That’s why I am a journalist

I didn’t start paying attention to the names of people on the cover until I was in my early 20s. But I knew their faces and voices.

People like Anna Marie Tremonti, Adrienne Arsenault, and of course, Peter Mansbridge.

The stories in the essay collection, That’s Why I’m a Journalist, is the people I always wanted to be, although I didn’t know it at the time of the question, ‘what do you want to be when you grow up’.

They speak in the book about stories that highlight their careers. Stories that have affected them in some way. Stories that meant something to them.

Although a lot of them are the huge breaking stories that started them off on mind-blowing career, that is not the reason that those stories has had such an impact on their lives.

It is the difference they made telling the story that has impacted them. The stories of spending month trying to get Scout Canada to admit of scouts being sexually abused (Diana Swain), and walking through a city full of dead bodies and seeing children left orphaned by the earthquake in Haiti (David Common).

That is what journalism is to these amazing journalists.

That is the reason I wanted to become a journalist.

Anna Marie Termonti told her story about the fighting in Sarajevo and going into town after town talking with people who were hiding in basements afraid of the shelling and a makeshift hospital with wounded men, women, and children.

“These were victims of war,” she writes, “But they weren’t one-dimensional victims.”

“They had nothing, but they offered us everything. It was impossible not to marvel at the kindness and generosity of those people.”

These stories are the ones I feel I won’t have the guts to get but the ones I want to report on.

Going to school in King’s College in Halifax, the first thing Stephen Puddicombe said to us before he even started his first research class is why the f*** we were there? Wasn’t there something better we could have done with our lives than be journalists? We should all just pack up our bags and leave.

To some, this was a shocking question and an unwanted one. This was a question that harden that little seed of doubt the ones that didn’t know if they wanted to be journalists already had. These were the ones that complained that that wasn’t the right atmosphere a teacher should put us in before our first class even started.

For others, it strengthened their resolve.

If you could listen to Puddicombe rant about why you shouldn’t become a journalist in those first ten minutes of his class and not want to run from the room, that was your first step in becoming a journalist.

For me, I crossed my arms and sat there, taking whatever Puddicombe could throw our way. I knew I wanted to be there and nothing he could have said at that time could have made me think otherwise.

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I’ll do it when…

I’ll do it when I have more time. It’s always my excuse.

Talking about writing. I’ll do it when I’m not working a job I hate.

Finally working a job I love. I’ll do it when I’m not writing so much.

I respect people who battle their own minds. I can never seem to will that battle with mine.

I wish I had that drive people have. I’ve already come to forgone conclusion that I don’t have any drive in me.

You already know I’m a procrastinator. I’ve almost seemed to have been that when it comes to working this new found job that I love. As soon as I start, you can’t stop me.

It’s the starting that is the problem.

Wait, scratch that.

I guess I can’t say it’s a problem. There has not been a time yet that I haven’t made a paper deadline or been late with too many stories. I’ve left some on the sidelines so I could trying polishing the rest but I haven’t been to the point where I didn’t have more than enough of my work to go around.

But that is work. That is getting paid to write. That is doing the job I love and having something else drive me.

That has been another ‘I’ll do it when…’.

When I get paid to write fiction; brilliant, brilliant fiction, then I’ll work harder. Then I will have more drive. Then I will…

If not know, when? When will the ‘doing it when’s stop?

Bus riding enthusiast

Call me crazy but I love riding the bus.

I got on the bus to Saskatoon last night and I couldn’t get over how much I missed riding the bus.

Part of it is that I love to be moving. Any time where I am moving from point A to point B is exciting for me.

Now living in a place where I have no transit service (you get to go across the city for $3, what’s not to love, guys), the times when I will be using the bus now will only be to go across the province.

I loved it last night because there is no better way to see a province or a city but by a bus. All the little towns you stop at, all the landscape you get to see. For someone who has never owned her own car, this is the next best thing.

How I got here

I did not get here on my own.

I got here through the help and caring of others.

I got here on the support of amazing family and selfless friends.

I got here through people giving of their time and energy.

I got here on other people’s advice and kind words.

BUT….

I also got here riding out people’s harsh criticisms and battering remarks.

I got here even after I trusted people who never wanted me to succeed.

I will overcome those who don’t think I deserve to be here.

I am done believing those whom only want to see me fail.

Because of who got me here, I know the difference between those building me up and those knocking me down.

I will respect everyone’s opinions of me but that doesn’t mean I will take their words as gospel.

Because of who got me here, I will help and care for others trying to get to their here.

I will be there with advice and kind words. I will give of my time and energy.

Because if everyone helps everyone else get there, we will reach a world where no one will be lost.

 

Angry Rant – Plastic Horror Stories

The problems of plastic pollution start with us and I see plastic misuse everyday at work.

Working in retail, I’ve seen some pretty discouraging things when it comes to the use of plastic.

We can’t escape it anymore. It’s on everything, it’s in everything, it’s the packaging for everything.

We are choking on plastic.

Right now, it’s horrible working at a drug store. People by a stick of lipstick and they think they need a bag. You’re carrying a huge purse, lady, just put it in there. I saw a lady buy a CD, I asked if she needed a bag. She said yes, I put the CD in a bag and she put the CD WITH THE BAG IN HER PURSE. Now what was the point of using a bag?

I’d joke with people about buying reusable bags if they needed a bag for their bags. It was funny for both the customer and I, until someone actually ASKED FOR A PLASTIC BAG FOR HER REUSABLE BAGS.

I’ve gotten to the point where I thank people at my till for not using a plastic bag just because it is such a relief when people don’t take them.

In Nova Scotia, that plastic bag blowing in the wind has the most likely chance of winding up in the ocean. Marine mammals are being found with bellies full of plastic, including plastic bags, and we still have people not caring about how much plastic they are actually using.

Don’t get me wrong, if you need a bag for your 5 bags of chips and two six-packs of coke, sure, I will not look at you and say you don’t need one. Just think about a reusable bags or foregoing a single bag for your chocolate bar you are going to finish before even leaving the store.

I am a ball player and so can you

Co-ed rec leagues piss me off.

Nine times out of ten, the team organizers get female players as a warm body.

I saw this so many times last year playing in a softball team in Halifax that I started calling people out on it. It was numerous games into the season and female players were still left to their own devices, swinging baseball bats like hockey sticks and looking like fools.

So many times I’ve heard the excuses; it’s their first game, blah blah blah. At your first game, you should at least be showing them how to swing a bat, when to run, when to hold up, basic rules. Step up, people.

Next reason, I can hit. I’ve been able to swing a bat and hit a ball since I was four years old.

Don’t move up on me. Sure, yes, I can’t hit as far as some guys, but there is a point where you are just downright insulting.

Playing ball tonight, even in an intermediate league with experienced women, left field moved right up to the edge of the grass when I came up.

So let’s see. I had solid hits all game. I look like I know what I’m doing. I switch hit and hit off field, you’ve seen me do it. And yet, you move up to a point in the field that is downright insulting. Yeah, way to call it, buddy.

Guys, come on. Women can and do play sports.

Wanna to make your team stronger, if your girls can’t play, show them how. Women coming up to bat, give them a little credit until they show you otherwise.