Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My Holden Caulfield fantasy--and other rushes of a raw youth.



We go through phases-- especially if over forty-- wherein we somehow convince outselves that we already written the great American (Canadian?) novel, but the critics had somehow missed it.

Take my fantasy. I am convinced that in my first draft of my "The Hat People", I had already incorporated the Man from U.N.C.L.E,, The X-Files, The X-Men. Rollerblade, and even Soylent Green.

And there's more:
In my second draft I have no doubt that I'd already invented Holden Caulfield, most of Dostoevsky's A Raw Youth, and a good bit of Gunther Grass--I had surely done some of that!

It all came from reading and identifying works by authors whose teenage conundrums seemed so much like mine in my adolescence,though such hangups and scrupulocities seemed common only in young Eastern Europeans
But no. As I read more, English eccentrics had religious hang-ups too. An English author named George Borrow, could manufacture, out of his own head, hang-ups that I as weird European kid with a penchant for writing, could hardly imagine.

Borrow's father lived in mortal fear of an unexplained act of "committing a sin against the Holy Ghost". Those who commit this awful sin can not get to heaven. There is a stoppage on the soul here. This is a sin ever worse than "mortal". No baptism will take it away.

Borrow writes:

"'Ah!" said my father,"thank God I never committed that--how awful must be the state of a person who has committed the sin against the Holy host! I can scarecely think of it without my hair standing on end;
and then my father and his friend began talking about the nature of the sin against the Holy Ghost, and I hard them say what it was as I sat up with greedy ears listening to their discourse.

I lay awake the greater part of the night musing upon what I had heard. When I awoke in the morning the first thing I thought of was the mysterius sin and a voice in me seemed to say, "Commit it:; and I felt a strong temptations to do so, even stronger than in the night.
"After breakfast, I went to sdhool and endeavored to employ myself upon my tasks, but all in vain: I could think of nothing but the sin against the Holy Ghost; my eyes instead of being fixed upon my book, wandered in vacancy. My master observed my inattention and chid me.
The time came for saying my taks and I had not acquired it. My master approached me, and yet more, he beat me. I felt shame and anger, and I went home with a firm deteminamtion to commit the sin agains the Holy Ghost.


See how that goes? Magnificent obsession. Sin agains the Holy Ghost.
Go across the English Channel and East: How close would that be to Kafka and his "sin"?...There is no God and the imppersonal god that rule us show up in their trail in documents and trials .
Kafka was born almost next door to my house.
So the young hero in my early works was committing the sin against the Holy Ghost. And all the time. No only that, but the cumpulsive masturbation! Double sin! This of course, would have made an adult laugh, but with the obsessive and talent-possessed child, it seems a matter of life and death.

God will get me. I have committed a sin agains the Holy Ghost!

Well, little boy, little boy, how important do you think you are?
Everything does not turn around you, though it seems there are whirls and eddies in some obscure literature where you could almost fit.

Or is it missfit?

##

10 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

A magnificient obsession sounds like a lot of work. Where would I find the drinking and eating time? Much less the napping time?

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

No time, no time, says the White Rabbit.

Midnight said...

Right then.

Would you mind, severely, if the precipitous, incongruent thoughts, that occasionally inhabit my mind, were temporarily, loosed severely, upon the magnificent structures, that you have somehow apppeased our sensibilities with, to the point that we almost TOTALLY believe all of your shit, to the point that we run the risk, of no longer being taken seriously?

Well?

P.S. - the semi-drunk revelations, are not always the best, but they are the most real.

P.P.S. : You writers are cool.

You really believe what you write.

That, is one of the factors, among your delicate dreams, that should truly be, applauded.

the walking man said...

Job had the dilemma as well eh? His torture would not abate until he cursed God but he wouldn't, wonder how much in his head the little voices pushed and pushed...maybe the writer left his masturbating to relieve the stress out of the dialog?

Better a misfit in obscurity than a no fit in the shoe store of living.

Midnight said...

Oh, and please forgive, my exuberance.

There are only two things, on this wicked planet.

There are Kozaks, and there are the rest.

Na Zdorovlia!

Or, as the Scots say :

"Up yer Shaft!"

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Midnight.

Little play on Slavic words.


It's you in the sichtuaion.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Mark,

That is subtle and wise.

Ah, that Mesapotamian rag.

They even got Onan.

Midnight said...

Ah, yes, Ivan.

To 'sich' his own.

But seriously, I've gotta stop drinkin' like this. Perhaps I'll try another way.

Cheer O!

ea monroe said...

"Time is a bitch I can't afford." That's a quote from one of the characters in the Agate novel I'm working on.

Obsessions are good. Shoot down Expectations as soon as they pop up! No time for the status quo right now! ~Liz

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

A unique take, Liz.

Doers do?