I remembered all of this as I watched Lily, Foing and Jimmy's child, sitting on her mothers's knee, as Foing's fingers moved like heavy dew over the neutral keys. I write about it as great speckled birds dart round this European garden of Castelnau.
I acknowledge Lily, flower of an eastern Dynasty, blossom of the CHAU. I acknowledge the midwifery of her beautiful and talented mother who delivered this manuscript as she has delivered the child, her father with a heart of gold. I acknowledge her four uncles in the Saigon Press, the most talented printing team in Canada.'We have decided,' as a lady from the Emperor's Court in Japan told me in February, 'to make a stand for the children.'
I acknowledge my own children (Brian, Robert, Declan, and Emer); Patrick John Clare for his constant dedication to this trilogy; his great intelligence, ingenuity, and artistic talent; Elizabeth's children Krystel and Andrea; her parents Frank and Marion, and brothers, Barry and Bill; Brian Cundle for his most arresting cover design; my own family in Newfoundland; and many individuals at the Departments of English, French, History, Fine Art, Geography, and Political Science at many universities, especially of course the University of Toronto. I thank especially the artists from the village in which I live, Jeff Temple and Patrick Clare, for the brilliant way in which they have interpreted some parts of the text.
I thank all those who supplied the information without which the volume would not have been possible, hundreds of correspondents, thousands of telephone callers, and those who trusted neither telephone or letter but who came to our door by car, by foot, by horse, sometimes taking one or the other of us out to an abandoned road, with the radio blaring, and telling us what they felt impelled to communicate. I remember the Belgian saying as early as June '89 shortly before I decided to publish what I knew in a coded poem, Nato and the Warsaw Pact Are One: 'You will not have to stir from this house. Everything that you want to know will come in through that front door.'And so it did.
I can still hear hesitant voices on the telephone communicating something else under the pretext of ordering a book; light taps or small stones on ice-encrusted glass; a strange car at the back of the house, covered forms slipping surreptitiously through the back door and forward to the open fire; the awed silence that fell over the room when Glen Kealey and Shelley Ann Clark poured out what they had gathered in the byways of business and politics; some of our European visitors fearing that the house would be raided' before they could get back to buy more books; 'your neighbours?' one asked, his eyes moist with the memory of Hungary, etc.
One gentlemen from Ontario, whom I encountered, hit upon an ingenious device to catch my attention in the hundreds of letters arriving each week. He ordered a book by phone, paid for it promptly, then wrote me a letter with his address and telephone number. There was nothing for a month or two until I received a letter containing the most interesting information. The letter had no return address, signature, fax, or telephone number. Who is this, I said to EE? She didn't know. But the dear e.c. had left a clue and after a couple of hours search I found his earlier letter. Fortunately for me the printing matched, for e.c. has provided to be the most valuable and reliable information in the book.
My most memorable images are of Brad Chamberlain at dawn at a 'family' house in Guelph, telling us that Hubble is not being used to observe the glory of the heavens, but is being trained on the earth and has such an acute espionage capacity that it can distinguish the flowers in our own back yards. Every time the phone rings, Brad went on, as you are turning the key in your front door, 'you can bet your bottom dollar that the caller is connected with Hubble Intelligence'. There are no accidents, as John Davy, Science Editor of the Observer, said to me once.
And then there was Steve - who had fought with Che Guevara and Philip Agee (defected CIA 'Case Officer' for Mexico) sauntering up the road, a basket of apples clutched under one arm, a gallon of Javex swinging from the other, disguised as the perfect farmer, bringing us in a secret pocket in his duffle coat a slim tape, perhaps the hottest of the items we handled: a tape of Professor Noam Chompsky giving a secret address to an invited audience from around the world in 1991 and proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that Chompsky, even though he poses to the contrary, is in fact the brains behind the Whole Plan for a new world order. The tape was picked up on the airwaves by Steve and his friends two hundred miles from where the address was given.
Finally I acknowledge the woman who completes my soul and who can perceive what is there before it is born. Love is like a lightning rod, releasing rain.
Without Elizabeth there would have been no trilogy, no inspiration to throw every ounce of energy I possess in defence of beauty and truth. As John Keats said, 'Beauty is Truth/Truth Beauty/That is all ye know on earth, /And all ye need to know.'
EE? How can one communicate an image of one who is as irregular as the lightning, white light produced from the press of darkness on darkness. Two negatives produce a positive. She is like a sky in perpetual motion, the same features alternatively animated by contending passions from within. Yet I have never seen anybody play their cards so close to the chest. As Tennessee Williams says,
Without a cry, without a prayer
With no betrayal of despair.
I didn't know, for example, that she had been in Naval Intelligence in the seventies until I received the following coded letter from e.c. last autumn. I quote it here and to make it easier for the reader (and of course to protect e.c.) I have eliminated the codes:
There is a retired gentleman of about 82 years of age whom I meet with on a regular basis. During the beautiful weather he would wave to me, and the two of us would enjoy for a little while the simplicity of feeding the squirrels together.
The man in question is retired Mossad who had been involved with Kim Philby. He even had an assignment at one time to watch Kissinger when he lived in a highrise apartment building years before in White Plains, New York. The Mossad man, a General in the Israeli Army before becoming involved in Mossad Intelligence, told me Kissinger was an 'absolute madman who
actually kicked furiously - no matter who was looking - at the doors of the elevator in a wild rage if it didn't come down fast enough to get him.' Anyway, I asked the General about a situation which had happened to me about a month before. The old man laughed, and said, 'It's about time you asked me that
I had innocently stumbled upon a common area called United Cigar Store in Whiteoaks Mall [London, Ontario] where they bring in all the US and International newspapers and where the intelligence operatives come to get their news, the names of most of the players being known to each other, including, rather significantly, one EE.
The person I met there and had a conversation with was a retired Naval Intelligence gentleman who had commissions at the US Naval Academy near Baltimore, as well as Fort Detrick. Later, in a completely innocent discussion over a beer - you know the type of situation, 'let's meet and talk about the latest in International Affairs' - I mentioned this great book I had read, The New World Order and the Throne of the antichrist, and mentioned you and EE.
This guy literally stood up and took off like the wind: he thought he had been set up by your intelligence group and that I was part of it, that in essence we were giving him a warning to the effect: 'we know who you are and what you are doing, what shall it be? Trick or Treat?'
The old Mossad man got a call to inquire whether or not I was working for your group and who I was. He told them I was “squirrel”. ‘Who does he work for?' The old man told his contact that I had nothing directly to do with the O'Driscoll operation. Who then is 'squirrel'? 'Squirrel' works for me', the old man said and hung up. Later, I asked the old man about your connection in Michigan with regard to the new book. Of course, he told me nothing, but said something interesting. 'Michigan, maybe yes, and maybe no.'
Our meeting was over for that week, and I asked him, with all his isdom and experience, to give me in a nut shell what all the earlier nonsense had been about.
He looked up in the sky, smiled, and simply stated that the best
quotation which came to mind was: 'I have seen them play their cards, both sides, with such perfection, that I am bored.'
Those were, of course, EE's words to me the first weekend we spent together in the Royal York Hotel, St. Andrew's Day, 1990, when I asked: 'Elizabeth, before we sleep tonight, tell me something about espionage I don't know.'
And then later as we lay in bed, she said: 'What if? What if what comes out of here, this womb ... this egg of Earth, determines the whole future course of cosmic unfoldment? Otherwise, why would they bother, those ansi money sharks? It cannot only be greed, or merely a twisted insatiable lust for power.'
Finally, I quote Elizabeth's letter to Dr. Mohd. Amir Ali Khan, from Lorestan University in Iran, in which she asked him to write the lead article of this volume on Corruption in Canada:
Robert and I have decided to publish the truth about our country.
Fiction is a mask for a little boy peering out from behind his Mother's skirts.
Truth is a stranger, since so few have been taught truth or have been exposed to truth. The Media screams fiction in its tabloids, and the television and radio - with their polished faces and tailored voices - repeat lies dictated by politicians propped into power by the invisible rulers of our country.
The truth brings sickness to the masses, their brilliance having been diluted and tarnished by the 'black arts' of our educational systems, all of the systems having a well-tried method that kills the soul:
Somewhere in the dark comer of the sanitarium you will find an isolated drugged patient who knows the truth who - we all know - has been put there by the establishment. His or her only escape will be to take the shock treatment, become the controlled specimen he was supposed to be in the beginning;
We are free to tell, speak, and live the truth, because we will not succumb to THE SYSTEM. Fiction such as George Orwell's 1984 was a coward's way out. You are one of us.
All the best to you and please send in the books
A Positive New Year
Dr Mohd Amir Ali Khan
One last word about our printing team. Foing, as designer and typesetter, started with almost a thousand pages of seeming inchoate holographs, typescripts, and illustrations and made it all into a seamless garment of silk - not unlike herself:
I said, 'A line will take us hours maybe;
Yet if it does not seem a moment's thought,
Our stitching and unstitching have been naught...
That beautiful mild woman for whose sakeThe genius who stands between the typesetter and the printers is 'the stripper', he or she who strips the original print-out for the press -Tin. This demands a combinafion of mathemafical precision and artistic imagination, for the chronological sequence of the pages is not the order in which they are printed. If one page goes wrong, or is crooked, everything goes wrong. 'Not too many like this job,' Tin says and smiles, led on by the fascination of what's difficult.
There's many a one shall find out all heartache
On finding that her voice is sweet and low
Replied, 'To be born woman is to know -
Although they do not talk of it at school -
That we must labour to be beautiful.'
I said, 'It's certain there is no fine thing
Since Adam's fall but needs much labouring . . .
(W. B. Yeats, Adam's Curse)
A film plate is then made from the 'paste-up' that Tin devises, and it is from this plate that Long and Tong print the pages of the book. 'Every machine is individual,' Long has told me, 'you can get used to your machine the way a rider gets used to a horse. The more you get used to it, the faster you travel, the more pages you print in an hour.'
Think of what could have gone wrong in this first edition of 2,000 books or 1,200,000 pages when it was all directed by human hand, two simple machines.
The overseer of the Saigon Press Team - apart from Lily and her aristocratic grandmother - is Vin. I always say of Vin that he is not the Cap Stone but the Cap Tain, The Captain, and a Captain must know all the components of his ship in order for the ship to remain seaworthy. I am thinking too of the ancient European epic, the Tain Bo Cuailnge, which mythologises the ingenuity, compassion, and courage of one who stands alone in successfully defending his country.
We seven then - EE, Vin, Foing, Tin, Long, Tong and I - with almost sixty contributors from across the country, have 'something to perfection brought.' You will find mistakes, but always remember what J ames Joyce said about the title of Finnegans Wake: 'I left the apostrophe out to wake people up.'
My mother's words, spoken when I was nine or so in Newfoundland, come back. 'I did my best,' I'd said. 'Your best, my son, may not be good enough.'
1. William Wordsworth, Ode on the Intimations of Immortality.