Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Commies are after our body fluids, Mandrake!

I fear that the older I get, the more I'm becoming like the body fluids man out of old Dr. Strangelove, "Body fluids, body fluids, Mandrake. There is a Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious
bodily fluids, Colonel.
"We must preserve out body fluids. I have to be like a Commie...Ever see a commie drink water, Mandrake?" That's because he's preserving his body fluids."

Well, you can immediately see that I am completely sane, like General Jack D. Ripper, who would not even add tap water to his vodka for mix. Gotta preserve our body fluids, Mandrake. Booga-booga!

Actually, it's more prosaic than that.

Even though retired, I sometimes take on projects way too big for me, like editing somebody's thousand- page novel, and then kidding myself, as to being able to could actally finish the job in a weekend.
So I've got to sort of hoard my energy like a miser. Heh. Can't lose those mental fluids.
Seriously though, I suddenly seem to have more work than I can handle--and I'm supposed to be retired....And I do most of it for a song (no wonder former wifey said I had no business head!)...It's just that I love torturing and arranging words. There is probably a diagnosis of the condition--enough that one is a word freak, that is to say a writer. And we are all freaks.
To reverse the condition all our influences would have to be taken apart, even our addiction, probably to that consistent bestseller, the Bible.... Like you'd have to apply some common sense -- Thirty-something Jeshua never sticks to his trade, doesn't marry Martha, wants to become a revolutionary from the building trades. He rattles the establishment. As in Palestine of old, he probably could not make it in America today. He might end up getting offed!

So not having any particular messianic tendencies (at least I think I don't), I gotta preserve at least, my mental body fluids.

So I'm taking a little time off.
Editing a thousand-page novel is a Herculean task, perhaps too herculean for my narrow shoulders, but hell, the blogger must monlight or starve.
Why does one ever become a professional writer, why, why, why?
...Because of too much success in your twenties.
You thought you could keep it up forever, you thought you could have eternal life as a writer.

Seriously, what did you expect. Eternal life?

Oh the cons of the ages. And we con ourselves into thinking we can make a conistent living as writers.
Would have been better of as evangelists, probably.

Turn on the TV late at night and you'd think Jesus is still alive as you and me.

And the preachers seem nuttier than Gen. Jack D. Ripper.

De Debbil is after out body fluids, Mandrake.

And I think I'm losing my mind as well. :)


Chris Benjamin said...

Yeesh, a thousand pages! What is he Tolstoy? Start at page 700, you'll be done before you know it.

Good luck though. Herculean indeed.

Anonymous said...

On Oct. 10, 2011 at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nimbus Publishing and author Chris Benjamin launched his new book, Eco-Innovators: Sustainability in Atlantic Canada, which features the regions leading environmental innovators, their personal stories and the impacts they've had in creating a more sustainable society. In this video, Chris answers a question about what surprised him while researching the book.

Facebook. Chris Benjamin.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


Yeah. Start at page 700.
Or condense like crazy!

Chris Benjamin said...

Coincidentally I'm current cutting fat from my new novel...might make a nice stew later.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Oh if we would have followed W. Somerset Maugham's exhortation from the beginning: Cut, cut, cut.

But it is our own child, we complain.
Cut up our own child?
I guess we have to be a little psychopathic as writers. :)

Chris Benjamin said...

I've now sliced my child into dozens of pieces; trying to reassemble Frankenstein, or some new classic.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


You could do worse than those constantly achieving geniuses, men and women,of the Woolstonecroft family. :)

ivan said...

Hi folks,

Lots going on so far in 2012. So much I need to categorize:


I've finally created a snazzy webpage just for Eco-Innovators stuff - video, pics, words and links. See the whole shebang at http://www.chrisbenjaminwriting.com/eco-innovators.php.

It includes several new videos that I uploaded from recent book events. See those on youtube at:


[psst: do an author a favour would you? Click "Like" or even leave a comment. Thanks!]

Stuff featuring your humble scribe:

I've seen lots of book reviews, but this review of the "PEI Drive-by Saviours" book launch is a first for me: http://surveyoronline.wordpress.com/2012/01/26/art-imitating-life-writers-showcase-their-works-during-a-reading-at-upei/

Writers are often asked why we write. "We're nuts," is maybe the truth, but not the most satisfying answer. Here's my attempted explanation, along with that of Kathleen Winter, Russell Wangersky, Leslie Vryenhoek, and Lorrie Nelson Glenn: http://saltyink.com/2012/01/27/five-writers-on-one-reason-they-write/

Upcoming opportunities to buy me a coffee:

On Jan. 31 at noon in the Sobey Building at St. Mary's University I'll be giving a talk on how Halifax's inferiority complex hurts the environment, and how self-esteem could make us greener.

On Feb. 3 and 4 I'll be speaking at Mount Saint Vincent University's "How to be an Environmentalist" conference. Details at https://www.facebook.com/events/232261773517924.

On Feb. 12 at 1 p.m. at 1113 Marginal Road, Halifax (by Pier 21, at the Writers' Federation office) I'll be one of many writers reading (aloud) the work of the great poet, Elizabeth Bishop.

On Feb. 23 the Eco-Innovators tour comes to Fredericton: http://tbgmedia.ca/c/greenshops/sustainablefeb23/

Stuff I wrote recently:

It probably won't surprise you that I like to read. Here are the 13 best books I read last year: http://www.chrisbenjaminwriting.com/chris-benjamin-writing-blog/best-books-i-read-in-2011

My latest column in The Coast explores opposing perspectives on what exactly makes a house qualify as sustainable: http://www.thecoast.ca/halifax/net-zero/Content?oid=2918635

Thanks for reading!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


That last comment was from Chris Benjamin.

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