Friday, January 29, 2010

IN THE CROOK OF HER ARM--story.



The story made the rounds. It was considered off-trail by my professional friends. My professional friends were interested in good writing. Quality stuff that people would want to read.
I submitted the story, and dead silence.

Well, what do you think of my story, I asked an editor.

"Yeah, I read it."

"Well?"

"I dunno. Weird and off-trail...And then I don't go for all that cock-in-mouth stuff. Don't know."

It was soon apparent to me that I had laid an egg.

But something had compelled me to write the story. A daemon, five o'clock in the morning, Nietzsche's daemon whistling through the keyhole. Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin too: Abandon your creeping meatball and do this.

This is important.

Where do we draw the line between the enthusiast and the madman?

My good wife had always allowed me to indulge in my fantasies. After all, we were rich, artistic, and had the money to follow our own natures.

But my own nature was telling me something else.

"You must go out, gather the experience and write this story."

But to write the story, I would have to leave my wife.

"So be it," said the daemon.

But the daemons may have been a false daemon of creativity. It may have been a mere trickster whose aim it was to have me go out and ruin my life.

For everybody I'd shown the story to, seemed a bit put off by it. Twenty years ago, editors were prissier, more conservative. "All that Sixy-Nine...I wonder."

Maybe I'd just gone on a bum's quest and had written a bum story.

Here goes anyway.


IN THE CROOK OF HER ARM
(or, An Exploration into the nature of eschatology)

No one saw him leave home. No one saw him on the train where he had reconsidered the wife of the bright yellow day to whom he had just said goodbye. No one saw him leave for Mexico City on the early morning plane. No one saw him land at Mexico City Airport. No one saw him getting on the bus for San Miguel de Allende. Only God saw him.

He had felt for the first time in his eye yesterday's tear, and it was still only yesteday to him as he moved ahead into time, and he wondered how this could be. He knew he was racing so far ahead of himself as to reach the point where a soul could not ever catch up with the body if the body ever stopped moving, towards that new flat land of a Dali, perhaps, a surreal field of shot horses and fallen women. But he had to move, to escape the dreams he had been having, the apartments of horror where there were staring Medusa faces. And and white hotels with burning women standing outside, though the burning women were never consumed.

No one saw him going upstairs up a curving ballustrade to rent his apartment, no one saw him in his room with the wood fireplace for heat, sitting at his typewriter, no one saw him there in San Miguel de Allende, where the grass was dream grass and his clay house an old Grandee's house of pale smoke and history.

Then he saw her, or, rather, she saw him. There, where southwest was another part of the world. There, where the girls were tall and slightly knockneed, a touch of Cherokee, perhaps, certainly Tarascan, local Indian... And like a lonesome woman she came to him, felt his loneliness and they had found each other.

Yet on the train, he had considered himself a still-married man, who had so recently said goodbye to a wife of the bright yellow day, to soon rent a monk's cell, to sigh in a kind of relief at having left it all, to immediately be plunged into a precipice of silence, for there was a vacuum here, and a vacuum is either death or great power.

And soon there was an entaglement with the Cherokee woman. There were sparks among the bougainvillea and the flowers, and fights, and love again. But very quickly, they fused together.
It was then that he decided to write his beautiful novel in two parts.

This began to do.

Then he and the Cherokee woman separated again.

And when he got home there was no one there as he walked past the dog, past the bird, past the blighted tree around which the lilacs had all died, but the phlox and the daisies were out, where his wife appeared to him, now an ochre stranger and her dark-eyed lover a worse shade.

And he knew not what to do, save go insane, and he was not ready for that and he sent for his Cherokee love out of Mexico by way of Montana and California, for that was where she had lived, and she came to him carrying to great wicker baskets and an enormous quilt.

And so they now settled in Toronto and every five days he would see his heartbreakingly beautiful children, take them to theatres and sunny hills and dells and the Cherokee woman would come with them and she would look after them, fuss after them and bring her gifts and read them stories and check out the advertisements for the best children's plays, for she appeared to love him, and so, them.

And it soon became apparent to him that he had made a dreadful mistake, that she was not the one, that he should never have gone off to Mexico to write his beautiful novel in two parts, for he had done nothing more than to fall into a strange bed, though the Cherokee womand did love him, he knew. For they had separated, he'd left her there in Mexico as he ran back home and he had felt a deep loss, there had been a fusion and both of them had felt the tear.

And yet on the road, in his car, on the way to his old teaching spot, he would be seized with longing, regret, pain for want of the wife of his youth, calling her name, going mad behind the wheel of the car he had retrieved as part bargain in the failed marriage, yet it had not been his car but hers, as it had not been his own life but hers.

And he felt, as two rook-like birds along the road seemed to pick at him, his liver, spleen, brains that he was in some Hieronymous Bosch fantasy, the birds were eating him and he was near to exploding.

"You are going crazy, said the Cherokee woman. You need an analyst."

And soon there was the analyst, who merely shook his head and recommended a stronger doctor and the stronger doctor recommened an insane asylum where the grass was again dream grass, there where the mind turned to oceans of pepper and the Cherokee woman was on another side of the world, and all the songs were about the Hotel California.

And while in the Hotel California, he felt entire pieces of himself being ripped away, entire chunks of Laura, her body, her breasts, her vagina, old sepia-toned family portraits of their trips to the Barbados, their bearded elders, their children, all ripped away by an adultery that screamed to God even though it had been all so easy, for it had no conscience, this sex thing, though this experience somehow led to the terrible triangle of God.

And here, he crossed himself.

And presently, they appeared to make a vegetable of him, "this is how we make an asshole", filling him with doubt,guilt and religion and so mutated, he was soon thrust out into the world as a good tailor or taxi driver before he had hardly learned how to cut cloth or read a map.
And all the while, the Cherokee woman had been writing and telephoning him, "Doofus, wake up," but he had already gone into the nearly fatal confusion that is madness, and it had been too late. And the Cherokee woman was forced to go to Idaho City, Idaho, there with the potatoes, his cousins now, out there where West was another side of the world.

And then, in a parallel universe of strange books like Solaris, there appeared a third woman who somehow promised to repair all, to answer his every wish, including the need to go home again.
And this third woman had something of the man in her and she seized him by the woman inside and gave him a harrowing and a shaking, though he yet came inside her mouth and so enslaved her.

And presently, he met another woman. He was impoverished now, because he had gone off the scale, one woman after another and not women to marry; he was on a rollercoaster, a series of rollercoasters on which beside him had sat differeint women, the last of which had robbed him of everything he had, all fifty thousand of it.

And this woman saw that he was poor while she took him into her mouth and tasted him and did not like it, did not like him, did not like to see his ears down there between which was death on two legs and the song in his head may well have been Queen. And she left him to marry a dealer in real estate and lived happily ever after.

While he again became a teacher.

Teacher? Adulterer. What is left after a man reaches the stench of the tomb? Down among the criminal elements, down among the losers, alcoholics, thieves. The garden of Eden is the marriage bed and the fiery angel will punish.

And he took up with a lounge dancer whose mouth had had again violated, causing her too to leave in disgust, but not before he say his own dirty pants hanging on the wall, which he soon picked up, dressing himself in the messy trousers.

And as he put on his drousers, he realized that the typewriter had been gathering dust and grime for a long time now and he realized that it was at this time that he had to complete his novel in two parts.

And barely before had completed his novel, he was again hired by the local university to teach, for he needed an income, and it was here that he met the She, even before he finished his novel in two parts.

She was as beautiful as a star, as fine as a mother's body, a star of 1930's films, the IT Girl, Clara Bow, blonde as Greta Garbo, sexy as a girl standing against a wall in the sun, her head back, inviting a lover.

She would not let him get too close. She would only respond to him part way and he had to content himsel with sleeping in the crook of her arm. He was harboring a love. In the crook of her arm.

But in the crook of her arm had been a pinprick, a deep one.

It was the cocaine she loved first, and then him.

And she tried to make him come along, and he spat it out and was soon off to another trip to Mexico.

Where he would write his beautiful novel in two parts.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Pants on the ground, pants on the ground..Or was that Dick Assman?



Addled by a mental block of late, no doubt caused by really bad Chinese mouthwash which I thought would be as harmless as Listerine when it came to a Vodka replacement--It's not. Oh Lord it's not! -- I found myself in a panicky state of memory loss. Not only could I not think, I could hardly type.
And yet the old discipline from the old newspaper days, was still there. Produce! Pros don't get mental blocks. They work either on or off alcohol, (though wood alcohol seems the be the entire content of your Chinese mouthwash).

So with my brain seemingly half shot away, I searched for an idea, any idea that would, at least produce a blog if I didn't have anything for the papers.
I tried to think of an idea. Any idea.
Nothing. And my fingers weren't going where they were supposed to be going when I typed out some themes.

Memory loss. Holy S...! I got to get out of this condition. Work. Work on anything, if only for therapy.

So I did Media Writing 101. Look at the encyclopaedia for ideas.
Well, now. Here on page one.
Aaardvark: A small African mammal.....
(Lord, how badly blocked am I?I am reduced to small African burrowing animals? What time is it getting to be?)

Panic mode. I am still not writing anything.

Down through the A's, still hoping for an idea, any idea.

Hm.

Finally:

Assman. Dick.

Well. Here could be a piece!


From another source:
"Dick Assman (1934 - ) is a Saskatchewan petrol station owner whose name propelled him to celebrity status across North America in 1995. Assman, who worked at Petro-Canada's Victoria Square Mall station in Regina, was discovered by David Letterman, who was amused by his name. Assman was lavishly introduced on July 24, 1995, on The Late Show with David Letterman, where he was a nightly feature for about a month. Live field units in Canada interviewed him for the show. Over the weeks, Assman received a musical tribute from Tony Orlando, while Joe Namath declared himself an "Ass-maniac".

Vancouver polling company Angus Reid reported that 49 percent of surveyed Canadians in September 1995 had heard of his name. Assman received a number of contracts for commercial appearances, was asked to run for public office, and received many marriage proposals. Assmania came to a close in August when Assman visited the Ed Sullivan Theater and was presented with a bouquet of roses by Letterman."

Well I think I got a subject. Maybe two subjects in one.

First there came Dick Assman, and much later, "General Larry Platt, though Larry Platt is talking of pants and not ass.

Yes, Larry Platt. Not Assman, but Pants man.
Sample lyrics:

Pants on the ground
Pants on the ground
You're lookin' like a fool
With your pants on the ground.


"The 62-year-old General Larry Platt's new musical rant against baggy-trousered B-boys, the instant classic "Pants On The Ground," which debuted last week on Atlanta auditions Idol episode and instantaneously made "PantsOnTheGround" one of the top Twitter trending topics of the night."
This song is clearly the best thing to happen to the reality industry, I maintain, since David Letterman discovered Dick Assman.

How more real can you get by having the name of Dick Assman?
And Larry Platt complaining of ghetto B-Boys with their pants on the ground, and yes, they do look foolish with their rear ends seemingly dragging on the ground.

And me? Well, I tried reaching Dick Assman's agent for comment.
"No comment," said the agent. "You'll have to pay for it. Dick is expensive."

As for Larry Platt?

I couldn't find Larry, but someone in his office said to me,
"How ya gonna get a girl with a name like Ivan Prokopchuk?

Pants on the ground
Pants on the ground
Lookin' like a fool
With your pants on the ground.

##

Monday, January 18, 2010

A scene in my play. The Grey Goat Pub, where men are men and so are half the women



Lazy in Gaza.

I have been asked by some actors to finally put my Fire In Brandford play together.

It is not together. It is far from together. To coin an oxymoron, beware of the guy who says he has it all together. This means he is so fu*cked up he is almost FUBR.
So no, I do not have the play together. To get it all done, right down to the last beat, takes discipline, energy.
On my diet of dusty five-year-old cans of Spam (the real thing) and incredibly complicated popcorn making kits from the food bank, I am as immobile as Jabba the Hutt, but sure long for a Carrie Fisher to do a little houri dance. Maybe that's it. The devil always tempts a Luther. Maybe he had his porn by some chick in a nun's outfit, who knows? Ah sacrilege. Gives ya a rush, donnit?
Says my friend John Dowson, an actor and sometime producer, "Don't send me any porn, Ivan."

Well, it's not porn, but it may lead to scorn.

So here is Act 1, Scene 3 three of my "Fire in Bradford".



INT. NIGHT.
GREY GOAT ENGLISH PUB AGAIN. THE PLACE IS NOISY AND RAUCOUS. THE MAIN ATTRACTION IS THE BUSY BAR WITH ITS FULLBREASTED, SATIN-BLOUSED BARMAIDS. THERE ARE TWO OF THEM , A BLONDE AND A BRUNETTE SERVING. THE PLACE IS INTERNATIONAL, THOUGH LARGELY SCOTS. SOME OF THE MEN ARE INDEED IN KILTS.
LYING DOWN ON HE BAIZE POOL TABLE, ONE FOOT STILL ON THE FLOOR AS PER RULES, A SCOTSMAN LOOKS SLIGHTLY RIDICULOUS, KILT HIKED WAY UP, BUTTOCKS SHOWING, AS HE ATTEMPTS A SHOT FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE TABLE.
ONE OF THE OPPOSING PARTNERS TAKES HIS CUE AND WORKS IT UP THE KILT OF THE SUPINE SCOTSMAN.

SCOTS POOL PLAYER.
Will ye just fuck- off, Mate?

HE GETS OFF THE TABLE AND RAISES A CUE TO THE CHEST OF THE OPPOSING PLAYER'S PARTNER.

THERE IS A MELLEE. AS OTHER CUES ARE RAISED AS IF IN EN GARDE POSITION.


VOICE OF MANAGER, WHO IS BEHIND THE BAR WITH THE MAIDS
You guys start fighting, you're all cut off for life.

THE POOL PLAYERS SETTLE DOWN.

THERE IS SMOKE IN THE AIR IN THE PUB, AND A COMFORTABLE WHISKEY SMELL.. HUM OF THE CROWD.

THE PROFESSOR AND HIS BOOK EDITOR ARE IN A BOOTH AT STAGE LEFT OF THE BAR. THEY ARE DRIKING TOBY BEER.

EDITOR (WHO IS DARK, BEARDED AND WEARING GLASSES)
What kind of a place did you take me to? I thought you said it was a swell British pub.

THE PROFESSOR.
It is. But all these Scotsmen, mostly just off the boat, have all taken over. Most of them out of Glasgow, looking for a new life. I guess old habits die hard. They come here lookin for a woman or a fight. They'll take either one.

THE EDITOR
So what did you ask me out for. Sounds like something's very much on your mind. It's so smoky in here.(WIPES FOREHEAD)

THE PROFESSOR:
It's smoky in my head, John. Right among the pillars.
There is this woman....


EDITOR
Oh yeah. Always "this woman." Most men, when they get divorced, find another woman. With you, it's one after another. You're right off the scale.

THE PROFESSOR
No. This one is different. Way different situation.(HE RAISES HIS GLASS AND TAKES A LONG DRAUGHT.)
Got this problem. I was more thoroughly loved last night than I'd ever been before. Yet somehow, I didn't finish.

She came to me without reservation. Yet I did not complete the act. I feel somehow that I had not been a full man. I had not achieved completion.

THE EDITOR

David, David David. You know that old bit out of Johnny Carson. Where this guy brings in this motorized
unicycle, which he calls a "Wheelie"?
Some days you just can't get your wheelie to work.

THE PROFESSOR
No, it wasn't anything like that. Seems she poured sand into my wheelie. Fucked me up.


THE PUBLISHER TAKES HIS OWN DRINK OUT OF THE TOBY GLASS.

(A BEAT HERE)


THE PUBLISHER
New one on me. It's usually you who is playing musical broads.

THE PROFESSOR.
It's different this time. She is married, her husband looks like a voyeur, probably a poof, and I'll bet she's getting her real sex out of third guy if I know some women I think she is just using me for entertainment, an aphrodisiac and a sounding board. I also suspect she's on drugs.

THE EDITOR.
Wow. You really pick 'em.Sounds like a story. Maybe you should write about it.


THE PROFESSOR
Jeezus, John. I really don't want to be in this play.
But I've got her smell. She seems right inside me. Ever been so horny your brain seems awash with alligator sperm?

THE EDITOR.
Or so horny you could faint? LIke James Joyce, jacked off by a woman in a theatre and following that woman around for most of his days?

THE PROFESSOR
You got the scenario. I guess that's why you're an editor and me the writer. Yep. Looks like it's Professor and the Blue Angel. Poor old Professor Rath. Horny and confused as a mink on a sandbar. And crowing like a rooster while Marlene does everybody in town.

THE EDITOR (TAKES ANOTHER DRINK. HE SWATS AT A FLY)
This sound a bit different from Prof. Rath's situation. More bizzarre.

Can I say something?

THE PROFESSOR
Shoot.

THE EDITOR

Sounds like you've just stumbled on a houseful of pimps.

So what happened?


THE PROFESSOR

One day she walked into my creative writing class....

THE PROFESSOR IS INTERRUPED BY A WAITRESS WHO BTINGS MORE DRINKS. SHE IS BOSOMY AND THE PROFESSOR NOTICES.

SHE FINISHES SETTING UP, THEY HAVE FRESH DRINKS, THE PROFESSOR IS ABOUT TO PAY, BUT SHE IS DISINCLINED TO TAKE THE MONEY AT FIRST.

WAITRESS:

Are you Professor Lohan?

PROFESSOR.

Why, yes.

WAITRESS

Therere's a phone call for you. At the bar. Do you want to take it?

PROFESSOR (LOOKS FIRST AT THE WAITRESS AND THEN AT THE EDITOR).

Oh, I guess I'd better...How did anyone know I was here?


THE PROFESSOR STANDS UP AND TURNS AROUND TO WALK OVER TO THE BAR. A LONE WOMAN IS

SITTING AT THE FAR CORNER, NEXT TO THE TELEPHONE. SHE IS PERCHED ON A VERY HIGH STOOL,
WHICH IS ABOUT TWO FEET AWAY FROM THE BRASSY, OAKEN BAR. THE PROFESSOR WONDERS HOW

SHE CAN REACH HER DRINK, AND SHE IN FACT IS HAVING SOME TROUBLE WITH THIS.

THE PROFESSHOR HAS TO GET PAST THE FUMBLNG WOMAN TO GET AT THE PHONE. HE HUNCHES DOWN A BIT TO GET AT IT.
SUDDENLY THE WOMAN, WHO IS DRESSED IN A BLACK SKIRT AND HIGH HEELS, AND NOW BEHIND, SOMEHOW IMMEDIATEL"Y BEHIND HIM, HE FEELS HER WINDING HER LEGS AROUND HIM FROM BEHIND. HE CAN"T GET AT THE HONE. HE TURNS ROUND TO DISCOVER PANTIES.

MYSTERIUS WOMAN

You've been doing some hard work, haven't you? I can smell the work and stress.

THE PROFESSOR (UNTANGLING HIMSELF, ONE KNEE AT A TIME. HE DOES THIS AS NATURALLY AS HE CAN, PUTTING AN ARM AROUND THE WOMAN'S RIGHT SHOULDER):

I think you're lovely. It's just that I have some business to attend to right now.

THE PROFESSOR KEEPS AND ARM AROUND THE WOMAN'S SHOULDER. HE REACHES FOR THE TELEPHONE WITH HIS RIGHT HAND.

THERE IS A DIAL TONE.
THE CALLER, PROBABLY TIRED OF WAITING, HAD HUNG UP.

HE TAKES HIS LEFT ARM OFF THE MYSTERIOUS WOMAN, GIVES HER A HUG AND GOES TO MAKE FOR THE BOOTH WHERE THE EDITOR STILL SITS WITING FOR HIM. HE REJOINS THE EDITOR.

PROFESSOR
The woods are full of funny people.

EDITOR (NOW A LITTLE AFFECTED BY THE BEER THAT HE HAS ALMOST FINIISHED):

Ummm. Wha..?

PROFESSOR
I don't know how to tell you this. It really reminds me of a joke, the one about the musician, playing badly all night, complaining over the actions of a disgruntled pervert who kept masturbating in the second row.

EDITOR
I don't want to know!

PROFESSOR

Fiddler said "Someone threw a fuck at me."

EDITOR
What are your talking about?

DAVID
Lady at the bar. Almost attacked me.

THE EDITOR

You got confidence. That's what it is.

THE PROFESSOR SHRUGS.

PROFESSOR 9TAKES A DRUGHT OF HIS UNFINISHED BEER)

Did you ever read a book by Frederic Exley, "A Fan's Notes"?

EDITOR
Of course. What of it?

PROFESSOR

It seems that Mr. Exley is disgusted over being a fan all his life, of loving the great football guy, The Gipper, of loving great authors.
But it was always somebody else that was great, never him."
There is another guy in this Celia's life. I can sense it. It's never going to be me.

THE EDITOR.
Yep. You're like your archetype, I guess. Prof. Rath.Cuckolded by Marlene Dietrich. Crowing like a rooster.

THE PROFSSOR TAKES A DEEP DRAUGHT. HE STANDS UP FROM THE TABLE, CAUSING A GROAN OF CHAIRS. SUDDENLY HE CRIES OUT.

Cuckarukakoo!

THIS CAUSES A STIR AMONG THE OTHER TABLES.

THE EDITOR (A LITTLE EMBARRASSED):

You sir, are a fucking nut.

Get out of that situation. Walk away from it.

Walk!

......end Act 1, scene four

##

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Please Sir, may I have another? The masochism of a new novel



The roman a clef, the deft little book, the "novel with a key" that will justify everything, make your old enemies choke on their latte and canned caviar.

Like another little Russian, I had been insulted and injured. I am just back from a contact in Detroit. I have have picked up a Detroit attitude. If you can't fix 'em, f*ck 'em.

Well.

Nice work if you can get it. Even nicer if you could write and write a little better than those around you at the time, teachers of english who fancied themselves writers.

So, still smarting after twenty years of what I then perceived as insult and injury I began to write the following:

A lifetime ago, I was a college professor. I had a secretary and a receptionist and a computer hard drive full of emails from important tliving novelists whose work I lectured about. I was still in their circle, at least with the Canadians and I missed their company, usually at the swell but old Winchester Hotel on King Street West, Toronto, Oh, I missed our mammoth drunks at that place, even the many times we writers were asked to leave, after our enthusiastic, drunken constructs of great sprawling novels in the smoky pub air, back in the days before the tobacco prohibition. Now, there were nervous, class conscious waiters anxious for tips who didn't want to hear our bullshit, and "stop all that smoking, there's a law you know." There was usually an eclectic clientele at the Winchester. Disgraced Doctors, hoboes or wandering writers, we all loved the place all the same.
But there had been a hiatus, a stoppage.I realized I was starting to drink my life away. I had to be what I told everybody in the pub I was, a writer, but some actually began to use the word phoney right to me across the hastily wiped tables. Well, I had to prove them wrong. At least to myself.
I went to Mexico to write still another novel. Carramba. The life there among the bougainvillea, those flowers that grew out of walls, and the Mariachi bands that grew out town squares -- again seemed stonger and more fascinating than the actual book I had been working on. Was I writing or was I just drinking, scribbling and fornicating? Seemed it was impossible to go off in all three directions. The book never did come out right. Finally after nine months,I stopped drinking and got it done by discipline alone. You had to be an army veteran or, (dare one say it?) disciplined academic in order to finish things. Finished on page 500, but I knew in my heart of hearts that it was no good. I could not go on in the impossible profession of paid novelist. I was written out. Knew it for sure. I was finished, broke and with a hangover that screamed to God. I had to abandone the vows, try to make money and not paragraphs now. Go to work. Get a job.

I returned to Toronto to find a society of almost unbearable stuffiness, of smoke- free environments, bicycles and fitness parlors while around the old Winchester hotel there was murder and mayhem, black on black, as if to contradict it all. Soon, I arrived at another politically correct place, the college, though the politics here was local, but no less murderous as competitive faculty bent on a headship seemed to carry knives this long. Years even further back, at my first go round in teaching I had achieved an untenured professorship by way of a bestseller, a fluke, really, an odyssey of novel about about an escapee from suburbia, a refugee from the monster home-with-no-back-yard Glenway subdivision in Newmarket, Ontario, yeah, exurbanite me. There were a lot of restless, greying forty -year- olds in their in their Dilbert cube offices in Toronto who wished like hell to have done what I did, even if it meant loss of security, personal and financial.

I failed. Bad knight. Broke my lance in the quest. The goal was wrong, my talent somewhat short. At the end a year's actual writing, the outcome in Toronto had been rejection. Rejection? Who me? God's chosen?

Failure.The Alvin and the Chipmuks song in my head, as if out of a computer: "Yes you." I did not bother to resubmit the new book. I knew that the novel was no good. Just knew it. Too wordy, too long, to unstructured for someone who was supposed to be a seasoned novelist. I was also broke. I had to get a job in or around my profession. Again, Like another Johnny Helpless-Can't-Do, I took a job as a teacher.

Teaching was far easier than writing. Writing was going Gutenburg,a placing of characters of black marks on white paper, producing print, the long, hard way. Is seemed to me the most difficult part of teaching was figuring out what you were going to talk about the next day. It also paid five hundred dollars a day, whereas for an author, the pay was far from secure. It would be fifty thousand dollars flat, and if your book didn't go, you had to pay some or all of it it back. Law of deminishing returns the superior economics profs had said.

But even here, at Seneca College amng the ivied halls and park grounds of Lady Eaton's former estate in King City, I was beginning to sense there was now even less security at King than in some writer's colony in West End Toronto or Vancouver.

My employer, Seneca College, was trying to fire me.


Hubris, sin of pride. Dare I go on for another 50,000 words on this?

Whaddaya think?

##

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Chewbacca's sense of snow




January blues.

It is two below zero (F) outside in Toronto.

To go out for beer is daunting.

I pace the floor making Chewbacca sounds.

And all that talk about global warning.It is colder in London than Toronto. Ten below. Suzuki must be a Wookie.
Were he in Toronto and not B.C. he would be not a completly abominable snowman, but close. The global warmers have become something of an abomination, certainly among Brits who are running out of natural gas for their one- bob- at- a -time pay-as-you- freeze gas heaters. Has that country discovered central heating yet? The economy will surely improve. Furnace sales are up and away.
I maintain that a civilization is measured by its plumbing and heating. Poor Brits now back in the stone age for all their pretenses to being Romans all this time? Oh, the cold! Et tu Brute!
Those hot shorts, fashion statement of underwear bombers, must surely be brisk- selling items at the duty free shop at Heath Row.
The old joke about it being airy. What did you expect? This time feather knickers for sure.
Nobody in Britain expected twenty below.
Again, it takes grit to be a Brit.
Londoners develop a safe, steady routine for forty years. Mild climate. No serious traffic problems in winter.
And then London is a skating rink, the Austin Coopers go round and round. And there is a polar bear watch near Canada House.

##

*Egad. I think my computer froze. Have to take hard drive, monitor and speakers apart. Not only super cold but entropy here!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Writing a novel? An ugly little novel? Lightnin' Hopkins could do it more lyrically in twelve bars





They say it's snowin' in New York City.
All kinds of people can't get out the door..."
--Lightnin' Hopkins.

Well, this ain't New York city and po Lighnin is dead, but Dagwood Bumstead can't get out the door this morning for the blizzard and bone chill.
January. Janus.Two faced god of change.

Making the scene with the porn queen. Dagwood isn't very impressed with himself this morning.

Better (worse?) time behind? This Tom Waits scene is no good. Making the scene with tha magazine.
There had been a date, but Dagwood chickened out for the drive to Toronto. Faint heart does not win fair lady.
Playboy in the snow.
Dagwood dreams.

Thirty-three years ago, on a bright January day, Dagwood Bumstead, suburban college prof, took his suitcase and typewriter to Pearson International airport to go off to Mexico to write the great Canadian novel.
Should have stayed home.
Sam (Lightni') Hopkins did it better in 12-bar blues:

Back Door Friend
by Sam "Lightnin' " Hopkins

What you gonna do with a woman, yeah, when she got a back do' friend?
What are you gonna do with a woman, yes, when she got a back do' friend?
She just prayin' for you to move out, so her back do' friend can move in
Yes, it's hard to love a woman, yes, you know she got a back do' friend
Yes, it's hard to love a woman, oh Lord, yes, you know she got a back do' friend
Yes, when she prayin' for you to move out, so her back do' friend can move in
Yeah, you know I bought that woman a diamond ring, I thought that she would change
I went home one morn' and I caught her doin', whoa, that same old thing
Now what you gonna do with a mad woman, oh, when she got a back do' friend
When she prayin' all the time for you to move out, so her back do' friend, he can move in


Po' Dagwood Bumstead had no idea.
He thought it was a one-way thing that he did.
Whatever.
In Mexico, there was a back door friend of his own.
Soap opera.
Seems so trite and shallow on the surface, so middle class, so well dressed and coiffed all, save for the horrible adulteries going on all around.

So it wouldn't have been better to stay home and write--or try to write, since one is white and Honkies don't do blues very well--a 12 bar blues instead of Bumstead's suburban soap opera.

Odysseus comes home. And the suitors have taken over.
Der bad tag, Dag.

Homer wrote the worldls first novel, flashback and all.
And Dagwood lost one ball.
Including novel with one flashback.

Oh po Lightnin'
Po Bumstead.
Jack and Jill went up the hill.
And Bumstead tumbling down.

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