Well, here's a passage from "Jyzeburst" that starts to get at it anyway. It's sections 2 and 3 of Chapter One, "The Origin of Jyze." -- GPS
This time, thanks to the streetlight down by the house, it's my own lengthening shadow that blazes the uphill path to the shed. At two a.m. Through wet grass freshly mown. As the Memorial Day weekend winds down, its last few hours. To leave me exactly where I was eight days ago, and in more ways than one.
Well no. Progress has occurred. Not enough, but some. And enough that I don't feel too bad about it. One exciting afternoon in which new ideas kept popping up eureka-style while I was supposed to be sleeping. Madly jotting away on the pad at the head of the bed -- first time in a while for that. Transcribing those ideas took nearly a full day -- transferring them to the Mentoka notebook -- trying to fashion some links and iron out some kinks. Could the word "jyze" be the key? It first popped up two years ago but I let it slide. Now in rereading the notes from that period it jumps out at me -- just as it did in last week's entry. Even at the time I thought: why the heck is this recidivating now?
The slang dictionary and the big old unabridged list only one "jy-" word, "jynx," and that's an obscure genus of woodpecker (its adjectival form being the savory "jyngine"). The practice of jyzism: you lay down jyze in a jyzebook. Echoes from jazz, jive, gist, gyre, jism, jizz, joss, jeez and lots more. Someone starts up a jyzine. Someone's a jyzomaniac. Jyze, jyzed, jyzed, jyzing. Best of all, the word works as several different parts of speech: a jyzey jyzer jyzily jyzes jyze. (Rhymes with the "lyze" in catalyze, I want to note.)
-- "In the Peking ferry I was feeling merry." The radio's on, the so-called classic rock station doing to me just what it's supposed to be doing nostalgia-wise. "I sincerely thought I was so complete." Lord help me.
-- But it was more a matter of free-floating joy. This sound could do it for me back then and it still can now. What a simpleminded son of a gun I am. And more power to me. Never lose your simple visions! (Where's that "DREAM" cap? On the nail, you idiot! Look up!)
Agony and anguish time this is? -- I think one reason I'm frothing at the mouth to start the writing of "Zone" is that then I'll have something real to write about. As opposed to this dream world right here. It's ideal, it's a dream, so of course it's sterile in crucial respects. (You can't have it all, let's at least admit that much -- or otherwise why write a word?) Soon, though, I'll have all kinds of life- threatening craziness to zoom in on. I'll be able not only to relive some terrific personal crises but to tack on a few extra ones and to endow the whole with a daunting panoply of meanings. Which isn't to say I'm not nervous as hell about wrestling with all this. I go back and forth on the thing, in and out, up and down.
But I wouldn't have it any other way. Not unless I knew of a better way, one in which I could keep the fascination and exhilaration while short-circuiting some of the grief. But -- is the grief really grief? Nah. I know it's not. I just want to have it both ways. Wouldn't want anyone to think this was easy. (But it is.) (No it isn't.)
-- One thing that should soon be easier is the scratching. Word from Mother is that a pen's on the way up, and it's yet another X-BB just as promised. Ninety bucks. Ol' Mom talked 'em down from one thirty. The shop did have to order it from the factory, yes, but it seems the factory is now somewhere in the U.S. Of course the pen's not in hand yet. X brand has snookered me more than once over the years. Still: before much longer -- a week? a month? -- I should be moving into a whole new realm of scratching in which I'll no longer have to be fighting the damn scratcher so much. "Scratching in the flow state." ("Call It Jyze.") ("Call Me Jyzer.")
-- The deep of the night is so narrow and shallow this time of year. We're still in it but the first bird might shatter it at any moment.
Jyze. Jazz. Got to jyze it up. Jyze on, jyzerman. Jyze me a J-book. "Now starring in 'The Jyze Zinger.'" "Keep On Jyzin' Me...Till You Jyze Me Up."
The new tentative schedule has "Zone" taking flight about July 10, whenever the weekend is that falls in that vicinity. Naturally I came up with a new hook to hang the flight plans on. It'll be exactly two years, give or take a day or two, after the start-up of the intensive Mentoka research period. That came just after our return from the trip to the coast for D's birthday, during which the latest version of the old idea first grabbed me. (Maybe I'd better officially note in here that D is short for Dani, who is also Mel and Lady U). (The deep counter-counterminings of jyze -- flooding the tunnels, so to speak, and blowing up the shafts. But no. -- And who called jyze art anyway? Not me! There is in fact only -- this. This scratchy splashy blotty thing here is its own thing, whatever it's called. Where it's going we'll just have to wait and see.)
-- A slice of moon out there. Not yet gibbous but of course glabrous as any skinhead. It's hanging above the saggy old cedar barn and looks droopy itself as well as blurrier than it should. Surely an omen of something nasty weatherwise. We've had little to complain about so far this year so we're due.
To my right a stack of planks leaning against the wall. They've been stationed there a couple of years or is it three? More bookcases they were intended for but the plans had to be put on hold and that hold's turned out to be quite deep if not permanent. I didn't get the cedar trim put up either (around the windows and door). Had to face the reality of how much time the commute was taking. And besides: the shed was already good enough without the trimmings, or as I think now, better. With them, too gingerbready. (D's in full charge of housekeeping and yard upkeep around here. That's our deal. Otherwise this caretaker regime would not have been possible and we'd still be city folks, most likely -- and for that matter still are anyway in all but physical location, and in a sense more so than ever. Backwoods living can do that to you.)
-- Meanwhile I keep on chugging back and forth to the office and keep on scoping the pages, which as I look at it means I'm not all that different from, say, the author of a certain belatedly celebrated USAn novel about a whale. That is, my life resembles his during his sorry day-job period later in life at the customshouse. Or -- whose?
Where I was. Whiz break there. But yes, this chair is bad for my neck. Not the chair by itself but the combination of chair, jyzebook, and recalcitrant jyzestick which demands the jyzing arm -- and how happy I am with these proliferating jyze usages! -- demands the arm be awkwardly angled to minimize skipping and snagging, not to mention leak-opening jolts. (What I meant was the chair is again where I am.)
Next on the docket? Maybe break out the old photo albums. I'm trying to probe the undying mysteries of love. Or maybe not undying; maybe better to cite necrophilia here. I've also got to get some more plotting work done tonight and tomorrow morning.
Perched atop my three pillows on the couch in the libe, three lights on (overhead fluorescent -- not my idea to hang those things up there! -- desk lamp, table lamp), the radio on low, the floor-to-ceiling curtains closed (these in front of the big sliding pocket door, so-called, apparently for no better reason than it's installed in one piece, frame included, into a pocket in the wall). Half a dozen large three-ring binders laid out on the table and the couch, with lots more piled on the floor. Big box of pens and markers, all kinds of colors. Post-it pads of various sizes and hues. Three- hole punch. Ruler that says "Glen's Ruler" right on it and in official-looking white print. Tools of the plotting trade.
That's how it'll be, is what I'm saying. Right now I'm still up here in the shed. -- Fictive G, though, where's he? That I've got to be figuring out pretty soon. Or else.
Rolling my head this way and that and listening to the ligaments pop. Thinking: fictive G is holed up in his garage garret apartment looking out on moon- silhouetted Parapet Bluff just across the darkly flowing Mentoka, he's sitting in a chair much like this -- in fact, this very chair; why not -- and jyzing away at three in the morning. A class to teach tomorrow. A paper to write. A letter from Lady K to answer. And Saturday a drive up to Turtle Rapids to show off some family heritage (but not the closeted skeletons he hasn't even learned about yet) to the woman destined one day to become Lady S (as testified to by those same photo albums). -- May the jyze gods help this boy! The troubles he's about to bring down on himself!
-- Just realized I've been hearing some twittering out there. Absolute black is what I still see, though, except for the moon now higher and even more surreal as it abjures all earthly attachments. Perched near the top of the uphill trees to the east the birds have a much better angle on dawn and so I guess they must be seeing it. But regardless I'm done for the night.
Wild ride. All week. No longer is the book "The Mentoka Zone," it's now "Jyzer." And no longer is the potential sequel merely its untitled self; like a tree struck dead-center by lightning it's now split into "Mentoka Dreams" and "Mentoka Ghosts." And the three together are the new Mentoka trilogy.
All kinds of explosives going off to cause this and as a result of it. A weeklong jyzeburst! No doubt about it: everything this G right here writes from now on will be vastly different because of it. And that goes for fictive G too, and also any other fictive G's that may come along later. Just one more week though. Lots of weeks like this over the years. "Illumination Rounds." "Foudroyance." And now: "Jyzance!"
Downstairs this time. I'm too lazy to make it up to the shed. Too mentally exhausted to be able to say much of anything. All weekend I've been grinding, pushing myself to the limit -- sometimes wondering if my brain might shatter.
Seclusion is it. The next six months at least. The fiercest focus possible. (But this, what I'm doing right here, will be back. I've decided that too. In fact it will never be gone, because it will be doing its own jyzey thing in "Jyzer" as well. But after the rough of that is complete the jyzing will be back to real time -- i.e., jyze in its natural state.)
The nature of the breakthrough is almost self- evident from the new titles. Jyzing is what all these Mentoka books are about. For that matter, in its broadest sense it's what my entire adult life's been about: the conflict between that and fictifying on the one hand, between that and living a conventional loving and goofing and politicking and dollar-grubbing life on the other.
So what's next? Three more weeks of across-the- board prepping, that's what. "Final countdown." I have every reason to believe that by -- never mind. Boosterism threatens. Stomp it out.
-- Suddenly I realize the "Jr." at the end of my name (and fictive G's too) could itself be said to stand for Jyzer, and that this odd coincidence could be said to say it all. And for me, like it or not, it probably does say it all. -- And I want to say it does for fictive G as well, but in his case the confirmation is yet to come. He's still gotta show his jyze chops.
A second big breakthrough came when I stumbled on yet another better way to present Mentoka history. I was close to it before but not there and the frustration was driving me mad. Now I'm there. A plethora of frustrations and blockages may await me in the days ahead but none will be that particular one. And none will be so maddening, I'm sure of it. All the major structural problems for "Jyzer" and the new Mentoka books have now dissolved. -- Just how this could be, it's way beyond explaining. But then, no problem: jyze doesn't need to explain. Thank you, jyze gods, for that!
True, I'm reminding myself of this lack of a need to explain (even explaining it to myself) way more than should be the case. But then it's still early in the Jyze Age.
(Recalling how comical it is -- though gut- wrenching too -- to flip through old notebooks in which I think I've solved this or that enormous problem regarding a writing project which a week or a month or six months later I've been forced to lay aside for the duration, in some cases right up to the present. What a massive junkyard I've strewn with these things.) A giddy epiphanic moment also when I discovered Sandefjord Bay on Peter Island in the Sea of Amundsen off the coast of Antarctica. Or actually it's Peter I Island, discovered back in the 1820's by a Russian. But I'm gearing up to put a little fictional spin on this history to keep it afloat in the archipelago of "Jyzer" family facts and legends. Here in the basement. Jazz post-midnight. Lilting out right now, lord help us, a sappy little tune I taught myself to play on the piano way back before Mentoka was even a twinkle in its parent's eyes (as far as I know, and I should since I'm him, the parent, agamic type, if that's the term, and I believe it is).
-- Or jyze either, of course. This chaotic scratching. Will I do any better with one of the new J-sticks? Will what comes out then still feel like something called jyze? A good chance at least one of those X-BBs will arrive this coming week.
More serendipity: a few days ago I chanced upon a stationery shop selling my longtime favorite brand of ink. A brave little three-tier pyramid of boxed bottles on a low back shelf and not even all that dusty. The product name is slightly different now, true, but need that matter? After all: it still boasts the same magical self-cleaning formula. Sez so right on the box.
Also it never came in boxes before, which fact doesn't worry me either. Probably this new version has been on the market for years and I simply couldn't see it because of the colorful new packaging. In any case: I bought five bottles. One more and I'd've bought them out. I'm still endorphing over all this. The swarm is loosed. The night is forever kick-ass.
And right here the plastic red ruler that until day before yesterday bore the commercially printed words "Glen's Ruler." With a little down-home tinkering it now reads "Jyze Rules."
Meanwhile friends and relatives are closing in. It's that time of year again. Phone ringing all day. Paul and Lori. Auntie Alice. Cousin Kar and the kids. Warren and Mei. Two separate contingents of "Japan Japanee." Also D's parents have announced a week's expansion of their visit and so it'll now swallow up most of August. Since the "library" here converts into a guest room which they'll be staying in, and my study is directly overhead and the ceiling is not soundproofed and they've been unhappy with my late-night pacings in the past, I'll be moving most of my operations back up to the shed. Also may start going in to work on Sunday nights again. We'll see. Fortunately (tho it's no accident) my night job gives me a good excuse to opt out of over-the-top social stuff. Quite often D says she'd like to devise a similar scam for herself.
Not that I ever intended to become such a recluse. Rather it's gradually turned into a necessity. True, I could've chosen to go some other route. Because I found D I could go this route. No doubt about it (I say over and over): finding her was my luckiest break of all.
-- I'm fortunate too that a month or so back my two best pals from the graveyard-shift ferry runs went over to swing. I might've had to change ferries just to avoid them so I could focus exclusively on in-transit "Jyzer" prepping. Tom T. and Haskell. Love 'em both.
However, for a while love 'em both from a distance. (There's still Lan but she's rarely chatty and usually sleeps on the bench opposite for the whole morning run and almost always catches an earlier boat in the evening.)
(Here's the greatest jazz singer of them all -- the accolade is close to unanimous -- in her perky early form, back when her accent and even her speaking-voice timbre were astoundingly like my own grandmother's, who couldn't sing at all but told a whole lotta fine stories on the radio in Lahontan: our only known family media personality and a late-blooming one at that -- and as Nana H. she'll soon be performing some of the same storytelling role over the airwaves in "Jyzer" as well.)
Lean back and stretch. Usual black sweatpants and heavy gray long-sleeve henley I wear on weekends. Even at the height of tourist season high couture is not big
in these parts.
-- The "Jyzer" comp books will have forest-green covers. I've already numbered the pages of the first one: 224 of them. I'm going with forest green because all the others are still cellophane-wrapped in packages of five. Well no, I shouldn't say that, I have a loose fuchsia (which I like least of all the colors) and even a black. For some reason I want "Jyzer" to have its own separate and inviolate color and it must be green.
Fictojyze series, that's to be distinguished from jyze itself. Same zone but different entrances. (And then within the fictojyze a kind of inner zone that will be a jyze zone for fictive G -- a/k/a Jyzer G -- but not yet a fictojyze zone. That might be a discovery for him in one of the later Mentoka volumes.)
-- Should I call the trilogy, all three volumes together, "The Jyze Age"? I'm thinking maybe yeah.
-- This week or next I might take off a day or two from work if it appears the prepping is falling behind. I might do it anyway. Isn't it the case that I'll now be able to start up right on schedule no matter what happens? I think probably so, but I guess I can't quite believe it.
Squint. What time does that say? -- Wait a minute, there's no clock down here. I'm suddenly getting radios confused. Or confounded. Or whatever's right. (Drat this indirection!)
-- The half-life of the J-book. I notice the jyzing is now halfway to half-life, to page 24 of 96 (just three 32-page signatures in this skinny old-school comp book, as opposed to seven in the big fat shiny new ones). So does this mean I'm about to stop for the nonce? Hell no! I'm on a roll! And besides, I'm not all that tired. It's two-twenty a.m., the DJ chirps up at just the right moment, letting me know I actually should be tired, or more tired.
The waves usually hit on schedule. But if they don't they can sometimes be induced simply by thinking about their delinquency. That's doubly true if something important needs to be done.
Nothing like that in sight at the moment. So should I overrule myself and put a cork in it for now? (Let's see what the "Jyze Rules" ruler decrees. -- The ruler says yes! -- Flipped it like a Chinese fortune stick. Which is why the coffee table boasts a new scratch. I think. Hard to be sure when scratches are everywhere.)
Maybe I'll wander up to the shed. And yet -- there's so much to do up there I shrink from starting anything. -- Which can no longer be a valid excuse at this stage of the countdown.
(Thought as I was about to thirty this thing: the Jr. at the end of my name could also stand for Joker or Jester. Juggler. Juker. But Jyzer is still mainly it, yes. Now and forevermore. Just how it is. -- "Thirty it" came bubbling up from the long ago, newsroom lingo, also inspiration for "Two-Star Chronicles.")