Saturday, March 30, 2013

Hot lead man tries to be hot geek

Funny thing.
Up until fairly recently I have not been a nerd, but a Luddite...Smash the fershlugginer machine! ain't gonna make your write any better! My stand-up 1920 Remingon would do just fine!
But by 2007, there was a transformation when I began to experience  difficulty in getting my typewritten words into some prospective publisher's hard drive. Golly. You could  now multiple -submit by learning Word,  copy and paste your material  to all and sundry-- even to your  friends, most of them fellow writers and with more clout than you  had in the various media.
By the year 2,000 one published writer finally had lunch with me-- and seemed baffled by my transformation. "Migod, you've become a nerd, a geek!"
This  old hot lead linotype jockey had finally seen the light! But too bad because of a technology lag, he was now unemployed. In the business, you used to do things differently.
Gone for years was the linotype operator to whom you would submit your  clumsy scrawls and he would make heads or tails out of them, down to proper paragraphing,  spelling, headlining and artistic use of white space. (So much the worse for parvenu  folk usually gay,  who could baffle you with demonstrations- with only one had--to show you indeed, you  zen freak, that it is possible to clap with one hand--these guys seemed always to possess big hands. Gevolt, I can demonstrate to you one hand clapping! Thump! Thump! Thump!
"You are old, Father William."
This reference had me always reaching for my Lewis Carroll books.
Gone is the "superior knowledge" linotype operator. We now resort to Google.
In any event, I had become a nerd, a geek.
Which,I fear has not made me write any better...But it sure engages your brain, filled now with three score years of rust, bullshit and hot lead.
And you notice, quickly the vast gap between those who are online and those who are not. Migod it seems the same difference between humans and animals at times. We geeks have this sense of assumed  superiority. The asshole is computer illiterate! Damn his l950's PhD.
One has become a geek.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Leaving it all behind (at least, this time).

When a writer plagiarizes himself, he's in trouble.
At least when takes the envelope of another's style and fills his own stuff in.
So here is one more rogue elephant story about a middle aged guy who had had enough of his pigeon-grey institution:
A lifetime ago, I was a college professor with a flair for writing fiction. I had a secretary and a receptionist. and a computer hard drive full of emails from important tliving novelists whose work I lectured on. I was still in their circle, at least with the Canadians, and I missed their company, usually at the old but swell King Edward Hotel on King Street, Toronto, Oh, I'd miss the mammoth drunks at that place, from whose upper stories, you cold see the claimed, claimed again-- and reclaimed landfill that was lakefront Toronto, not yet obscured by the somehow Oriental-appearing greed towers that replaced any hopes of waterfront renewal. We merely drank at the club downstairs--or covered convenions on Great Lakes water pollution that never seemed to get anywhere. We were at the old King Eddy to revel and carouse. It was a "Once Upon a Time There Was a Tavern" period. We were young writers, sure to have our way; so sure and exuberant that many times we were asked to leave, after our enthusiastic, animated reconstructions of great sprawling novels, in the smoky air-- back in the days before the tobacco prohibition; nervous, selfconscious waiters who didn't want to hear our ...bullshit, and stop all that smoking, there's a law you know.

Doctor or horses ass, we all loved the place all the same. It was an oasis from reality, though we were all nearly solidly ensconced in our in chosen professions; but he shits were killing us, and we knew it, nevertheless it was fun to rant and revel, to drink the incredible Canadian draught at the time, of which you could drink gallons, feel good, and never get a hangover, back the days when Molson's didn't pay tribute to the chemical industy...Or Toronto the the Peoples Republic of China--or Palermo.

Yet there always came tomorrow, the workaday, and you were at that godawful age of 39, when the artist in you was shouting, now! now! now! while at the college you were parsing the kraut syntax of Franz Kafka.

Some of my fellow teachers had already turned grey. There seemed a restlessness among them, almost a snippiness. "Why should I sully the profession with my own clumsy scrawls?"...But deep in their hearts they knew that writing talent or not, you couldn't make a living of it. So they stayed. Some of them seemed a little ill. Was this the way of writers-turned-teachers?

Ah but there was always the King Eddy where we could often be found, lying, bragging, throwing wild promises to the wind.

During the day, we were pigeon-grey academics in our pigeon-grey pigenhole offices. And we knew, already, in 1977, that things were going to get worse. But Trudeau was in office, the country was in good multicultural hands, and we were sure to have our way.

But the way seemed somehow inauthentic. Something was warping the zeigeist in the midst of the Vietnam war. Further shit was sure to happen, as we watched the completion of the World Trade Centre via New York Magazine and Buffalo TV. And our own CN Tower to almost rival such Faustian projects.

Life was too good. But we all sensed, artistically at least, that things were going to get worse. The Titanic was heading for the iceberg. It would take some time, but the unried monster boat was surely heading for that great white Hoo-Doo.

In the middle of the partying and working, I decided to jump ship.

I went to Mexico to write still another novel.
I got it done by discipline alone. Finished on page 500, but knew in my heart that it was no good. I had to go go to work now, to the old job, or get a new one.
I soon arrived back at the college, where I had once achieved an untenured professorship there by way of an earlier book, a fluke, a local bestseller, an odyssey of novel about about an escape from suburbia, from Tikertown Newmarket, Ontario.
I returned to find not much had changed. There were still lots of restless, greying forty -year- olds in their micro offices in their Dilbert cubes in Toronto who wished like hell to have done what I did, even if it meant loss of security, personal and financial. But they were still in their Dilbert cubicles, and presently, so was I. Return of the native.
I had come home with a manuscript. But what kind of manuscript?

I failed. Bad knight. Broke my lance in the quest. The goal was wrong, my talent somewhat short. At the end of two years of the writing, rejection. Who me? God's chosen?

The Alvin and the Chipmuks song in my head, as if out of a computer: "Yes you." I did not bother to resubmit. I knew that the book was no good. Just knew it. Too wordy, too long, to unstructured for somene who was supposed to be a seasoned pro. I was also broke. I had to get a that job.

Teaching was far easier than writing. Writing was going the long, hard way. Hardest thing about 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 next to nothing The reward would have been fifty thousand dollars flat, and if your book didn't go, you had to pay some if it back. Law of deminishing returns the economics profs said.

But even here, in the ivied halls of Lady Eaton's former estate in King City in my third semseter there, I was beginning to sense there was now even less security at King than in some writer's colony in West End Toronto..

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

Even at this, there was now the possibility of failure...

Saturday, March 09, 2013

My computer is wonky. I have become schizoid...And so Am I :)

My old computer is wonky.
I am wonky.
He/she/it/ is wonky.
My semi-girlfiend wants to bandy words with me, even if she can't find the words to bandy.
Ain't been the same since that hospital addiction to Vicodin, and I'm sure she hasn't shaken it yet. Generic heroin?
"When dat horse kick, you you do the hucklebuck."
(From old Chubby Checker):
Wiggle like a stick wobble like a duck
That's what you do when you do the Hucklebuck.
Now she just wanders from room to room, looking for wine.
None of us have any money. Addictive relationship. Could have been defined as a dope ring, but lately, we're just a couple of dopes.
Joe Cocker on the FM station:
"You can leave your hat on
You can leave your hat on
You can leave you hat on."
Friend come to visit, "Ivan, you've become quite a whoremaster since I saw you last."
Little does he know that I haven't had any action since last year.
It's all pose. Miss Viv and I are well over sixty, and wonky, like our computer. He wants to leave his hat on too.
"Wiggle like a stick wobble like a duck
That's what you do when you do the Hucklebuck."
I am in front of the mirror, doing the hucklebuck (I been in hospital too...cross addicted).
Miss Viv is trying to feed her 18--year-old cat. Nothing doing. Cat can't eat without being fooled with a coating of cat treat.
We agree it's time for last rites, administered by "Elvis Priestly", who when not conducting service, will give you a pretty good Elvis imitation.
Father Priestley comes to bless the cat.
The cat seems to have recovered today,
but we are still doing the hucklebuck. Durn cross addiction.
There was a time when I was married, with young children, I would wander around the cottage dazed. This was no way to live, with responsibilities and children.
Had to take a job. Try to hide the fact that daddy is a freak, a writer.
People are saying "See that farmhouse, with the smoke rising from the brick chimney? Looks peaceful, idyllic there.
But a madman lives inside."
So I took a writing job.
Wrote about my dog, Ulysses, "When My Ulysses comes home, woof-woof, wag-wag." Gonna shoot the sonafabich.
This gives me an Ontario Weekly Newspaper Guild award and I get my fifteen minutes.
 It was fun being famous, at least in York Region, here in Central Ontario.
But fifteen minutes soon over, wife gets disgusted, "Out, damn spot. Yes, you!"
Loose dog in the boonies. More like the old movie, Fritz the Cat.
 Jesus, you meet characters who make you say, "You do weird shit, man."
You end up with Miz Viv.
Wandering from room to room, wonky, like your old computer,doing the hucklebuck.
A teacher whom I once deeme a bad teacher, told me once, "All talent and no judgment."
I can't trade on my craziness forever."
We're all getting long in the tooth, and what was once cute, has become pathetic.
Miz Viv seems to have straightened out her medication.
I gotta get myself straightened out.
After breakfast every day
She throws the want ads right my way
And never fails to say
Get a job

Sha na na na - sha na na na na
But my computer is busted. I am busted.
Good time Charlie's got the blues.