Tuesday, May 11, 2010

One more use for dead cats

My friend -- we'll call him Seymour-- was a mass of contradictions--and he had a really short fuse.

In the middle of a drinking bout, he's pipe up and say, "You know, Ivan you bring out in this feeling of inferiority/superiority in me. Sometimes you piss me off."

Well, I noticed that wine sometimes brings out the Jekyll and Hyde in you, certainly an old girlfriend, but never Seymour. At least, not till tonight.

I try to change the subject. Talk about writing. Where it leads to...And Seymour had for years been so supportive. For instance, he started, without my prodding, "The Black Icon Fan Club", after I published that zippy little book... Fans from Detroit to L.A.
Seymour, a computer whiz, had said, "You now have fans all over the world," for which I thanked him.

But something was going on with Seymour He was surely not himself. Something wrong with his family? A touch of petit-mal, borderline epilepsy? Seems that of late, anything "left"-- lefthanded-- that he had to do, was leading to pain and disorientation. Certainly when he turned left to look at me.

He seemed tired, irritated by the things I I was saying.
Drink in hand, Seymour goes to my work station. Boots up the computer.

Somehow, he finds my blog.

Flat out he declares, "Creative Writing... Nice. An ugly man has created a beautiful blog!"

I wonder what he meant by that.
I said I knew he wasn't feeling well and I was going to avoid an instictive response. Seymour and I had been friends from Mexico to Copenhagen, to L.A.

But he did not desist. "Look at you. Shot nerves. Trying, almost visually, to feel better. Rumpled suite and baggy Polack pants.
He smiles. "You're not from L.A."

"Well, Bukowski sort of was."

"But you're not Bukowski. Not even close.

"Your latest novel was about a guy who was nothing but a big raw nerve. Everything in life was pissing him off."

"Seymour,I could say something..."

"Say nothing. You've lost your wife-- who is a nice person-- your money and your sanity over some damfool 'artistic quest'. "
I gather friends around me who are of use to me. To me, you're a shadow of your former self. Almost a dead cat. Useless."

Oh Seymour, Oh Seymour. I fear you might be on your ninth life yourself. You seem to have a stroke coming on.
Otherwise, I'd kick your ass right now.

I emailed Detroit recently.
Poor Seymour did have a stroke, a big one. Anything left to him was nigh onto impossible.

I weep for a friend, a productive, intelligent, hardworking friend,family man,who, I think, has gone mad. Certainly very ill.

And we dead cats somehow clasper onto a tenth life.


the walking man said...

The meanest cats grew up alone in alleys. Those fuckers are always given a tenth life.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Remember that psalm motto on the helmets of he boys in Vietnam? "Yea, though I walk in the valley....

"I'm the meanest son of a bitch in the valley." :)

JR's Thumbprints said...

Raise high the roof beam, or Jim Beam, we must celebrate Seymour's former self. Remember the good times, the challenging times, but not the present.

ivan said...


Yeah. Remember the good times.
Makes me, for some reason think of that Yale song, "We are poor little sheep, who have lost our way..." But then Bush must have sung it, and that sort of puts me off.

Congratulations on joining Twenty Michigan writers, including you, J. R. Tomlinson, appearing in Driftwood’s “Air” Issue.
I tried to find your story online, but I guess it's pay as you play.

I'll try to scrape up enough.

TomCat said...

Ivan, I'm so sorry about your friend. It was kind and wise of you to hang in there with him rather than reacting personally to his aberrant behavior.

The best cats of all still live and write political blogs. ;-)

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

And how you blog, TomCat!

Republicans taking cover.


We're so cool, we cats could be carrying icepacks on our arched backs.
But I stopped being political when somebody threw first a boot, and then a brick down there at me in the alley. Bad place to canvass.
I'll never run for office again.

(My opponent standing in the flames of my abode. "This is how the game is played.")


"After suppa muddafu..."

And he throws another Molotov cocktail.

Gee, I thought we were so polite here in Canada.
Never run against the Mob!

JR's Thumbprints said...

No need to pony-up; it'll sell out quickly, then I'll regurgitate it on my on-again, off-again blog. However, there is that other project coming this summer from Motor City Burning Press ...

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Thanks, JR.

Aha. Scrooge can save money!

And definitely intrigued by the unnamed new project.

Mona said...

Cats are mean? but I STILL love them :)

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Heh heh.

TomCat and I have gone into purring mode. :)

TomCat said...

Acivists have to expect an occasional rock, brick, or baton, Ivan.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Yeah, activists. Us.
I'm with that old Doc Williams song:

Took the cat behind the ear
And he thought it was a swipe.

...When down came a brick
And drove him out of sight...