Monday, November 21, 2011

Are you the fish, Friar?



Tastes and sounds in the morning.
Fresh salmon fillets sizzling in a pan.

I had, uncharacteristically, had fish for breakfast. It was damn good salmon. It brought memories of Manzanilla, Mexico. Cheap hotels, lots of fish from the nearby dock.
Eating fish, which, of course is great for the libido...And you're in an illicit love affair. It is wrong. You know that it's wrong. You are somewhere between heaven and hell, on the edge of thinness and self-deception. You are a married man, but as the product of your generation, a somewhat naif man. If it feels good, do it.

She was lying face downwards on her terrycloth towel, a breeze toying with her fine blonde hair. I reached out to stroke that hair, so spanking clean, and the woman turned to face me with her full pale blue eyes, wide apart and a little crazy, the high California cheekbones and a mouth as wide and pretty as an idyll's.

We were lying in the grass before a Mexican spa, one of a dozen in the central plateau, the hot springs of Los Antes, lush and tropical in a benign late February sun. Before us steamed a pool, hot as a bathtub, fat old tourists squatting therein like latter day versions of souls being cleansed in Dante's purgatory.

What a far cry this was from frosty Canada, from the sense of hopelessness and death that comes every February, when nothing seems to break the gloom, the threatening darkness, the pallor of one's skin. Canadians are more like Finns or Norwegians, not at all in temperament like the "slow Americans" that someone had labeled them.

Like the Finn, the Canadian drinks to excess in the course of a long and oppressive winter; he entertains gloomy and destructive thoughts on the worst of the snowy or slushy days, building up slow, smoldering resentment against one's wife, one's children, one's dog.

I hope I didn't come to Mexico just to escape winters, I was thinking, my plans, my equations, my diagrams now not meaning very much at all. I was conscious again that I was in possession of a body, mine and that in the end, back there, no gain, no gain at all was worth the loss of one's health.

But how little it had taken to turn it all around. The sun. O that sun! No wonder the Aztecs had worshipped it.

And now I was a sun worshipper, at least, second hand for it was Valerie who seemed to almost thrive in water or near it, and I was in the presence of a Loreli, a Russalka--and, dumb cossack, too enamored to know I would soon be moored on a rock.


Self- deception.

Separate vacations.

The truth, they say is often couched in humour and irony.

Joke out of Newfoundland:

A monk is frying fish.

"Are you the fish friar?

"No, I'm a chipmunk."

Ah, the stupid people that come into ones life. Heh, now that you've become a monk. And some of these folk are gorgeous, and make a fool of you.

I have been over the years been amused by old writer Norman Podhoretz:

"The higher your I.Q. the easier it is for people to 'take' you."

I was 38, not really into maturity, still a boy-man....And I don't know about the IQ.

And now the fish-friar.

Is it too late for reconstrucion?

Redemption?

10 comments:

eric1313 said...

Rehab?

Yes, it used to be for drug-addicts and alcoholics, but these days one might take up thy rehab cross and march to the PC Holy Land for any reason.

Or, you can keep doing your own therapy and write it out here for us of the younger generation to ponder.

Charles Gramlich said...

My son is coming to see me tomorrow and I was figuring on having some fish. Either sushi or some backed salmon. yum.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Eric,

I don't know how I got this old just on B.S. luck, but two days ago I found two unopened bottles of French wine in the liquor store's outside bottle recycling bin.
What the hell, it broke some sort of logjam and produced a blog.
I can's keep getting this old on just luck and little brain, but what the hell, so far, so good.

Seems there are also old fools.

Cheers.

ivan said...

Charles,

Yum indeed. I'd go for the baked salmon.

Anonymous said...

Hi folks,

I'm doing a launch event for Eco-Innovators in Charlottetown (Main Building faculty lounge at UPEI,550 University Ave) on Dec. 5, 7 pm. If you know anybody on the Island please make them go! The local paper did a nice piece on two of the people in the book, organic farmers David and Edith Ling, in relation to the event. Read that at http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Arts/Entertainment/2011-11-19/article-2809378/A-natural-choice/1.

I wrote a book review for The Coast on Gloria Ann Wesley's new novel, Chasing Freedom: http://www.thecoast.ca/halifax/chasing-freedom/Content?oid=2766064

Also:eons ago the Mi’kmaq left a mark. Archeologist Matthew Betts says we can learn from their mistakes and successes. I wrote a story about it at http://www.thecoast.ca/halifax/adaptation-boogie/Content?oid=2765977.

Happy reading!
Chris

--

Chris Benjamin is a freelance journalist, fiction writer, CBC News web writer/editor and a columnist for The Coast. He is the author of Eco-Innovators: Sustainability in Atlantic Canada (http://www.nimbus.ns.ca/Eco-InnovatorsSustainability-in-Atlantic-Canada-P45.aspx) and the critically acclaimed novel, Drive-by Saviours (longlisted for a 2011 ReLit Award and Canada Reads 2011). In 2006/2007 he worked as a journalist in Ghana. He was a finalist for the 2010 Fusion Go Sustainability Award and shared an honourable mention in the 2009 National Magazine Awards. Chris has also written for The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Chronicle Herald, VoicePrint Canada, This Magazine, Now Magazine, Canadian Dimension, Descant, Arts East, East Coast Kitchen Party, Third Person Press, Nashwaak Review, Pottersfield Press, Rattling Books, The Society, University of Waterloo Press, Z Magazine, Briarpatch Magazine, Coastlands, Progress Magazine, Rural Delivery and many others.

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

JR's Thumbprints said...

Makes me want to pout into a terry-clothe robe, but all I've got is silk.

JR's Thumbprints said...

disrobe the e ... there's no terry-cloth in my boxes.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

No terry cloth in my boxes either.

But I am still in my coarse monk's habit, sort of, to keep in practice. This seems to amuse the ladies.



Oh, it's a hard habit to break! :)

Anonymous said...

Happy Friday, folks, I've got a couple fun new videos to show you but first, a reminder that on Monday (Dec. 5) I'm in Charlottetown (Main Building faculty lounge at UPEI,550 University Ave, 7 pm) for the Island launch of Eco-Innovators. If you know PEI folks please let them know! [I was on Information Morning on CBC radio there this morning so hopefully that helps.]

Now the AV. I made a slideshow for the book with pictures of some of the people and places covered and my voice giving the Coles Notes of the story. That's at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_8j2PYQAiQ&feature=youtu.be.

And the day after I posted that, Edward Wedler of Inside Story bookstore in Annapolis Valley sent me a video he made for the book - nice guy! It features my voice by skype and video footage of one of the eco-innovators, Sean Gallagher, who owns Local Source (a grocer and caterer using exclusively local food). Edward did a great job with it so it's highly recommended (with no bias whatsoever...at all): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuL4Nv-P9R0&feature=feedlik.

Happy weekend.
Chris

--
Chris Benjamin is a freelance journalist, fiction writer, CBC News web writer/editor and a columnist for The Coast. He is the author of Eco-Innovators: Sustainability in Atlantic Canada (http://www.nimbus.ns.ca/Eco-InnovatorsSustainability-in-Atlantic-Canada-P45.aspx) and the critically acclaimed novel, Drive-by Saviours (longlisted for a 2011 ReLit Award and Canada Reads 2011). In 2006/2007 he worked as a journalist in Ghana. He was a finalist for the 2010 Fusion Go Sustainability Award and shared an honourable mention in the 2009 National Magazine Awards. Chris has also written for The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Chronicle Herald, VoicePrint Canada, This Magazine, Now Magazine, Canadian Dimension, Descant, Arts East, East Coast Kitchen Party, Third Person Press, Nashwaak Review, Pottersfield Press, Rattling Books, The Society, University of Waterloo Press, Z Magazine, Briarpatch Magazine, Coastlands, Progress Magazine, Rural Delivery and many others. www.chrisbenjaminwriting.com
http://twitter.com/benjaminwrites

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