Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Driving the full bolt home




Well, I was supposed to bring home the bacon with my magum opus, The Fire in Bradford.
But all I've got in front of me right now is an old university essay of mine on Fancis Bacon, probably the father of modern science.
A sentence of his, somewhat loosely remembered, has caught my eye.
A young man will drive the full bolt home, but an older man will not.
Oh-oh. Reminds me of my military training. ..Taking an M1 rifle apart, I could not get it back together again, let alone driving the full bolt home. But I had to get it together, had to-- or I would fail at even this second-rate career. Persistence pays off, I found at nineteen.
Well, dang. With one foot in the grave, I''m finding it in life and (egad!) even in bed, that I am having trouble driving the full bolt home. "Relax, why doncha. We've both been alone for some time."
Driving the full bolt home.
Heh. Why was I suddenly thinking of old Oral Roberts?...But he was known for religion and not perversion. :)

Well, my poor book is out. It too, may contain a little perversion. But I need help from people around here with this book.
"Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party."
But the host of the party has somehow turned into Ferdinand the Bull.
I am now sniffing my sunflowers, wondering at how tall they've grown. I need a stepladder, to execute, what one of my athletic former students, something of the old Super Dave on old TV, described as "the correct sniffing position."
...And then the friggin' ladder collapses.
I am suddenly hearing the sergeant's voice from the past.
"You are a leading airman and got a part left over from your rifle?" Take her apart, and do over."
Story of my life.
..But I finally got the goddam thing to fire. As fast as I could pull the trigger.
The M1 is semi-automatic.
I hope I still am.
...Yet something of Francis Bacon rings in my ears. ...Especially when my enormous sunflowers seemed to laugh ar my attempt to overtop them for a good look at what I thought were my creations. "Study biology, get the feel of it. Write it up....But remember that nature controls us, and not we it."

Meanwhile, trying to drive the full bolt home.

A writer who himself has had much failure at driving the full bolt home, suddenly said, "Everything else has failed! Start where you stand."
Well, actually not a bad place to start. I have achieved some notoriety in these parts, people are willing to help, but they are all wondering when Ivan is going to get the rag out...Come to think if it, I think I did leave part of the the cleaning rag in my old M1, therein the difficulty.
Get the rag out. Make a move. Make a move in any direction.
Well, I can at least do the Canadian thing,( some say the bravest thing most Canadians seem capable of)-- write a letter to the editor.
But I'll try for something braver. I think I'll write a letter to a famous literary critic around here...Make a move. Any move..At least it's a move. So I write,


Dear Robert Fulford,
(National Post Newspaper)

Hello and congrats on being a survivor, certainly lauded for your remarkable ability, at a time when journalism appears to be in its death throes. But the Naional Post, which I consider the best newspaper in North America, somehow prevails. It seems a small miracle that the Post survives and carries on.

I had written to you in the past, about my poor first novel, The Black Icon.
Well, let bygones be bygones.

I have persisted, and have written five more books, with almost predictable results: I had to publish them through my own imprint, Island Grove Press. There was some critical recognition and an Ontario Arts grant for this book, one writeup by the late Dick Illingworth a former Star stringer and quite famous here in York Region.
My latest tome is The Fire in Bradford, which one critic has said was a study of waning sexuality here in the boonies.
Gad. I thought I was writing humour!

In any event, I have persuaded one Alfred Warkertin, former publisher of Chateu Books, Montreal, to at least put his name onto my latest outburst.
The Fire in Bradford will be out through his
Warbrooke Publishers Ltd.

I know --oh do I know!-- as a former journo!--that time is at a premium, but if you should have nothing to do on one Sunday, well, an early version of The Fire in Bradford is online on my http://www.creativewriting.ca.
Or I could send you the book.

...I did notice some three years ago that people were a bit snippy over your contribution to journalism in Antonia Zerbesias' famous, but somewhat badly used old blog.

I had said "Oh, no. Robert Fulford is most good, most kind...We sometimes correspond." Heh.

Anyway, I hope you're having a good day. I do say in my blog, that mine has not entirely been.

Cheers,

Ivan Prokopchuk

PS: I keep looking for your excellent article on old Explorations Magazine, but can't find in anybody's archives.
Explorations, a copy of which was given to me by Murray Paulin, old philosophy prof at Ryerson, was almost a launching pad for Dr. McLuhan, as it certainly was for the (late?) Murray Paulin's friend, Edmund Carpenter.
What an artistic take on Canadian culture!
I think we've lost that kind of insight through the current murkiness, but you, Sir, for one, are hanging in.


Well, my nose feels a little brown.

But what the hell. It's a move. Trying to drive the full bolt home.

##

27 comments:

Mona said...

Get some reviews in the papers and some ads on adsense etc.

Like I said, the other part starting from publication after, is all business.

Get some journalist to do a book review writeup in the dailys. I don't know how much dailys are read in Canada , but in India, a newspaper can make or break a writer's book!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Mona,

Thanks. I think I know these things from the last time around. Partially because of relative critical success of my first novel, The Black Icon, I got the professorship in English at Seneca College here.
...Sort of retracing my steps now.

Donnetta Lee said...

You haven't given up trying. And that is so admirable. Step one, step two, step three. Moving forward and not backward--even if the pace feels slow. Just don't stop too long to smell the sunflowers. D

Mona said...

Good luck to you Ivan :)

ivan@creativewritng.ca said...

Donnetta,

Andalay, andalay! Onward and onward!

Did I use this joke before?

My sunflowers...The one I named Blanche, suddenly whispered "Avalanche."
I almost fell off my stepladder, but because of the warning, a sunflower saved my life today. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Mona.

I took the book to another important politicians (I think in America they would call him a Third Ward Bigwig). There is some money available for artists in our region. I made my pitch. He took the book.
Keeping fingers crossed.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Whoops,

That was me.

Anonymous said...

Hi folks,

A couple of important dates to announce. The Halifax launch of my novel, Drive-by Saviours, will be September 22 at The Company House on Gottingen St. We'll likely kick things off around 7 pm, but I'll confirm that later. It looks like I've lined up a popular Halifax singer/songwriter, Kev Corbett, to play. I'm also hoping to have some spoken word. Here's hoping we get half of Nova Scotia in there!

Second, the Toronto launch is tentatively booked for October 4, so if you're in Toronto please mark that on your calendar. It will most likely be at the Lula Lounge on Dundas West. I'm still working on the music (if anyone has any ins with hot Toronto bands please let me know) but I'll keep you posted. I'd settle for having a third of Toronto at this event ;-)

Also, thanks to a grant from the Province of Nova Scotia I'll be doing a book tour starting right after the Toronto launch. I'll be hitting Peterborough, Port Hope, Kingston, Ottawa, Montreal, Fredericton, and Charlottetown. If you know any good bookstores or other reading venues (libraries etc.) between Toronto and Halifax, please let me know about them. And if you live in any of those towns and are willing to put up a wayward writer for a night or two, you're my new best friend!

Lastly, I have a new video up on the book. I'll be doing a series of these "behind the scenes" snippets. This one is on the many themes of the novel (ecology, international development, helping professions, indigenous cultures, Western culture, individualism, collectivism, community, Canadiana, Indonesia, and immigration). You can watch it at http://www.youtube.com/user/ChrisBenjaminWriting#p/a/u/0/PAVPSisz0b0.

Thanks so much, and I hope to see you all at a launch or reading soon.

Chris
--
Chris Benjamin is the Sustainable City Columnist for The Coast (www.thecoast.ca). In 2006/2007 he worked as a journalist in Ghana. His first novel, Drive-by Saviours, will be published by Roseway in Fall 2010. His first book of nonfiction, Green Souls, will be published by Nimbus in Fall 2011. He shared an honourable mention in the 2009 National Magazine Awards. Chris has written fiction and features for The Toronto Star, VoicePrint Canada, This Magazine, Now Magazine, Descant, Third Person Press, Nashwaak Review, Pottersfield Press, Rattling Books, The Society, University of Waterloo Press, Z Magazine, Briarpatch Magazine, The Chronicle Herald, Coastlands, Progress Magazine, and many others.

http://www.chrisbenjaminwriting.com
http://twitter.com/benjaminwrites
http://www.youtube.com/chrisbenjaminwriting

Anonymous said...

Hi folks,

A couple of important dates to announce. The Halifax launch of my novel, Drive-by Saviours, will be September 22 at The Company House on Gottingen St. We'll likely kick things off around 7 pm, but I'll confirm that later. It looks like I've lined up a popular Halifax singer/songwriter, Kev Corbett, to play. I'm also hoping to have some spoken word. Here's hoping we get half of Nova Scotia in there!

Second, the Toronto launch is tentatively booked for October 4, so if you're in Toronto please mark that on your calendar. It will most likely be at the Lula Lounge on Dundas West. I'm still working on the music (if anyone has any ins with hot Toronto bands please let me know) but I'll keep you posted. I'd settle for having a third of Toronto at this event ;-)

Also, thanks to a grant from the Province of Nova Scotia I'll be doing a book tour starting right after the Toronto launch. I'll be hitting Peterborough, Port Hope, Kingston, Ottawa, Montreal, Fredericton, and Charlottetown. If you know any good bookstores or other reading venues (libraries etc.) between Toronto and Halifax, please let me know about them. And if you live in any of those towns and are willing to put up a wayward writer for a night or two, you're my new best friend!

Lastly, I have a new video up on the book. I'll be doing a series of these "behind the scenes" snippets. This one is on the many themes of the novel (ecology, international development, helping professions, indigenous cultures, Western culture, individualism, collectivism, community, Canadiana, Indonesia, and immigration). You can watch it at http://www.youtube.com/user/ChrisBenjaminWriting#p/a/u/0/PAVPSisz0b0.

Thanks so much, and I hope to see you all at a launch or reading soon.

Chris
--
Chris Benjamin is the Sustainable City Columnist for The Coast (www.thecoast.ca). In 2006/2007 he worked as a journalist in Ghana. His first novel, Drive-by Saviours, will be published by Roseway in Fall 2010. His first book of nonfiction, Green Souls, will be published by Nimbus in Fall 2011. He shared an honourable mention in the 2009 National Magazine Awards. Chris has written fiction and features for The Toronto Star, VoicePrint Canada, This Magazine, Now Magazine, Descant, Third Person Press, Nashwaak Review, Pottersfield Press, Rattling Books, The Society, University of Waterloo Press, Z Magazine, Briarpatch Magazine, The Chronicle Herald, Coastlands, Progress Magazine, and many others.

http://www.chrisbenjaminwriting.com
http://twitter.com/benjaminwrites
http://www.youtube.com/chrisbenjaminwriting

benjibopper said...

Hi Ivan,

Thanks so much for posting the details of my launches. I hope you can make the trip down from Newmarket - would be great to meet you in person!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Benji,

It's certainly a thought.

I am right now in the throes of financial ruin and mental illness--what else is new? but I'll try to get together enough for October.
BTW, I took my book, "The Fire in Bradford" to another Regional Concillor, this time a Liberal-leaner. He said, Hey, you got Frank Klees, the Conservative guy in the back of the book. I want in! Do another press run!" :)

Charles Gramlich said...

the brown will wear off; the success might not.

Charles Gramlich said...

OK, I'm gonna be brutally honest here, Ivan. You're making me feel incredibly stupid and I don't like it. I would LOVE to buy your book, but you've got to make it easier on me than you have. I need you to post a link to a place where I can buy it. I need some specific instructions about what to do. I click around on your sidebar and I find it online for free it seems, but no place to click and buy. The one link that is shown to get chapters for free doesn't even list the title, and your name is so tiny it was hard to see. I know you've probably explained in a post about how to do it but you know blog readers are busy folks. If you don't tell me specifically how to get it I'm not going to be getting it. Put up a link, man.

benjibopper said...

Now you just need to send one of those letters to every arts journalist in Canada, and maybe the US too ;-) Seriously though, get the email fired up and remind 'em who you are!

ivan said...

Charles,

Right now, off the press, the link is me.
Email me at ivan@creativewriting.ca
gimme your address.
Price is $20. cheap. Hah. I think Western Union would work if you wanted to send the twenty bucks. I will then send the book to you by snail mail.

My mailing address is,

Ivan Prokopchuk
540 Timothy St., Apt 304
Newmarket ON L3Y 5N9
Canada

BTW, I think I have finally not only written the thesis on MAD, but I think I am!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Benji,

Thanks. I am going to try do do better than that.

Today, have started to go on foot with my "child" in my arms, door-to-door. "Think on your feet," they told me at Ryerson U....Well,I'm glad Adidas don't wear out so fast. :)

JR's Thumbprints said...

Now the real work begins! Fire the gun, Ivan, fire the gun!

ivan@creativewritintg.ca said...

Thanks, JR,

Yep. Drive the full bolt home. Bring home the Bacon!

But it might have to be an ancient Remington 1889 Double Barrel Shotgun. I might have to go two shots.

Many, many people in blogland and in the street think I should publicicise a play version of The Fire In Bradford as well as the novel.
I think Mona's advice might be right on this. Push the playscript as well.
Shotgun it? Going off from both barrels?

...Why all of a sudden. do I think of Australian foreplay as described in a Joke by one Pam:

"Brace yoursel, Sheila!"

Brace yourself, reviewers!

JR's Thumbprints said...

I'll say it again, Ivan: "Lightening Bolt, as in electrical charge, as in EEEEEEEEBOOK."

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