January 19, 2015

Me Write Gud

The point of all these recent postings has been a reinvigorated desire to practice my writing. I like doing it, even if it's only, you know… fooling around. I feel the need to note this, as Kerry and her writer friends presently sit downstairs and discuss their writing. Their published, passionate, professional writing. Their writing careers. Me? I'm just tinkering with my hobby. Having a good time.

I wanted to be a writer once. A journalist – to the chagrin of my lifer journalist dad who, sensing a great change coming in the field during the sunset of his career in the late 1990s, subtly asked me if I was sure. I steered myself into college, surprised as anyone that I was accepted into Creative Communications, and proceeded to become a solid C… er, C- student.

But my best marks came in the journalism portion of the program, largely due to a lack of spelling errors of names and places – a crime that came with an automatic assignment fail. (Even that achievement came with an asterisk – a classmate once flunked an assignment for not writing Portage la Prairie in full, yet I somehow escaped using the more colloquial "Portage".)

My journalism career ended soon after, before it even started. Tasked one day to attend a police newser and file a story by day's end, I was let loose with two dozen other student scribes to cover the mop-up from an armed North End standoff. Pounding on neighbours' doors, ambushing locals, describing a depressing scene. I can't remember what I even came out with for a story. But I didn't want this.

At the same time, we were filing scripts for radio ads in advertising class. I penned a 30-second scene in which an ad agency used a finicky gorilla to help sell beets (tagline: Manitoba beets, deliciously pink). There was slightly more to it than that, but I earned an A and basically, that was that.

Well, that and my journalism instructor explaining to me one morning while sitting side-by-side on a transit bus that I wrote solid lead paragraphs and that "maybe I should try advertising". Ouch.

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