A Full Circle Moment...brought to you by Cbc.
Not long ago, my mother gave me a bag of stuff from my childhood that she'd kept stashed in her cedar chest for many years. There were all the usual bits of paper - old journals, report cards, school scribblers, some weird art. But there were also a few things most people won't have in their childhood memorabilia bags: handwritten pages of material that would go on to be broadcasted on radio shows throughout the region, laminated copies of paychecks, and contracts. Between the ages of 10 and 12 (not 9, as my contract's 'special condition' says. I was 10 years and 23 days, TYVM. Practically a teenager as far as I was concerned!) I had my first taste of what it meant to be a professional writer and performer with CBC radio.
I'd been involved in 4-H public speaking for quite some time, and my public speaking mentor happened to be a host on our local CBC radio. Joella Foulds (who will be hosting a Q&A with me at Crow's Cape Breton Launch Party on March 30th) saw this little diamond in the rough, and pitched me and my work to a producer. A guy named Steven Freygood loved it. Next thing I know, there're contracts, conversations about joining ACTRA, and I'm in studio recording my funny, kind-of-a-little-bit-cheeky commentaries in one smooth, seamless take. I was on Cloud Nine. And then...I got PAID. I still remember the exorbitantly expensive coral-coloured Puff-a-Lump bear I bought with my first CBC check fortune. $77.30 for a single 5 minute commentary. In the '80s, that was a ton of money for a kid doing something that didn't even feel like work. That's more than many grown-ass professional writers get paid for far more complex and laborious creative work these days. You don't want to know the average hourly wage of a fiction writer, and neither do I. But I digress...
The point is, CBC called me a writer back in 1986. Right there, in print, on my contract. And I've called myself one ever since. Last week, CBC gave me another boost by including Crow in their Spring Book Preview. Check it out here It feels like a full circle kinda moment for me, seeing my name and the word 'writer' in print beneath the CBC logo. A moment 30-some years in the making.