Thursday, September 27, 2007

She Was Me

It's simple to forget that anyone came before.

I live in the magazine lab. I'm here, spreading my germs, spreading the love, spreading my eyes across the Internet for that one key piece of information that will make my story a story. I've spent $120 in the past two days on a new digital recorder (for fact-checking file purposes) and a doohickie (that's the technical name, of course) that hooks my recorder into the phone. (Up until this point I've just been able to take shorthand notes, but we're in the big leagues now.) I'm kind of excited with the purchase--the blackmail prospects are endless!

I knew my interview subject today was a Ryerson grad, so the small talk portion of the interview, which has never been my fortay (usually I have a terrible tendency to say something along the lines of, "Okay, I'm going to launch right into the questions if that's alright with you") was unbelievably easy. She had been here before. She understood.

"When you were still in j-school, what kind of writing were you interested in doing upon graduation?" I asked her, the first in a long list of questions. "Not what I did I actually ended up doing when I graduated!" she laughed. "I worked for trade magazines, but I was more interested in writing about women's issues. I was the editor of McClung's."

"Really?" I said. "That's funny, because I'm actually the editor of McClung's this year."

She graduated in 1994. The magazine celebrated its 15th anniversary this year. "I'm glad to hear it's still around!" she told me.

"Yah, and we're not even photocopied anymore--we're a full-colour glossy magazine."

Later, Canice and I found ourselves wading through the back issues, the distorted grainy pictures, the 800-word features. And the masthead pages--full of unfamiliar names.

Ryerson doesn't have the gothic architecture, the professors who time forgot, or the ivy-covered buildings that crowd the University of [City or Province name here] campus. We have a glass structures named after massive corporations, a building from the '70s lined with high school lockers that is currently missing a ceiling, and a hot dog vendor who everyone calls by his first name. We're surrounded by high tech equipment, young instructors and a comraderie that isn't necessarily affectionate, because we all know we're going to be stepping on each other's toes 3 years from now.

It's easy to forget that anyone came before.

(The only way to have ownership over something is to forget that you aren't the first and that you won't be the last.)


  1. Anonymous7:07 PM

    Your doohickie is called a phone jack, which sounds just as sexy.
    Get well.

  2. I enjoy the insight, but I disagree with your closing statement. I think that part of taking ownership can include keeping in mind the people that came and come before and after you, knowing that in history you will all be compared.

    Grasp hold while you own it and be bold in your homage.

  3. Karon- Canice also refers to it as a doohikie. Although apparently she spell its doohicky. And whatever Canice says MUST be right.

  4. Anonymous10:29 PM

    American Heritage Dictionary
    doo·hick·ey (dōō'hĭk'ē)
    n. pl. doo·hick·eys Informal
    An unnamed gadget or trinket.
    The biker chick is right.

  5. Ah. I wonder if there's a CP style chapter on when you can use words like widget and doohickey?

  6. Believe it or not, but I actually develop "widgets" at my job. No lie.