lecture at the University of Oklahoma.
This was a coup against all the Ivy League universities. God come to lecture.

Of course, none of this is going to make me write better.

Bragged to my editor Gerry Anglin at the Star Weekly. "I am taking university courses. I am very much into Borges. "Good," said Gerrry. "Is it going to make you write better?"
It didn't, but it seems that just hanging around with that top editor did transfer something of his style, though mine still leans toward the scatologist Rabelais: "If all else fails, seek communal relief."
You can't not give a shit for a line like that.

Rabelais again: "The battle is between the shitters and the retentives."

Goodbye cruel world.

I am going to pull the loo chain (again).

All this technology is driving me to empty the overhead tank.

I think I have tanked!.

##

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Hi there, Don!


I should have really saved the following blog in draft form, for it is a little mawkish and perhaps showing the writer as not the nice guy he seems to have been projecting.
There is a bad taste in my mouth over an experience with
Facebook. They are not scoundrels, but they are slippery when pressed to come to a client's aid.
Totally befuddled over their trying too many things at once and thereby befuddling any number of computers, they seem to lose their heads and blame it on you.
For example. "It is your browser. Yout need a new browser."
There is nothing wrong with my browser. The problem is at your end and you are making up for your incompetence, like all people not entirely up to their jobs--on externals.
What dos MY computer have to do with your on-again-off-again features. And the more features the Facebook client adds, the more confusion.
People all over my street are saying it.
So smarten up.
This is probably not the first angry anti-Facebook rant.
Practise listening. Or hire better techies.
So with the keen of anger still in my craw, I will now offer this failure of a blog instead of the success I had hoped to publish.
The novel shall contain six characters, but unlike in the case of Pirandello, ,it will not be Six Characters in Search of an Author.
I have heard it said that in the case of disastrous forays like my own into literature, there must be a final, conscious creative act. My characters will be tight, as if in in tin cans and I resolve to beno more be grist for my own mill, featuring yours truly as the hero.
This is going to take work.
Perhaps more than I can muster as I go from he cocky outpouring of a bright young guy to the halting exhaustions of an old man.
But they say that the crazy live almost forever.
I used to tell my mother that art is long and life is short, but she ansered with a very segacious "Not for all."
She should know. She is nearly 100. She has had all the wrong things happen to her, yet she survives and very nearly overcomes.
Ha. All the wolrd's great philosophers versus my mother.

So here we go again. Odysseus trying to recruit a new crew, having himself raved madly At verious times on a Hippocratic pallet.
Don Quixote, still bedevilled somehow by Eldonza the Whore, but the landscape seems somehow polluted by windmills and something has to be done.

Norman Mailer died recently. He was always trying to be the champion novelist, after Hemingway.
Well, I'd like to say he did a better job of emulation Celine, (who in retrospect might have been a stronger writer than the two of them).
But like Ezra Pound, Celine got on the wrong side of politics--as in his own way did Mailer?--and I, as an interested reader, certainly went the political route running for mayor twice with the same sad results.

Niccolo Machiavelli: If you lose, claim fraud. Heh.

Fraud, I say. Mountebanks, themselves frauds! The Mafia owns southern Ontario and one man with a lance can hardly make a dent.

Rum and coke. Booze and cooze. Classical ecomics does not work. But Mafia Miltie does. Need a girl?

The City of Milan has been trying to oust the Mafia for years.
So they all come over here. Hi there, Don.

I suppose the trick is to become so eccentric that nobody can compete with you.

At this I am good.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Catch-30


One of the most remarkable magazine articles I had ever read was Catch-30, by Gail Sheehy.

At that age, I wondered why I had seemed to be slowing down, feeling a bit logey and not quite so wonderful any more.

I pick up New York magazine, and, whaddaya know?

I had caught "Catch 30".

Thirty, said Sheehy, was the borderline bewtween youth and maturity. You who had enjoyed life and sampled some of its pleasures, will-- face it!-- die.
To someone bulletproof, like me at 29, this was depressing news.
I had taken a huge gamble on my novel, The Hat People, quit my job over it, and somehow, through the dance of the dialectic, fallen into a million dollars. The novel remained unpublished, save for one chapter in TOPIC magazine, but I was rich. Still, I had failed to win a New York agent. Rich and depressed.

Why? A paid-for house, two beautiful children and not having to work for the rest of my life.
Still, depressed.
Catch-30.
"Father says, "What is the matter with you. You not got enough to eat? Hah! Pepsi Generation. Good for shit."
(Ukrainian fathers tend to talk that way).

Yet here was Gail Sheehy telling me that it all starts to slow down at thirty, that you don't have the energy of a teenager any more, there is a biological slowdown and soon, you will be delving into more of life's mysteries.

Fact of the matter, I was totally seduced by Sheehy's writing style. It is almost poetry and seems to go past the usual intellectual wall in writing.
I guess marrying Clay Felker, top editor in New York and top magazine publilsher didn't hurt.
But the writing seemed all Sheehy's.

When I speak of New York Magazine, I don't mean the New Yorker, which, for the longest time seemed to talk of people living in the l930's, not having a crisis, like Catch-30.

Father used to say, "Not married by 30? Hah. Peple generation. Good for...."

Well, I certainly got married before this deadline decade. Family pressure. Girlfriend pressure.
I had proposed in a bathtub and my intentions were straight and clean.

Anyway, as I sat in my neat white cottage, case of beer usually in front of me, I had noticed that I could now guzzle down only seven beers instead of the usual 10.

Catch-30. The slowdown. Lost capacity.

On the typewriter to do some editing, my toddler is tugging at the paper in my typewriter and I complain to my wife over the frequency of my turns at babysitting.

An editor calls. I would at least be out of the house, working for the Star Weekly magazine, writing about baton-twirlers and inventors of the snowboard, chuckling over what Mordecai Richler had said about baton twirling: The Orangeman's flamenco.

" Still at today's equivalent salary of $60,OOO a year, I could put up with it.
Off that morning to interview Toronto's top hostess witht he mostess for the food and drink column.

Yet the novel was going nowhere. Rejected by a writer's co-op! Teased by House of Anansi Press because it might not be "our kind of book."
So what if you were a published writer. The folks at ANANSI were in fact using the word "sellout" quite a bit.
But didn't you sell out a little when your novels had to dovetail with Canada's public policy of political correctness and gay rights?
Well anyway. Catch-30. Doing stupid stories and slowing down all the while. And the rejection letters for your novel.
Ah, but there were emoluments. The Reader's Digest reprinted something of mine.
Got me a trip to Florida.
Yup. Right to Ft. Myers Beach to join others in a Reader's Digest world of rich middle-aged f*ck-ups.
Wow. Is this how it goes? I want to be a rich middle-aged f*ck-up at once!

Back home at the cottage, with the Thirties Crisis upon me, I was starting to feel like a real middle-aged f*ck- up.
Off to Toronto to see "Jacquea Brel Is Alive and Well", wherein an artist sings, "The Middle Class Can KIss My Ass."

Well, I'd sent a rewrite of The Hat People back to Anansi. Maybe soon, I would be able to sing the same.
But the news was nor cheerful:

"The character in your novel doesn't entirely avoid self-pity. He is a spoiled brat."
Hah. I am thinking to myself: "Besides that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?"

Clearly I had to stop using myself as my gristmill.

Animal stories. Yes. Animal stories. I wrote about my dog Gulliver and the frequent times I wanted to shoot the son-of-a bitch.

Got an award.

But still the Uncle Vanya feeling. Chekhov. Men who just slowed down and froze.
I was an unpublished novelist while my peers were ploghing deep furrows into Canadian literature.
And I was 30.
Bird in a gilded cage. Married and 30.
"Oh you poor thing," my wife is jibing.
"Look around at all your friends. Living in cramped quarters, drinking cheap booze. Making noises like writers, but not having published a line.
"I am an artist, Martha."
"Well, 'artist', here is the vacuum cleaner. I'm tired of picking up after you."
"But I'm a genius, Martha."

'Who says? I made it in the top percentile at Mensa."

"Oh yes. Mensa. 'Open the encyclopaedia anywhere and I bet I can spell the word.'
Encyclopaedia salesmen all and not an achiever in the crowd"

"So achieve, achiever."
The money had come from her family. She was really my patron.
Ah, Catch-30.

Wasn't until decades after, I would hear Alanis Morisette singing, "I Got One Hand In My Pocket, And The Other is Swingin' on a Cigarette."

But Alanis had written the song at 24.

And here I am at Catch-69, still trying to write one.

And the turtles have long since passed me.

From white rabbit to something like the Red Queen.

Running madly to stay in just the one place.

Egad. My wife used to call me a king.

Now she's using terms out of anatomy.

##

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Wild horses couldn't keep me away


My late father-in-law, himself a large writer, had advised me to do no itellectual work late at night.

"Otherwise you won't be able to sleep, all those ideas and griffons tumbling about in your head.

I never took his advice. With me, writing is a little like sex. Give it all you got unto sheer exhaustion.( {Heh, that's in the times when I had lots of sex, and not like today, the subject of an old in the campfire song, "the font of my passion had not yet become a waterspout."}).

The writer, more often than not, is a maniac. He's got to finish what the hell he is doing or worms will crawl out of the ground with their accusations: "Couldn't get it up this time, huh?"
Bad performances, in my younger days, were unnaceptable. You had to write straight and clean even as your tired brain seemed to toss and pitch helplessly beside you . Mental blocks? Never happened. You were a pro. Pros do not get mental blocks. So put the blocks to that writin' and take to mind that there is a reward at the end of it, sex or booze, it didn't seem to matter.

Ah the mystique. Deadly with women. Didn't matter what your sexual performance was like. You were, after all John Pope, rock columnist. You could make or break a band or any number of girl singers.
You could get somebody offed.
So many Mafiosi around the business.
You didn't work for Rolling Stone, but you could get people on the cover of Starweek magazine, and with a circulation of a million, that could be enough for both you and them.

How cool it was to be in Toronto's entertainment district, dining with bandleaders and movie stars. You were not a milllionaire, but your patron was. And all he had to do is just talk to you at the bank and you could get huge lines of credit.
So why did you give it up?
The intention had been to write a novel.
Earlier,you had produced something like a novel, but the critics (as if I had been doing rock?) missed it completely.

The rock critic work was heady and exciting. The platform boots, the Batman outfits. But you were still not the novelist you had hoped to be. You had produced a fragment. That's all. Just justification for having tried at all. Sure. You were ahead of the pack. Your friends had all hoped they could be novelists. Every jounalist wants to be a novelist.
Well, I had worked mightily and produced a mouse. But at least it was in print. And bankers had it up on their walls, for some reason. "We supported this guy!"

Ah, Simon Cowell, junior grade. And the sarcasm and ego to go with the job.

So one day you quit cold.
"Take a leave of absence," says the kindly editor. But you were hot stuff, and couldn't do that. Had to be a real ass and go the poverty and angry landlord route.

Six months later, you come back with your tail between your knees, asking if you can even operate the snack bar at the magazine office.
"Give you some entertainment features you could do around here," says the old editor. But just for the summer!"

Ah, stories of little baton twirlers forced by their fathers to practise in the basement, hockey mouthguard on so as not have teeth knocked out by richochetting baton. Interviews with Canada's original hippie,who takes you out for a game of snooker and takes all your money.
Fun project like interviewing a troupe of topless-bettomles rollerskating wrestlers.

Still, at night, the novel.
"You picked a hard thing to be, baby," the wife is saying.
"Stay with entertainment writing."

So I did. But the magazine folded.
Shut down. Rotogravure advertising wasn't carryin the glossy maganie any more.
Technology lag.
Offset printing won the day.
But I myself was offset.
Suddenly knocked out of the business.
Too many enemies on the way up. Fastest mouth in town. "F*ck-off, garbagemouth. Can't you see I'm busy?"

Reduced to factory labour.
Intead of being called sir, it was now "Skipper".
Ah, but the call came.
As it always did.
Got my own column in TOPIC Magazine.

But my novels kept dying.

Felt like an Aspirin carricature in MAD Magazine. "Tradest thou a headache for an upset stomach?

"Loren," i said to my wife. I am a failure.
"I know, "she had said "But don' t vorry, Ivan.
"There is enough money in the family for all of us."

So I became rich.

Ah, surely there was some way to screw this up too.

Fools are ingenius?

A rock song is playing in my head. "Ever since my masochisti baby left me, I"ve got nothing to beat but the wall."

Now I write all night, hoping to get some of that old glamour back.

And, lawdy, lawdy.

I just had my first mental block.

The father-in-law's warning. "No intellectual work late at nigh. You won't live long."

A seventy-year-old rock critic?

Stranger things have happened. The Stones? Wild horses?

Wild horses. Yes. That's it.

The woods are polluted with them!

##

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Magus


Sometimes when we attempt to write prose of some length, we look for a quote to put on top of the piece in the hope that the story will at least match the appositness of the the quote or poem.

And sometimes it is the wrong way to go.

Experience has shown me that it's best to let it all hang out, in first draft anyway, otherwise you might be jigsaw-puzzling somebody elses work in between your own.

The work will then come out somewhat spotty, impressionistic, a "shoemaker job", and most will be able to spot the unevenness of the ideas, even the telling of the story.

Recently, I took a walk past my matrimonial home. I had left somebody there, all alone, to fend for herself while I did a Ponce de Leon thing, in a faraway land.
In a tear-stained letter to me, she had said, "The hell of it is, I understand." She was, of course, half of me and an aspiring novelist herself. Perhaps she had been thinking of leaving me to find her own way. Who knows the mysteries of this kind of relationship.

Thirty years. I looked at the two-and-a-half storey brick house from behind, noticed that the garden was gone, the
lilacs at the front of the driveway had long been salted to death, and the entire back yard in fact, was now paved over as someone had obviously been running a business out of our old house.

There is a novel by the late British writer John Fowles The Magus.

In this slightly flawed masterpiece, Nicholas leaves Alison to find a magus, an adept, a mountebank, a magician
who will soon show young Nicholas that he knows Nick better than Nick knows himself.
Nicholas becomes something of a sorcerer's apprentice on the Greek island where Conchis the magus--and master puppeteer with human marionettes at his hire--will soon show Nicholas' relative shallowness, not only in his relationships but his knowledge of the Greek gods insofar as they reveal parts of ourselves to us.
He is set up to to meet a Victorian "Julie", long dress and all. He tries to have sex with her, but her answer is always in the negative. In fact, she is unnatainable.
In the course of his pursuit of this Julie with the two names, he is delivered a fantasy of a court held by noted psychiatrists from all over the world who hold this kangaroo prformance to try him as morally shallow and having badly hurt the one who loved him so. All his psychic flaws are laid out. He almost begs for mercy.
But of course all this is orchestrated by the Magus and Nicholas smells a rat.
He goes to try for the centre of the Magus' edifice, almost finds the key to this rich man's god game, and reels back from it all, the stink of it, the hyporicy of the actors and actresses who are doing this for mammon.
And they themselves are soon not real, even to themselves.

Half-mad, unemployed and wandering, Nicholas somehow stumbles on his original love, Alison.
They have a sad reunion.
But they do reunite.
The Magus, devilish as he may have been, has somehow provided an object lesson to Nicholas.
Nicholas had to purge himself of the great gaps in his makeup that caused him to hurt Alison in the first place.

Well, here I myself go quoting, but this time at the bottom of what I may have to say:

We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time ~ T. S. Eliot

And from John Fowles himself, in the Latin:

Cras amet qui nunquam amavit; quique amavit, cras amet.

May he love tomorrow who has never loved before; and may he who has loved, love tomorrow as well.

##

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Who will buy this beautiful morning!


I have of late become more eccentric than normal. Heh.
Gloomy thoughts about the old spouse, the cat, the dog.

Mushrooms sprouting from old trees. Wet spring. Some crocuses croaked.

But this morning! Even that old candy-ass rocker, Donavan would have much to say about a morning like this.

"Sunshine came loudly through my window today!

Had to close it, and almost offed a robin who was after my windobox tomato seeds.

Brings to mind an evil little poem I learned in the Air Force

"I smiled sweetly at his song
And as there passed a lull

I gently close the window
and crushed his f*cking skull."

No, no.

Keep on rockin'!

This morning, "all the little birds on Jaybird Street
Love that lil robin goin' tweet, tweet, tweet."

It would truly be a sin to stay indoors today.

Weatherman says Ontario will be bathed in sunshine for week.

(Fr.): The cat may have sunk, but I am surely rising.

To greet a morning ringing with promise.

See you after my stroll in lovely, park-filled Newmarket.

Hey! I saw some Japanese tourists around.
Samatter? Haven't seen a subdivision before?

Thank god the parks are protected.

Ducks honking for the road.

Hah. Dare I quaff a daff?

##