Friday, November 05, 2010

So you think you have a gift....




Comes to reading, I'm so busy with the blogging these days that I am like the Champion Oyster Eater out of old Bob and Ray radio.

....They are interviewing a man on a very early prototype radio show of something like "Man Versus Food."

They ask the champion oyster eater, "How many oysters did you eat today?"

He answers, "Three"

"Three?...I though you were the champon oyster eater!"

Champ:

"Yeah, but they're slippery little devils!"

Well, to do a one-eighty, I must admit that I have read one, count it, one novel this year.

For a writer, that's unconsciable....Sure, there were lots of shorts stories and articles, lots of blog read. But one novel?

It was called "The Communist's Daughter" by some Canadian writer, and after myself having married Red Rosie at one point--I didn't want to view another old Ninochka film with Greta Garbo. But "Daughter" was different...an old Commie's excuses for having to abandon a daughter whom he'd never seen. He had to go and find the Way!
It's almost a familiar quest with talented people.
Genius songstress Joni Mitchell did the same thing. Some tabloids said, "Bitch genius abandons daughter," but then don't we all sometimes give it all up for the beautiful songs, or, in our case, what we think are beautiful songs...Compared to those of Joni Mitchell, why in hell did we run off to Tahiti or somewhere e, only to find, after losing everything, that our songs were more like Barry Manifold.

"How many oysters did you eat?"

"Three."...because the oysters of creativity are slippery!

The god has a price, and it might well be your teeth...and even hair...I mean come on, have you ever tried to write a novel? It's impossible!...so you write stuff like I'm writin' now!
For sure I should be reading more, certainly reading more novels. The beast has to feed!
But no, only one novel read all the way through this year.. About the Commie's daughter....He doing a Leon Trotsky and almost getting hammered out, as he explains to his estranged daughter. Got the Trotsky trots. Went for a dump.

Familiar story...Samson, Intending to meet lions on the path. And he finally knowing that he was a mouse. Squeaking his excuses.

Don't he seem a little like you and me?
The gradiose plan, the calclulated risk;
And wham! Rumpelstitskin.

Somebody will call your name.

Asshole?

You'd better get back to reading, would-be Shakespeare. Read some real books besides your clumsy scrawls.

Somebody has already done you, but better.
Hard to top the noble wop.
Dante Alleghieri.
Ya should have read him/her before you started out on your journey to Tahiti.

But then, you are secretly like a mainland Italian:

No future.
...But like Dante's compusive sinner in Hell,

what a past!

This is the strangest of all secrets.

"In the middle of the journey of our lives..."

##

13 comments:

JR's Thumbprints said...

One novel per year may be too little, but it's still more than most folks read. Hell, I'm doing good if I can get some of my students to read a paragraph!

ivan said...

Or, if you were to teach math, and mention bases--the mind boggles on what the word association would be.

Maybe old Elvis,

"I wanna be free..."

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm really a compulsive reader these days. I just always have a book going, usually a few books, and I keep plodding along, which adds up over the year.

Erik Donald France said...

Too wicked, man! Very funny, Bukowski meets Son House . . . which reminds me to ask a guy who was a bartender in Detroit in the late 60s about living in Joni Mitchell's flat. Everything is connnected . . .

Sometime I'll knock off a short novel (like The Stranger and I'm loathe to pick up a massive Dostoevsky tome again anytime soon -- but only because of the length. I do read read Notes from Underground every once in a while.

Erik Donald France said...

p.s.

Paragraph end: )

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Erik Donald France,

I likes Son House. :)

I'd like to be a Baptist Preacher
Standin' by the door

If I was a Baptist preacher
I wouldn't have to work no more


...Seems to me our choice of books we'd like to write-- or like to have written, is pretty well the same.

I got pretty absorbed with The Stranger, especially now that my mother is in the Home. :-(

...But I was especially intrigued by Camus'
The Fall.
Old Judge-Penitent over here every so often crossing himself and beating his breast. :)

As for Notes from the Underground, I swear old Fyodor is writing about today!...Certainly in the Possessed, the very first paragraph.
Man, those Russian cats!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Charles,

I used to offer my students the oxymoron, "Read like a pig."

Yep. Gotta keep that flame going.

I think of the Canadian poet Robert W. Service:

It's the steady quiet, plodding ones
That win the lifelong race.

...The quiet readers become writers?

Mona said...

do they need that kind of excuse to get rid of a daughter? In India they get rid of them just because of that! That they are daughters. Four, or sometimes even two months before they are born. Yep. Female infanticide rules inIndia!

Ivan, My brother received the copies of the books you send. Thanks a lot! I will be getting it sometime soon here!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Mona,

I somehow wonder if the current seemingly washed out generation in Canada is what is left after the abotionist's needle....And the biggest abortionist in Canada got top Canada prize and a medal. What in *#*&^% is Canada thinking?

On a happier note, so glad that "The Fire in Bradford" book is making its passage to India.

...I know what you think of the book; it's included in the novel with your picture in it-- but your brother says he too will send in his report. His note was cordial. He is a nice guy.

But I say, bring it on. I can take it!...(I didn't mention that one bad review in ChuckerCanuck's blog by an anonymous critic, made me pull up tufts or grass, tell the critic "his ass was grass"--and ended up with my all but destroying ChuckerCanuck's blog)....There is more to the story as Chucker decided that his blog was full of assholes and he made up a new blog titled, oddly, "Tarkwell Robotico."

Natrally, I visited the new site, assured Chucker that I would now be a good commentator and from here on, would agree with everything he said, and speak to him in soothing voice...I don't think I helped to sink his old blog, but calling my critic a douchebag is hardly the way of an officer and a gentleman. :)
Oh what the hell. Old Canadian Conservative ChuckerCanuck blog was full of douchebags... And me among them? Even up to the time Chucks old blog was scuttled I told my critic his ass was grass.
Outraged ego!

Anyway, in the old blog, which contained the criticism of my novel, Mark The Walking Man took up the cudgels to defend me, along with Donnetta Lee, you and others.
...Then blog host Chucker himself piped in to say, it wasn't bad enough the critic said that "Ivan's novel sucked," but he didn't even put his name on the comment.
The general consensus seemed, "F*ck Ivan? Fuck you, ya coward."
Oh the dead and dying in ChuckerCanuck's old blog!

No wonder he has now taken on a disguise and a new identity.

...But a "Tarkwell Robotico" blog?

Egad. It sound a little like me.

Gee. Ain't it fun to be in Kindergaten?
...But what the hell. I got 38 responses on my poor book.
Andalay, andalay!

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Hi folks,

Just wanted to let you know I'll be reading and/or signing Drive-by Saviours throughout the month, including the dates below. Would love to see you there - and if you know people in these areas please pass along the invitation:

Wed Nov 10, 7 pm Antigonish NS, StFX Art Gallery, Student Union Building, St. Francis Xavier University
Thurs Nov 25, 12:00-2:00pm, Halifax NS, Halifax Club, 1682 Hollis St (with Lesley Choyce and Alexander Macleod)


Sat Nov 27, 2:30-4:00pm, Bridgewater NS, Coles Books, Bridgewater Mall, 421 Lahave St, Bridgewater

Thanks,
Chris

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

Ivan adds: (That is Chris Benjamin,or Benjibopper).

Middle Ditch said...

That's more than I have managed Ivan. I should read more too.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Ah, Monique, you are a natural in the fine old English Music Hall tradition.

Take heart. Shakespeare was an Englishman!