Sunday, January 18, 2009

Oh Josh, poor Josh. Something's hung you up and you're stuck in a mosh



Perhaps out of envy (is my talent strong enought to carry me?) or disgust at the recent spate of experimental writing in Canada, that I decided if I couldn't fight them, I would try to join them. But this could be a mistake. To rejoin the clamoring crowd of experimentlal writers whom I'd heretofore held as "helpless- can't-do's," it seemed to me that it was literary helplessness on trial; you hadn't really gotten down your basics-- Realism before abstraction!
Ah well. This old trick will now try to learn some new dogs.


So without further ado, a first crack at an experimental short story.

To Josh Wellberg, PhD (failed), drinking beer after the class he still had, into the wee hours while wife was away, listening to all those familiar house noises, it seemed the world was in a conspiracy to keep Josh Wellberg from becoming Josh Well.
Nervously buttoning and unbuttoning his formative memories.
There was the undone button of his youth.

Josh Wellberg at the head of his class in middle school.
Josh Wellberg getting too involved in yearbook editing at high school--and failing.
Josh Wellberg enrolling in ROTC a community college, and finallly getting an army commission and a Master's degree.
Captain Josh Wellberg landing a teacing job at a university. Joshie-come-lately proving, to his Judy at least, that he could do it. Then the teaching job. Two kids. Picket fence. Exurban house.
And now Judy was about to leave him. He was a ghost inside his own house, Victorian clunker making all those famiiar house noises, the furnace, the humidifier. The blue lights from the TV.

I became the man you wanted me to be, Judy. Did what you wanted, Judy, and now what?
In love with your randy prof, who says his wife has decided to stay monogmous, "but that's her hang-up."


Josh taking another another drink in his comfortable, woody, posh library. Yeah. Night school for Judy. Judy in crisis. No guarantee the randy old bastard is going to stay with her. Two ways to go. Leave old Hubber and/ or go to The House of the Rising Sun.

Judy, Judy Judy, all my life doing what I was told, the good old uppermiddleclass way, BA MA PHD. But Elmer Fudd goofed on the Phd. Pulling his pud. And now you're run off with a real PhD. And you're preventing me from not only being the Josh I thought I was, but the Josh I wanted to be...which was free spirit, poet, aviator.

Josh wondered when it was this morning that Judy Judy would return.Classes end at ten p.m. Last time it was three a.m. Made a dramatic entrance into the bedroom where Josh had been asleep. Threw off all her clothes and started to almost snuggle in besided him.

He was startled and annoyed. What's this? Left-over passion? The male question. "Did you get fucked?"

"What if I did?"

Being Josh. the tao of Josh. Hardworking Josh. Achieving Josh. Josh loving his children. Josh loving Judy-come-lately. Josh with his headscratching, his IQ of 120 in a world of l40's.

"You weren't smart enough to got that PhD. You just weren't smart enough."

"And how about you? You couldn't even handle undergraduate work. Failied your B.A. Piggybacked onto my dream, got your break,me, afer all that failure-- and now it's night school finding out how antique Pakistanis, Harrapans or something, may have discovered some kind of psychic radio through their statuettes. Wow. High research."
This bolted her back out of bed.

She threw the quilt off, rose from the futon. Fumbled through drawers to slect her white nightie, the modest one.
She stood now in front of the dresser, facing Josh, red, ochre red in the glow of the night light. Angry. Red head, her ginger colouring enhanced. five word gave her itent.
"Get out of my house."

"Your house? It' suddenly your house? Not our house?

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

I am trying something here. Writing while upset over a similar situation.
I wonder if it's going to work this time.
Oh Josh, poor Josh. Something's hung you up and you're stuck in a mosh.

26 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

Experimental writing is so hard to judge, as you mentioned. I've done a couple of what I call experimental pieces. Very surreal stuff. both of them sold for teensy weensy sums, though one took a long time for even that.

This definitely reads a little off kilter, very stream of consciousness in one way.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Charles,

You're right.

Damn. I broke my own rule of never showing anybody a first draft.

It does read a little off kilter.

But if there is a stream-of-consciousness ring to it, I hope I have bumped up against what I was trying to achieve in this story.

ea monroe said...

Ivan, you're writing and that's a very good thing! Was wondering where you've been today and quiet in the gmail.

I've been experimenting with some different POV stuff in a story I'm working on.

~Liz

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Liz,

Yeah. Writing. And it's coming kind of rough.

...Would be interested in your new story and POV angles.

Lorna said...

I would like to follow your blog but do not see a FOLLOWERS gadget/widget.

Lorna

Lorna said...

Ivan...... I failed to say: Your story held me to the last word. I would call that a successful piece of writing.


~Lorna

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Hi Lorna.

I am an innocent, but not abroad.

FOLLOWERS gadget/widget.--who they?

Checked your blog. Top drawer.
Art Bell think he knows something?

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Check out Charles, above.
He can rock on the SF.

Lorna said...

A Followers Widget is one that people can click onto, and having done that, every new post of yours goes straight to their Dashboard like an RSS feed.

Unless you put a Followers widget into your sidebar, you will not be so easily accessible to those who want to read what you write.

Look at people's blogs and you will see what the Follower's widget looks like.
~Lorna

the walking man said...

Personally Ivan, I liked this short portion. It conveys Josh's emotional state well enough for me to connect to it...but I think the situation is to close to you.

Go off the beaten track of experienced knowledge and write of something you know nothing of, something that the back filler still has to be looked up while the details come from the un-common place of experience.

Tell me of that space you encountered as you went across the curves of time.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Lorna,

Thnx.

ivan@creativeriting.ca said...

Mark,

I think the space you describe could be found in a 26-er of whiskey.
But then you wouldn'd need a novel from yours truly.

Midnight said...

Hey, Ivan, congratulations!

You're up!

You (we) managed to survive the 6am Monday deadline.

Now they're stuck with our shit for another week!


Her dreams, her screams

The delight, surrepteems.

Her fire, her coal

Effervesces, in my soul.

Midnight said...

Ok. Fine.

Far be it from me, to presume to dazzle you, with my unintended brilliance.

I am capable, of pedestrian expressions, you know....

'She's fuckin' cool!'

There. I told you.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Hey,

Surfs up. What time does the ocean close?

Midnight said...

Ivan, as you are most delicately aware,

Kozaks, don't care.

Midnight said...

And Sir, we've got some martial arts happening, at Chucker's site. No bullshit. The real deal.

Donnetta Lee said...

Well, I liked it. There is something to be said for spitting the stream out. It has a fresh, honest tone to it. I thought the descriptive phrasing especially good-but, you know, I like that anyway. Probably does the soul good from time to time to let it just flow. D

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Thanks, Donnetta,

I was going to take The Walking Man's advice, but that would have led to a kind of Cabalism, I suppose.
De Debbil made me do it.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

I am an unpleasant peasant who has been advised to move to the sich, that is to say Saskatchewan, Canada where the cossacks are.
So what's in Sakatchewan? Metro the Retro and Nestor Pestor?

Bunchafriggin' Palookas.

Midnight said...

Well, unless I'm mistaken, 'Cheemo' (from Edmonton - of all places), makes the ultimate kick-ass perogie, on the face of the continent (unless you wanna make 'em by hand - which I've done once - but like it took like 4 hours out of my life.).

Udder 'en dat, sliver 'em silly.

the walking man said...

We could have dual authorship over that time machine old man.

ivan@creativeriting.ca said...

!Mark,

Edmonton guy with the pyrogies might say "Chimo". I say cheers

Anonymous said...

Yay Jack

You gotta love jack. He must be a Newfie.

Subject: Fw: Jack's neighbours.


Each Friday night after work, sun, snow or rain, Jack would fire up his outdoor grill and cook a moose steak. But, all of Jack's neighbors were Catholic. And since it was Lent, they were forbidden from eating meat on Friday. The delicious aroma from the grilled moose steaks was causing such a problem for the Catholic faithful that they finally talked to their priest. The priest came to visit Jack, and suggested that he become a Catholic.

After several classes and much study, Jack attended Mass, and as the priest sprinkled holy water over him, he said: "You were born a Protestant and raised a Protestant, but now you are a Catholic."

Jack's neighbors were greatly relieved, until Friday night arrived, and the wonderful aroma of grilled
moose filled the neighborhood. The priest was called immediately by the neighbors, and, as he rushed
into Jack's yard, clutching a rosary and prepared to scold him, he stopped and watched in amazement.

There stood Jack, clutching a small bottle of holy water which he carefully sprinkled over the grilling meat and chanted: "You wuz born a moose, you wuz raised a moose, but now you are a Codfish.

--Submitted by Eric Mercer.(Not Rick Mercer, the other Newfie).

the walking man said...

Time to unload some stored memory on your new machine Ivan,

hit Start....

open All Programs

open Accessories

open System Tools

Open Disc Clean up

a window will appear asking which drive

put (C:) in the window and hit
continue.

The machine will go through your memory (RAM) and determine which areas have useless crap stored.

When it finishes another window will appear with a list of boxes to check or un-check. I check them all but you may not want to. It is all temporary memory space I've never deleted anything of an import.

Hit continue

The system will open up memory and close the tool when it is done.

Disc Defragmenter is also found in system tool...I run this tool once a month although some say once a year is enough, I find that waiting that long makes the defragmentation process a very long one.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Mark,

Thanks.

You're intuitive.

re Flush job on new machine.
Heh. Easy for you to say.

I'm a monomamiac. Wrapped up in a ball of words, like a maniac about to reach climax. Brain kicks out, adrrenaline kicks in. Can't do the detail work for the speed and fury of the creative attack.
Going through some sort of Schopenhaurer process.
All will and no skill.

Will try once calmed down.