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INside Scoop January, 2008

The Writer at Work

INBA Fever
Inspired by Jennifer Edelson (9:09 pm, EDT)
By  Daryl Jung

As I lay in wait until today, October 18, to let this column fly -- one plus eight equals nine (9, see last month’s column), Lennon’s birthday was too early and I can't, mustn’t wait until the Thursday before Halloween -- something dawned on me, a bit blindingly at that.

Five years ago at this hour I think I was dead. I’ve never been sure of the timeline, in terms of all that ER life support business (apparently, it all shut down, folks -- nine [9] days' worth, I'm told), but it’s accurate to say I didn’t have an October in 2000.

And I didn’t get a TV in my room until late November, so that year I missed too an entire one-eighth of the '00-'01 NBA campaign.

The first October back from my trip to, but not INto, the abyss was resplendent and as brilliant as I felt resilient. For the next I hit Iowa where a high-windstorm knocked all the leaves down before they had a chance to change colour. The next two snuck by unnoticed, horrific anniversary duly unnoted.

Now it’s been half a decade and the most curious, and most certainly miraculous, “thing” has happened. Outside of a few glitches, it’s been the most gratifying five years of my life. From every conceivable angle, I myself couldn't be better. Kinda scary.

In those 60 months I have learned to walk again, completely and for all practical purposes given up alcohol, mourned Johnny Carson, watched the Toronto Raptors crumble, and, certainly most crucially, discovered I’m pretty darn handy around a drum kit. Still, 27 months later (two plus seven equals nine [9]), I still can’t play and sing at the same time. Soon come.

I was nearly mortally hoodwinked by a real-live, actual, honest-to-God “player"-- a “user” we used to call ‘em -- a heinously bourgeois, pathologically self-centered, corporate dilettante snob who dangled her six-figure carrot under my prominent, often-bust nose, never mind the Oscar-caliber performance of being in love with, um, me, strictly for her own amusement. Ended after nine (9) months. Coincidence? I think not.

I lost my oldest, sweetest, childhood friend to accidental death and the finest best friend -- of 10 years -- and confidant (“I love ya like a brother, man,” he said many times) a guy could ever have, to forces about which I can only speculate. I vowed to live to 99, which affords another 36 years, to be realistic, to play drums.

I also kept writing. Didn’t care if it was a 10,000-word letter to my folks. Forced myself to put forth something in any case, every day, by way of just communicating. I knocked off an act and a half of a play (soon come), wrote a business case and monstrous press package for an ill-fated Toronto visual arts fortnightly. Attempted the old gig of weekly entertainment hack at my old rag’s competition, but two stories in I quit that pap.

I learned an awful lot about it, though, at least my own -- uh, writing, that is -- being left as I was to my own devices. Deadline free zone.

Even looking back on the short slew of columns and Writers’ Life pieces in this very erag (Editor, edit thyself... ), I see so many holes to fix I get catatonic. I’m shallow and my ideas aren’t particularly interesting, so I overcompensate with what Canadian legend/poet Irving Layton used to call adjectival rot. And that (to quote H. on CSI Miami), my friend, is not good.

I think internal rhyme and alliteration and modified clauses are cool and fun, when they’re likely, certainly on the fuggin’ Internet, just “retro.” I often must think I’m cute or somethin’, too, I dunno! I'm trite as shite, and for the most part unfunny except to myself. I must be vigilant against adopting an old-crony’s compulsion to impress with a vast but empty vocabulary. But it's just fallin' outta me! I blame the column format for the self-indulgence. And here it is, in your own face. Thanks for reading.

Oh yeah, me, Rhodes and Brian did start IN, obviously, and as a result I have an e-stalker -- here in my own town (who I don’t even know!), -- madder’n a wet hen that I’m a John Lennon fan.

And now I must end. I gave myself a word limit of 747 (equals nine [9]) words and a time limit of 33:33 (9). Is this what they’re calling flash fiction?

Go figure. Happy Halloween. Go Heat!

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Daryl Jung
Inkwell Newswatch (IN)

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