Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Semi-Obligatory Introductory Post

Hello readers,

Just as the title promises, this is the semi-obligatory introductory post. Launching this site without explanation might confuse you and will confuse me. If this genre bores you, wait till the next post. If it doesn’t, keep reading.

OK, you didn’t take off. Excellent.

Every story needs a beginning; this story begins with me sitting in front of the computer, which is where you’ll usually find me at home. I was clicking around the Toronto Fringe Theatre Festival’s site, glancing blurbs to pick which shows to see this year. It hit me that I’ve seen productions during more than half (maybe say “more than half”) of The Fringe’s 25 year run, even if one year the only elements I saw were the late night freebies at the Fringe Club (those count, right?).

This inspired me to figure out what was the first Fringe show I saw.

The first place I looked for clues was a cardbox box sitting atop a living room bookshelf. Inside were my personal journals from university, which I haven’t looked at for years. Part personal diary, part scrapbook, they capture an important formative era of my life. The writing borders on cringe-inducing, but the bulging volumes of spiral-bound handwritten 70-to-360 page notebooks are a portrait of what the late 1990s were like. They fade out during my tenure as an editor at the Ontarion (the University of Guelph’s student paper), though there were a few writing bursts between moving to Toronto in 1999 and launching my first blog in 2003. Having a later volume vanish when the backpack it sat in decided while sitting at a downtown store to walk away with a new owner, one which included thoughts on my father’s passing, didn’t do much for keeping the journal going.

The volume for 1999 didn’t touch on the Fringe, so I went to the next possible source, a flimsy clear plastic IKEA tub filled with clippings intended for future scrapbooking. I discovered an incomplete notebook which held the answer I sought

A typical volume of the ol' journals.
Flipping through the journals, I realized I haven’t done much writing in that vein recently. OK, this isn’t quite true; Facebook and Twitter have been forums for bite-size musings. But the online continuation of those old journals, JB’s Warehouse and Curio Emporium, has evolved into a purely historical site. It now feels like it would be jarring to toss in personal pieces, writing experiments, and opinions about the present state of the world.

Which brings you to this website.

Hopefully, amidst the pressure of deadlines and trying to find work, I’ll pop on here to scribble loose thoughts.

To try writing exercises drawn from books I’ve borrowed from the library 38 times but haven’t cracked open.

To let off steam when the world drives me bananas.

To stop and smell the roses when the world doesn’t drive me bananas.

To appreciate the joys of the city, despite the nitwits who run it.

To continue to refine my writing skills for both my own satisfaction and to impress future associates.

With any luck, getting this site rolling will also prompt me to tackle one long overdue task: a third website devoted to my professional work as a writer, researcher, and (hopefully) historical consultant. A business site where clients can reach me, and where I can really strut my stuff. And finally use that web domain that’s lain dormant for two years.

Anything’s possible, right?

Thanks for sticking around to the final line,

(And thanks to Susan Clarke for proofreading this debut post).

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