Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Yes folks, I'm back. Kind of.

My self-imposed sabbatical at an end, it's time to once again put my proverbial ear to the ground that is this American life; time to check the country's pulse; time to jettison asinine, redundant cliches.

What an introduction. My own writing suddenly reminds me of all those hack comedians who, stupefied upon entering the stage to a lukewarm, indifferent audience, revert to that most tired refrain, "anyone here from outta town?" 

The comparison is apt, people. For I truly am, in this moment, the archetype reborn, remade: I am the writer with nothing to say.

How did I reach this point? Shouldn't all of your encouragements, your compliments, your positive feedback have driven me on to even  greater heights? Did I not bound out of bed this morning and head for this computer like a vulture might swoop in on a carcass, ready to resume my role as literary watchman for the unwashed masses (for those of you who do occasionally wash, let that go by; for my English readers, don't even think of trying to protest)?

Sadly, the only carcass left in the room is me. It's extremely hard to write scathing political comment, brilliantly witty satire or profound, insightful thoughts on the self and its development when your mind's a blank.

But the problem's causes, its roots, must be investigated. How did this happen? How did I turn into the blog-o-sphere's (new term- feel free to co-opt it) version of Jimmy Fallon? How did I become such a blimbo?

Is it possible that my loved one, my Lady, the jewel in my crown, Queen Victoria, has so entrenched herself in my consciousness as my Muse that, in her recent absence, I have lost all creative facility? The woman left town a week ago; my blog went untouched for the entire time. This has to be the answer, an answer that exposes me for the fool that I am. She returns tonight; if I had only waited until this evening to reconnect with the globe via this column, I could have written something masterful, a bronzed edifice for our time. I see it now: Victoria spots me waiting at the security exit; she leaps into my arms; I drive her home and bring in her nine bags; she flops on the couch, turns on her favourite sitcom (whatever tired, dated comedic retread which happens to be on in that moment) and demands food and liquid refreshment; I hurriedly acquiesce, terrified of her disapproval; she eats dinner, tosses the gnarled bones at me and orders me to carry her to bed. My hopes rise, but alas, she is asleep before I've put her down. I am deliciously close to violating her in her slumber when the possibility strikes me of being asked to cook more food if she wakes; I leave her be and rush to my computer, filled with the creative impulse and the desire to write. Art ensues.

That is how it could, and would, have gone if I'd waited. But no. I had to show up this morning and admit my incompetence to all of you.

Which is why I'm thinking of retiring. I can't be dependent on the whims of a rapacious, salacious Muse who demands three 5-star meals each day. I'm going for the scorched earth policy; if I can't do this on my own, I'm not going to do it at all. Let's see how long this world keeps on turning without the likes of me. Where are you going to turn for your daily intellectual nourishment, huh? Not the newspaper; no one reads those anymore. Books? Useless, anachronistic piles of papyrus, waiting to be murdered by the digital age. And speaking of that age, maybe you think you'll just move seamlessly, effortlessly to another blog? Don't kid yourself- you're way too loyal to ever go behind my retired back. Let's face it: you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall.

So I suppose I'll keep going. Victoria will disembark and everything will return to normal.  Ideas will find their way back to my addled brain. Once again, I'll be able to attempt the creation of graceful sentences, with middling results. Politicians, Christopher Nolan and the creators of Dancing With The Stars will once again cower, seeking shelter. Universal equanimity will return.

But not for me. Victoria just called. I made the mistake of asking her if she'd be hungry after her flight this evening. The response was savagely immediate:

"Cornish game hen, freshly captured and roasted, ladled with a garlic and rosemary au jus, and served with sauteed baby carrots, potatoes au gratin and freshly picked spring greens tossed in a red wine and raspberry vinaigrette."

A few problems here. I haven't seen any Cornish hens in the gardens of my apartment building for weeks. I don't have a ladle. And it ain't spring. Not to mention the au jus and au gratin portions of the request. Anytime Victoria italicizes words like that over the phone, I know I'm in trouble. It means, "buddy, make this happen or else." Eerie.

So there it is. If you see another post in a couple of days, it means the hens were found, slaughtered and given the thumbs up by my Muse.

If another post doesn't show up, what can I tell you. Go buy a newspaper.

Victoria's dinner in pictures,  from top: 
                                              Baby carrots.
                                     The Hen, of the Cornish variety.
                                             Patooties Gratin.
                                             What the...? Oh for frick's sake, I said "jus"...


  1. You, sir, are a scholar and a gentleman.
    The explosive, caffeinated-beverage, rhino exit this post generated over breakfast this morning was a delightful, if sodden, start to my day. Keep lovingly crafting your wayward California missives. They keep you occupied, and out of the traffic, and they afford your readers the sure knowledge that their lives are actually reasonably tolerable.

  2. I feel that you will always find something to write about, so don't worry. Yes, it can be quiet when your loved one goes on holidays but you manage, it will take a little practice. But I must admit even after 10 years of my beloved travelling abroad each year, I still miss her but I know she must go to come back better than ever !!