Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Two years without a byline

"Passing to Where?"

Sometimes I take out my passport,

look at the photograph of myself

(not very good, etc.)

just to see if I exist

June 12, 1976

by Richard Brautigan

I left Regina near the end of August, 2006. Mainly because I was bored. I had outlived my usefulness to the city and vice versa. But we were still on speaking terms. It had been a rough couple of years for me and the Queen City. Both Buzzword Books and X-Ray Records closed up shop, and while Dave re-opened the record store a few months later and a few blocks over, the inbetween time cost me a lot of my faith in Regina to be the kind of place I wanted to live in. Sure, I love Regina as much as the next guy, but I was starting to get the feeling that Regina didn't love me back.

I had given the city my mercurial youth, wrapped up my ambitions in its ridiculous flag, and in my Quixotic folly, I believed I would be rewarded. Perhaps it was my definition of reward that got me in trouble. Chasing wealth and popular respect, I only found a chip on my shoulder. At the very least, I wanted to believe that I could expect to make a real living from my writing without leaving the city.

The problem was, I had no idea what I was doing. My sense of self was so entangled with seeing my name in print--like the Richard Brautigan poem at the top of the post--that I couldn't let go of my stalled-out writing career. I had a couple of promising leads that I hoped would take me to the next level...but various reasons, both only led to more frustration and dashed efforts. Neither of them won me anywhere near the money they initially promised, and since by then I was measuring my success by the size of my cheques.

And then...I walked away. As of this past weekend, I haven't written for money in two years (a milestone which officially ends my eligibility for membership in the Writers Guild of Canada--not that I was ever a member, but I considered it). My last paid article was an interview with the Zombies for the Leader-Post, a nice bookend to a tour of duty that started with a Joe Cocker interview. I haven't even drafted a query letter since I left R-Town.

Obviously, I haven't stopped writing. What you see on this blog is just the tip of the iceberg--and also the Titanic. I've got stuff on the go, stuff I've enjoyed writing more than I've enjoyed writing stuff in years. Stuff that's been seen by no one's eyes but my own.

But last month--has it been a month already???--my uncle Rick told me that he's read my blog and he doesn't understand half of it. OK. Let's face it, it's got no form, no theme, no purpose. But Rick also said that he used to enjoy reading my interviews with people. And y'know what, I used to enjoy conducting interviews with people. Most people. Some people, not really. But the point is... hey, there's no reason I can't still do interviews. So let's do some interviews.

mp3: "Lying on a Beach" by Joel Plaskett
mp3: "Sunshine and Grease" by Royal Trux

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