I have an interview this week for a job like one of my favourite writers used to have. so I thought it’d be good to quote from his novel Post Office. this one is loaded with implications about our dull lives of tryin to make it.
“The streets were full of insane and dull people. Most of them lived in nice houses and didn’t seem to work, and you wondered how they did it.”
I find myself plying the depths of a sunday afternoon for something worthy of holdin onto. meantime Moe digs the old Roller Derby DeLuxe No.20 outta the closet and starts surfing. the clay wheels on the old oak floors frighten me but he seems to have a sense of the danger he’s into so I let him play on.
yesterday was a good day. I walked out over the swamp inna sea of bright orange. the pond fronting the ocean was still as death. it glowed with the orange first light, the sun yet to pop outta the sea. the cobbles were cold and dewey. I unsheathed my 9’6″ and carefully made my way to shore, paddling out through a channel and over to the reef break.
a shortboard wave by local standards, I felt a bit intimated taking my log out there. I feared stink eyes and grumpy stares from the guys on boards too small for the fading swell. after a few I stopped thinking about it and focused instead on swinging the nose around and setting trim before the low tide step at the bottom of the wave swept the board out from under me.
the left was short but steeper, with a tail holding form for stading on the nose. the board would stay high on the wave, giving me the feeling of being perched atop a much bigger wave than it was -and a few times slipping and sliding down the face only to feel it catch again and speed down the line towards the cliff’s edge.
the right, faster and moving quickly into shallow water. I’d stay low with left hand ready to pull up my rail and slide my right foot forward to power through the frothy sections.
riding a longboard in mediocre waves makes it so that waves feel like good waves. I’m puzzled sometimes by the time I’ve spent trying to ride performance shortboards in waves illsuited for the design.
when I was learning to surf I would often share waves with a father and son. they were both tall, overly tanned and thin. and they wore gold chains. the son musta been a teenager and the dad in his 40′s. they rode longboards which in the 90′s wasn’t considered cool. they took me under their wing and I learned a lot from watching them paddle into waves, never wearing leashes, and with clean minimalist styling. I wonder where they are now and if they’d remember me – a kook from the organe groves trying to learn to surf. they’d likely laugh at me for still kookin out on perfect peelers, just like the old days.
I thought I’d add this worthy reply from R. the Mountain Goats
today -a deluge. our basement wet in that low corner where the hill meets the high side of the house.
out at the seaside it was all wind and a foggy mist.
Picasso and I added the last few strokes to the livable canvas. the finished piece a cornucopia of colour like south coast Jamaica. meanwhile outside all was rain and grey.
I don’t mind the rain. I like the rain. and rainy afternoons. and a band called COUSINS that happens to be from here in Halifax. it’s two people – a girl and a boy melding their minds and passion to create short moments in song. here is one for today’s mood.
tomorrow Picasso and I will climb tall ladders to finish painting the eyes of the livable canvas. but not before we enter the turbulent ocean, which will surely be running red with the bloody mud from the drumlins. mounds of mud left behind by ancient glaciers – a reminder that the earth warming and cooling is nothing new. a reminder that my brief moments are like a passing fruit fly on a summer afternoon. quickly forgotten. often unnoticed. but I must take heed and enjoy. for what else is there but pleasure and pain?
rain washes away a summers grime off the streets and into the harbour. out in the open ocean a swell is rising with the sun. through the mist and rain I can see the Tufts Cove red and white towers. they stand there like sentinels watching for the new ships which will soon be exiting the harbour. the cold will return with a vengeance for summer’s warmth. but we steady ourselves and look towards the horizon with steely eyes and a whole heap of grit. even if I draw a bad card, I will play my hand.
“yuh haffi tired fi see we face”
you know how everyone always says
that every action has a reaction,
that you gotta know there are consequences
for your actions
sometimes you put your head down
-fuck the consequences
sometimes the consequences
come with long
after the big quake
I still don’t know what will become
of some decisions I made
that turned horribly sour
but I know this:
not all was lost,
something was gained
and metaphorical implications
Imma gonna paint
clean and fresh
like today’s memories
was painting with Picasso today. we sat atop a bluff overlooking a blustery ocean. with wind gusts upwards of 30 knotts outta the south, the ocean looked as welcoming as a bed of nails. to make light of the situation, Picasso ran us through some music of yore.
Glenn Danzig carried us for a while through some tortured Misfits tunes. Satan bless Glenn Danzig.
before that we listened to G-n-R for a while – the entire Appetite record. Rocket Queen in particular really struck me and left me with a deep emotion…
…it wasn’t happiness, or sadness, or loss. rather it was one of uncertainty. I wanted to run the fuck outta there. but to where?
I can’t quite pinpoint it. at the time when I listened to this a lot I was a teenager as well as a fairly new immigrant attempting to assimilate. I chose to do so as a skateboarder in a shit small country town where skateboarding was akin to worshiping the devil himself. assimilation would prove to be a daunting task. I would eventually flee that country.
so I leave you with this song. most of you likely won’t bother with it and I appreciate that. for some of my generation it may spring some emotions in you. music has some serious fucking power sometimes. one song made me question my entire identity this afternoon.
under gray skies, I painted. first silver. the eaves. the fascia. silver specks covered my face. my hands looked like the tin mans’. but I had heart. so I climbed up the forty foot ladder. a gust of wind blew leaves in the parking lot below. I felt a tinge of my fear of heights come to me. but I steadied, dipped the brush in silver and cleaned one side. with a steady stroke I cut along the line where blue and silver met, carefully not touching blue – a clean line.
passersby commented. everyone is a critic on the street. I climbed down with silver in hand. the ladder resting high above was easy to climb, and easy to descend. I moved it to the left. then I climbed back up with solid footing. my old shoes worn thin and perfect to feel each rung. climb. cut. descend. move. climb. cut. descend. move.
the gray skies threatened rain. but these days we trust our meteorologists. 7 p.m. they said. the showers will begin.
after silver came blue. I cut in like bushwacking. careful to avoid those errors that leave a stain. blue. like regret not like sky. the older blue beneath the new fading to clean and shiny. all new. the cycle went through the paces again.
climb. cut. descend. move. climb. cut. descend. move.
now the finishing touch. a roller absorbs the paint and with a deft touch can make a worn wall fresh. paint away the soiled blue. seasons have passed the old wall leaving chips, mold, grime and seagull shit. but after today it will be new. that’s what we always want no? new. blue.
clean up and pack up. people passing by comment. “what a nice job.”
“wish you didn’t block the lot.”
with head down I finish tidying up. no mistakes no stains.
everyone is a critic.
tomorrow we begin again.
we’ll make old new. we’ll disappear mold and grime with a wave of a hand. with a simple brush. a simple tool.
but beneath the hue all will be the same. not much changes.
most things remain the same.
recently I was asked if I felt like my writing was moving forward. while I replied with an answer at the time, the question lingers and I can’t help but wonder if perhaps I am indeed stuck.
the thing is, creativity requires a few things to come together. adversity, whether internal or external, is a driving force for creativity. time is the other important ingredient. there’s a reason why writers like Hamsun and Fante starved for weeks on end in between getting paid for their work – often going through bouts of self loathing and hallucinations. but getting a job washing dishes to buy food was outta the question. same goes for Bukowski – he didn’t write a whole lot while working for the US Postal Service. time begets
I’m not making excuses. I’m simply making an observation. I have the passion to get things down on paper. I have some ideas and over the years I’ve developed a little bit of dexterity with words. but to really crack into my own identity as a writer, I would need to have more time. internal adversity I have in spades.
perhaps the blog format has run its course. and the question that started this is opportunity knocking. if I used the time I spend on Ku Yah to work on something longer, more thoughtful, come committed, I may end up with something more thoughtful, longer than a couple paragraphs, and something worth something.
life kook: 1. lifetime ‘fail’ surfer poser -I.E. “wow look at that guy’s whack style. he’s totally a life kook.” 2. one who never makes the takeoff on a set wave- though he always paddles “to the top.” 3. one who posts a video of himself, riding his home-shaped board, and thinks it’s cool.