Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Borgesian fantasy. The man who became Norman Mailer





Who wouldn't like to have been Norman Mailer?
Boris wanted to be exactly like Norman Mailer, to take raw emotion and place it on the printed page, with elegance and tact.
Who wouldn't, like Mailer to have opened an autobiography with:

Like many another vain, empty, and bullying body of our time, I have been running for President these last ten years in the privacy of my mind, and it occurs to me that I am less close now than when I began. Defeat has left my nature divided, my sense of timing is eccentric, and I contain within myself the bitter exhaustions of an old man, and the cocky arguments of a bright boy. So I am everything by my proper age of thirty-six, and anger has brought me to the edge of the brutal.

Said Boris to himself: Well, I am twice that age, still angry and it seems that I am no closer to being a Mailer than when I first began.

Boris laboured for years and years, yet he could not achieve the James T. Farrell style of Norman Mailer. His stories were of simple peasants surviving world wars. Good, good enough, but nowhere near the the almost physical, certainly memorable prose of Mailer.
But some sort of kaleidoscopic trick has been achieved.
Boris could not write like Mailer. He could not even imitate the actions of his tiger hero. But Boris' body knew what to do. He began to be the very physical likeness of Norman Mailer.
If Boris could not possess Mailer's talent, I could at least look like him.

By age 71, Boris' transformation was almost complete. He gave s speech in a park to do with writing.
He saw his picture in a newspaper. Yes. Dead ringer. He could be Mailer.

Boris Spellchek, author of The Naked and the Dead.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Experimental Blog....Is there really such a thing? And are the dimensions of love not where you think they are?



I am caught in a vortex.
Still thoughtful over a woman who was either a stone psycho
or another writer who was trying to help--
to suggest to me that I had to suspend my belief in ordinary reality, if I were to enter a world of illusion, mystery and suspense. The world of fiction. And that world was she. She was the fiction, she was the book. She should have been my novel. She should have have been my project. She was he wild mare that I had to ride on my way to authentic artistry.

I think that S, as another writer (and gorgeous woman), wanted me to understand that the "specialness" of relationships was not really held in the place that we tend to think it is, nor does i manifests itself in the way that we wish. Love is not what we think it is and unfortunately can sometimes only be gain it through situations that we would otherwise find abhorrent.

"What do you know of love, you who has read Plato?" She had asked when she finally seemed to have had enough of a stubborn mustang who came off more like a mule.
At the time, to enter a relationship with a married woman who all the while had still another besides me, and not her husband --I found abhorrent.

So I chickened out.
I wished I hadn't now, after all these years.
Some important juncture had been missed.
Or was she just trying to get me into a Hotel California situation:

Her mind is definitely twisted
She's got the Mercedes Benz.
"She's got a lot of pretty boysthat she calls here friends.


Or, more prosaically, was she just plain gay?

The world of illusion, mystery and suspense. The world of fiction. This, she perceived me striving for.
Or was her mind "definitely twisted" and I was the poor Cossack hung up on a rock by a Rusalka, a Loreli.
There had been no wisdom here.
I felt myself a tree in whose bark barbed wire had been ingrown. The tree absorbed the the wire, barbs and all-- grew all around it.
So it seems with unsolved problems, conundrums.
I suppose if you want to be Jesus, you have to absorb the spike.
Or, in the language of Burrohghs, was it a spike that she was on and did she expect me to get hung up as well?

##

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Egomania writ large. Ivan speaks to the masses



Surfacing.
Years of not teaching. Not lecturing.
Familiar setting.
Two hundred eyes on you.
This is what you had missed.
The familiar lecture hall, but this time in open air.
A lovely millpond park in the October light. Hair blowing. Shlivering a little in the wind, half out of nervousness. But that was the way you used to be. A little performance anxiety, just enough before the presentation.
Like Chet Atkins said, " Icould hardly play", but once on the stand you do start a riff or two... Habit. Most comfortable with audience of stangers than even your own kith and kin... Doing a lick on the eradication of povery on World Anti-Poverty Day. Doing a Bob Geldoff, Bono, without the superstar appeal.
How to do your preps for a speech like this.
Took a lot of walking, thinking, figuring out your lead sentence. And, as they used to say in the newspaper business, "once you get past your lead, you've got her whacked."

"In politically correct Canada, we make so much of helping each other out, of political correctness, of elevating the handicapped to near- sainthood, of equal rights for women. But this is all pose. A shibboleth, a callsign. In reality some of our immediat neighbours may as well be in Biaftra or some other godforsaken place. Seniors are starved almost by goverment decree; the handicapped are tucked away where they can not be seen. Single mothers are evicted routinely, even out of illegal apartments whose mold and asbestos had already sickened a young family.
"Here in York Region, the second most affluent part of Canada, there are two thousand families living in abject poverty, and only the fact that they dress like us--Compliments of the Salvation Army-- that they are nearly invisible." And Federal and Provincial governments seem to want to keep them that way."
"Seniors, the unemplyed, Welfare mothers. The handicapped.
" O benevolent, politically correct Canada! Somebody has taken the welfare and disability, the unemployment insurance money, and he won't give it back.
"So try to live on $350 a month if single, with a thousand needed for rent.
" It all began with former Premier Mike Harris and his welfare thieves, Finance Minister Paul Martin and his unemployment insurance grab to restock a bankrupt government --and ending withe Prime Minister Harper with a guns and planes procurement policy for Afghanistan rather than helping the poor and the unemployed."

The audience had been warned by the MC. "He is an outspoken author."

Yes, outspoken. I can see the moderator nearly wince as I seem to harrangue the dignitaries sitting in the front seats.
Not Canadian of me,not polite in the "second-best coutry in the world to live in" according to the U.N.
Ah what do those international New York revellers and carousers know? They smoke, drink, fornicate, smash up cars in Manhattan.. But uh-uh. Not for us unwashed and unprivileged. Shut up and take what you can get. The poor and disinherited, be it Ethiopia or now even Canada..
"And what has the U.N. really ever done for world poverty? It is the NGO's, the Bonos, he non-goverment organizaions that are doing all the heavy lifting, and thank God for them. The U. N. seems to be good at ephemera, at bullshit.
"Got us all to quit smoking, it was the one thing they could do right while people prostitute themselves for a meal, a smoke or a drink in polically correct Canada.
The war in Afghanistan. And the war on human nature.

"A substratum of opium, human trafficking, organized crime seems to permeate all governments, even the U.N.
And governments are somehow part of an unholy union. United Nations? It is corrupt, compromised and nearly depraved.
The rot affects all.
And we in York Region, convinced that our affluence and comfort will never be threatened--look out.
The poor are starting to gather at your gates. And oddly, they are now multinational. Immigrants get f*cked over. Land of milk, soggy oil and honey. Canada needs a wakeup call.

I hand over the microphone. Strangely, to applause.

##

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Alienation Baroque Rock and Roll



This should really be a draft of a blog. I fear I am losing my professionalism. This kind of story would never make commercial "treeware" print. But blogging is addictive. It is also an outlet.You have to get it done. And it's all too easy, because there really is no editor. But people will write in. Or just greet a rococo story like this with silence. Anyway, here goes nothing:

Ever have one of these days?

Here is Kate Carroway of Toronto's EYE WEEKLY magazine



I didn’t fully appreciate how happily banal most of my Tuesday afternoons are until I spent a recent one topless, ice-cold and sniffling on an examining table, with a too-attractive doctor pressing electrodes onto my chest, arms and legs for an EKG, just after I had redefined “sobbing uncontrollably” while listing my symptoms, and then again when she asked me if there was anything I might be upset about.

Yeah. And me too ending up one day in a psycho ward with different coloured sox, no pants and just a bomber jacket --and all the while trying to argue with my keeper.
"He's crazy," said the orderly.
"Well what in f*ck did you expect?" I wanted to know. "Oprah Winfrey?"
I don't know if we make an unconscious rational decision to break down. We just do....And at the most inopportune times. Like having your girlfriend walk out on you just at the time you had arranged to pick up the kids and your ex is still wanting to argue, while her boyfriend is patting the family dog in the front bay window... And you couldn't bring your girlfriend, your "equalizer" with you. There is no more level playing field. You are a schmuck.
"'K" doesn't like you any more," hisses the boyfriend though the window. Punch out his f*cking lights... And there is a growl from the Benedict Arnold family dog, because the last time you had kicked the shit out of the boyfriend and booted the family dog as well. Both man and dog are wary.
So you finally, shakily pack up the kids, take them to your parents for the weekend.. Everybody has a good time, but once you bring the kids back, you are alone again. Self-conscious and alone. There is a pile-up of something inside you, probably your body protesting these months and months of alienation-baroque rock and roll.You are suddenly sobbing, and you can't get over this free floating anxiety. Jesus, don't you want to be somewhere else? Don't you want to be somebody else? You certainly want to see somebody. You are inexplicably out of kilter and feel almost out of nature. No all that human.. Alien. You are surprised that you had somehow driven to to the hospital without piling up. Where am I? Who am I?
I'd had this feeling before in foreign countries. Having an anxiety attack in a bar in Copenhagen, I told the guy the next stool over that I suddenly had no idea of who I was.. "Who are you? Don't have a cow, man. I can tell by the trenchcoat the camera and you identification button. "You're a war correspondent."
"Oh" And perhaps through humour, the anxiety attack went away.
But there was no trenchcoat in this final scenario. I had arrived at the hospital with mismatched sox, boxer shorts and an Air Force bomber jacket.
"Have you been drinking?" the doctor asked? "Yes."
"I wouldn't drink any more tonight. Alcohol is a good tranquillizer. But it wears off. We're going to have to give you somethilng that won't wear off.
He tries to find me a bed, but it's Easter weekend and there seem to be no beds.
A fragment of Dylan is running though my head.

When you're lost in the rain in Juarez
And it's Easter time too.
And your gravity fails and negativity don't pull you through.
Don't put on any more airs when you're down on Rue Morgue Avenue
They got some hungry women there
And they'll really make a mess out of you


Well, hadn't hungry women made a mess out of me?
Or did I make a mess out of them.
But it's me that's having the meltdown.

I get a shot of something.
The ward doctor can't find a bed. The session had cleared my head somewhat. I certainly can't drive all the way back to Toronto in this shape. Better stay near the hospital. I go to a friend where I know I can spend the night. I just need to find my pants, put them back on. I drive over to the friend's house. Friends in need.And me gone to seed. The beatiful neighbour. Husband is protesting, but I somehow get to spend thethe night. And another. And get crazier each day. And I'm starting to get to the husband.
They finally find a bed at the hospital. The intake nurse said, "You've finally had enough, have you?" "Yep," I said. The right man in the right place."

It is our body that struggles thus. We do the booze, the drugs, the sexual marathons,The Rothman's King size and the parties. We think the bank account of youth will never be overdrawn. But it now is.
the time to pay for your shenanigans and superiorities. You have dug your last hole, Mole.
There are episodes in the ward. Your girlfiend want to come back, your wife might take you back. Your young son, who has come to visit, is beginnint to have doubts. He's not saying it, but you can imagine in. "When I crack up, am I going to be just like you?
Former head of the household has gone mad.
What will we tell the children?

Well. A spell at the hospital. The jigsaw puzzle assembly plant. You somehow put the puzzle together--they help you-- and you're out on the street again.
You are going to be all right. You can just tell these things.
And yet, two days later there's this choked sob in the middle of the night.
It seems there are limits.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!




Ah, the good old days, when E.A. Monroe looked like a teenage queen in Oklahoma, and in Ontario, I thought I was Elvis.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Two silhouettes on the shade: A 47-year-old teenager in love.



Looking back over a work penned twenty-five years ago, one is amazed over how naive a middle aged lothario can be during a chaotic time in his life.
Things falling apart all around, life and work a mess, dropping from professor to contractor while mind-swoggled by a psycho bitch goddess that you're in love with...And she is pulling on your chain. Break it and "she don't care".


CHAPTER NINETEEN


February Blues, 1988.

I was confusing calculus with cabbage heads. Nothing was going right, neither at the newspaper where I worked part time, nor my communications course with the college and certainly not the construction business, where my partner would just sit and drink; he would not do anything with the backhoe that he'd bought, Star Wars state-of-the-art technology or not. He'd cut a vital TV cable link during our last job. We'd been run off a site and he was very depressed. I was certainly cutting my own cable.


I tried to phone Lana once and got a very tired voice, not her usual bubbly and enthusiastic one. "Lana Horvath speaking." It was a croak. She was tuned right out; somebody was succeeding in breaking us up. Lief, I guess. And Lana's voice very low. Was she on something? I was getting the sex-alienation-loneliness chucks. What to do? I was probably now out of a girlfriend from whom I'd hardly had any sex in the first place. I loved her company, but I couldn't possibly just keep her as a mannequin; the devil would soon fix that. Then there was the fact that she was a married woman, at least in convention, a kind of Stepford Wife, living with her husband, doing the grocery shopping, stepping out into town and all that.

Yet I was hopelessly in love and I knew she was too. We had sensed, I think, the two of us that this love may yet bring us both to life, a release from an incubus of manipulation by others. But it seemed to be working the other way. Thantos?


I contemplated hanging myself. The frustration and impossibility of the situation, the stress of the so-called "relationship". And there wasn't just trouble with Lana. The landlord was becoming a problem. There was some hope in this. There might be a small inheritance for me around the corner. I would see my father in Hamilton quite often. My relationship with my father was very good. Among other things, he told me that he had passed on the title to me of a small property worth about $70,000. Not bad.

But property was not on my mind. I would have given Lana $70,000 on the spot just to have sex with her, right now. I was seeing Lana on every doorway and lentil. The Sunshine Girl in a skimpy Santa Claus suit (I had saved that one) looked for all the world like Lana, right down to the ample shanks.

I masturbated to Lana's memory, and still the thing would not let me go.


A drink with the mysterious Jack the K., the salesman. "February will be a bitch for you, as well as March and April and July, all these months. You've realized that something's up, but she's not ready. Above all, don't phone her. Don't call her. She thinks you're stronger than she is. If you phone her, you'll screw up. Meanwhile, get ready for August. Get your best suit ready."


I was still trying to convert part of my office space into a semblance of a proper apartment, or at least finished what I'd started to do on this project, but I wasn't having much look. In the first place, the floor was uneven, the walls that I'd begun drywalling still taped. Pat Skeed and I had an argument. Why did he cut that TV cable? The company's rep was in ruins. Soon Pat was not around, and, of course, neither was Lana. It seems that I had driven them both away. What sort of a curmudgeon was I becoming? What had I done in my fits of anger? How nice it would be in these depressing weeks of February to have had both of them around, Lana coming "home" every night and Pat trying to flirt with her. It would make me jealous, but Pat would hang back in the office sometime, nursing his small beer, until edgy looks from Lana and me would finally send him home. And when Pat would leave, it was always the same with Lana and me. The damn adolescent touchy-feely affection. Even Lana was frustrated by now, "Make a move, make any move!" Yet I could not go beyond adolescent gropings. Why was that? Things happen to us or don't happen to us and it is only years later we realize why.


Mixing and pouring cement, thinking al this over once Lana had gone. Making cement, out of a hand-cranked cement mixer. Making cement. By myself. Perhaps out of myself. Working on stone.

I watched the concrete floor of my proposed living room set through the inside office window. I had taken to sleeping on the couch in the office. Heretofore Lana and I had used the living room with its then-crummy floor. Watching "paint" dry? I waited and I waited, flipping radio stations. Bon Jovi was big those months:

Its all the same, only the names are changed
And every day, we're just wastin' away


Jesu Christo. Didn't Bon Jovi and Ritchie Sambora put our moods together?


Sometimes I sleep, Sometimes I think for days
And people that you meet, they just go their separate ways
Sometimes I count the days, by the bottle that you drink
Sometimes I sit alone, and all you do is think



I was indeed something of a cowboy by night, when I was short on bucks, on a steel horse I would ride, though a four-wheeler, a vehicle of commerce, the taxicab, like Harry Chapin, takin' tips and getting stoned.

After two months of this, I was about ready for the booby hatch. I planned an invasion, to hell with friends' advice.

-----------

It was getting onto June, about the time they invaded Normandy some 43 years back, June 6, D-DAY. I would invade Celia's house, would storm Lief's castle and haul her away. Tristan would steal Iseault. I would get a truck outfitted with a winch. I would tear the house down. I would huff and I would puff.

And in the taxi, on the night of a full moon, I would buzz Lana's house. There seemed to be a girl in the window, in a short negligee. She looked like Lana. But she was not blonde. She had bright, henna-red hair.

She seemed to be preening in front of the window, for Leif, presumably, and Leif indeed seemed to be sitting in the middle of the C-shaped chesterfield that Lana and I had become accustomed to. But this Lief-lookalike, who was ogling the Lana-lookalike had a beard about a foot long. I don't recall Lief ever growing a beard.

And the truck parked outside. It looked like Lief's in colour, but it seemed more like a minivan than Lief's little pickup with the cap on it. I was not sure. I had to make pickup calls and I did not buzz the house again, conspicuous as my taxi light had been. Some sleuth! As I drove to pick up a fare in Holland Landing, something snapped into place. The man with the beard was a dead ringer for a famous, limb-snapping cult leader out of Peterborough. Therriault. Tabernac! A Frenchman now up on several charges of mutilating at least one of his concubines. He had claimed he was Moses, but Beelzebub was more like it. It was in all the papers. And now what? My Lady in the Papers? I hoped I was wrong. Easy to spin a fantasy on a full moon. I was going fairly nuts with all this. Twice that evening, I had run the cab into a ditch. I was really ticking off the taxi company's mechanics and tow truck drivers.

She is somewhere very near
And her silence is your fear

Jung: The Eternal Feminine. She is everywhere. Leads straight to the mother. Pure evil...Sometimes one's own wife herself can defuse the situation.


I was still on speaking terms with Sharon, my ex-wife. She did have a sense of humour. "Go ahead. Tell me about it. I will defuse." She was living with another man, was fairly sure of herself. At least in those days. She had gone on to win at last, while I was obviously going nowhere fast, as the late Ray Charles would lament. I told Sharon I had this enormous Lana problem. She was in my blood. She had entered my soul. I told Sharon I had considered going to an exorcist. Sharon had laughed out loud. If there were any doubts in her mind that I was going insane and that's why we had broken off in the first place, those doubts, in her mind, seemed gone now. She was writing me off as a nut. Again.

.....end chapter

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Where is Watson the Worm Picker?



I am not Shelley and my lamp isn't totally shattered at the shank of this full moon, but I wonderewhy a long-cooled piece of rock should have such an effect on ones moods.
Eveything seems grey, grey.
One thinks gloomy thoughts about ones spouse, ones children, ones dog.
It takes just an iota of Buddhism to contemplate the futility of f*cking near everything. Your book will never be published hardcover. You have joined the list of also-rans.
You are consigned to teaching creative writing forever and worms seem to rise out of the ground with their accusantions: You've dug your last hole, Mole. We will put you into solitary confinement. You shall be a recluse and a nut.
I think of my friend Watson, (aka Eddie Snopes in my novels) who had somehow made a good living picking dew worms for Florida fishermen.
Watson picked his last worm recently. He died shortly after his house burned down. Did the worm ever turn?
Seems not for Watson. For a while he was rich on the insurance money and the worms; it was Watson's last waltz along the golf course.
You ceratainly cannot take it with you....But you leave all those D.P.'s-- Displaced Persons, Watson's brothers who are wandering the streets willy-nilly because Watson had forgotten to make a will. Three hundred thousand dollars gone poof and Watson up there laughing, I suppose.
It's sad old full moon out.
Where is Watson the worm picker?
I dasn't bait a hook.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Hayseed Politics: Eddie Snopes was even weirder as a politician



When I ran for Mayor of Newmarket, my home town, I thought that I was the fringe candidate. But there was a second, who seemed even more baroque than yours truly.
I was the crazy writer, seemingly on speed. But Eddie Snopes was the real deal on being odd.
I got to know Eddie well, was taken by his life story, and once we both lost the election, I was moved to craft a roman à clef about him, a novel with a key.
The story is bucolic, rural. But I had to experiment with my new writing form.

So here is a chapter out of my Eddie Snopes book, a novel with a key, and I must say that that year neither Eddie or I got any new key.

CHAPTER VI

Eddie Snopes

To hear tell of Eddie Snopes is to conjure in your mind the image of a clam fisher, muskrat trapper and toad stabber from somewhere in the primeaval wilds of Holland Landing, from back in the days when it was still an unspoiled natural swamp in the Depression Thirties. Yet Eddie was only 47 at the time of the 1985 election in nearby Newmarket, and it was more properly to his father, Sam that the toadstabber, muskrat trapper, home brew distiller and other backwoods images belonged.
Sam Snopes used to pull into Newmarket from the Second Concession in Holland Landing to stop off at a Main Street watering hole, have a good afternoon of it and forget where he was. Barkeeps and patrons would then pour Sam into his buggy and the fine Morgan horse that Sam owned would take the harness buggy all the way home to Holland Landing by memory.
Sam Snopes would used to be a tough old nut out there up North Main from Newmarket, making a living as best he could at a time when there was no money, and bootlegging and catfish choking the only way to feed a family of four...Then a second family when he had abandoned the first.
Eddie Snopes was the product of Sam's second marriage, Sam soon dying when Eddie was just a tot and Sam's second wife remarrying shortly afterwards. Eddie grew up in the care of a foster father and his older siblings, while having to live down the reputation of being not quite legitimate in a crowd of half-brothers and sisters divided along family lines.
Eventually, Eddie's mother was spirited away to somewhere in the north country and Eddie got to feel like a motherless child quite a bit. It gave him a thoughtful foot-shuffling character that would persist to the present day.
What was left of the new family did settle in Newmarket and it was here in this mill town that Eddie grew up, atttending schools in town, doing surprisingly well at Newmarket High, displaying a strange combination of athletics and art.
He was farily popular. Eddie with the flaxen haired, county boy appearance. A type. But a little odd. Nobody ever said it out loud, but Eddie was something of a pig pen Cinderfella, His hands were always dirty from scraching in the ground after something, but nobody seemed to mind in a school not too far off rural.
After hight school, Eddie surprised everybody by going to art school, or more properly, the Ontario College of Art, in those days a fairly elitist school. Strange move for Eddie, the contrary one the champ runner for his shool, the dewworm picker at night to keep himself in pin money.
Through the strange combination of of picking worms at night (and illegally) at golf courses and through geniune ability at draftsmanship, Eddie did gradueate from OCA, met a kindred spirit, Lolly who didn't mind working the golf course with him at night. Out on the golf course one night, Eddie proposed under the pine trees and she accepted.
But Eddie was Eddie. The contrary one. Hard to live with.
Shortly after the divorce, Eddy resumed his old tendency towards physlcal things. Work on stone to slake the depression, put up fences, building cairns, taking up judo and karate to get a new attitude. At night, he still picked worms.
He was developing the attitude of a man perplexed by a metahysical problem, working it out through a pitting of his very being against rocks and stone, against the material world.
Is it love that lends light to intellect. And in the absence of love, do we not get meaner?
If you cannot love a woman, you can work against real things, make a dent. If you can't love a woman--or more properly, if woman doesnl't love you--then you can love the town, love the town as if it were a woman. But seemingly, he had to show his manhood, his sudden conviction of a new knighthood.

Right down there on Main Street in the council chambers of of Newmarket was a gathering of princes and and princesses, the councillors. He was going to pit himself against them, perhaps just to show Lolly if she was still paying atention, to show he was a man of consequence to his estranged and unrepentant wife. He was going to become a man of foirce, of quality. And he was going to test that quality against the princes and plrincesses of this town of Newmarket.
How best to let his light shine, how best to show his love aand care for the beautiful old--style river town of Newmarket?

Eddie was a man of practical bent, but he had ideas. He had to get his ideas out into the open. He had to find an issue. The town of Newmarket had for years instructed all its mostorists, usually Model A jockeys, to park on only one side of the street, a custom preserved by the old contemps from the days when Main Street was still dust and dirt.
Eddie would become a prosyletiser, a brandisher of petitions. Eddie went out and got signatures to show that drivers really wanted to be able to park on both sides of the street, right in front of where they wanted to go. Eddie soon had shoppers parking more along where they wanted to buy. He got the bylaw changed with his picketing and pampleteering. He became a force in the world.
From there on, Eddie would be the arch enemy of not only those snooty concillors, but also Ray Twinney, Mayor of Newmarket. Oddly, of all the wags and young turks of Newmarket, it was only Eddie who who had the gumption to go against Twinney, a self-confessd "Don", for Twinney was half Sicilian. Eddie would run for Mayor and lose. And run again. And lose again. Fast-slow Eddie. Always running.
By the early eighties, though the press was having fun with Eddie with jokes of the worm turning and Mayor Twinney relectant to shake Eddie's hand after he came out of the warhroom--"The guy had been masturbating in there!"--Eddie was ready to rise again. He would be the eteranal, if slightly soiled knight, ready to do battle with Mob boss Dylan.
In talks with Eddie, he would tell me,"Noody else had the courage to stand up to a godfather like Twinney. "I was the first." And he was.
But there was another courageous person in town, a woman. Manager of a local hotel for down -and -outs, she took on Twinney in l983 and demonstrated that at least half the peoplle in town didn't like Da Godfather. She lost by just a few votes, but didn't contest.
So when l985 came around, who shoud join the lineup of candidates againt Ray Twinney but Eddie Snopes. Eddie had set a precendent. In the past peope were in fear of opposing Twinney publicly. He had run the poor hotel manager out of town, almost on a rail There was actually fear and loathing of Twinney in some circles. Fear, they said, of actually being offed.
Eddie Snopes had served to defuse that fear. There would now be, in the words of Hunter S. Thompson, no Fear and Loathing on the campaign trail...but more often than not, the mayor would win an acclamation.
But by l985, Eddie was ready not only to run against Twinney one more time, but he had a plan to restructure the was voting was set up in Newmarket.
What Eddie was proposing for a town of 35,000 was a ward system, a splitting up of the town into about five wards, each with a wark alderman and a ward councillor. This, Eddie reasoned, would break the Seven-Councillor--Seven Sister lockstep of Councils in the past, break up Twinney's Company Store mentality of the town and offer some real democracy. Eddie had said, "I don't necessarily want to run for mayor--I'd just like to set up a more fair system." Presumably his defeat would be easier to take when he was running on an idea and not against a man.
And so, the final results came in on the radio, Eddie trailing a bad 147 out of 13,000 votes. Eddie lost, of course.
But he won his ward system. He never stopped crusading.
He was last seen defending an old radial line streetcar terminus in Newmarket dating back to the thirties. He saved the original town hall from the wreckers hammer.
Eddie snopes was a fighter through and through.
Some day, I feared somebody was going to get him offed.
Right to the day they burned my house down.
Eddie used to tell me, "Be careful what you do. What and where you eat. Politics is a blood sport."


*(STORM AND STRESS ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL
The 1985 Election in Small Ontario Town is published by the Newmarket Public Library).

##