Since most of us are closet megalomaniacs, we are sometimes tempted to Google our own names. Out of equal parts boredom and curiosity, I find this little secret search entertaining, especially when I discount everything Dears-related and Blog-related. What I’m left with is a handful of old things I wrote, mostly from when I was among the first-generation of the now rampant “bitter music journalist.” But then there’s this nugget, this little, mini scrap from my past: high school poetry. I will have you know that “Bowl of Trail Mix” was selected as the “Cool Poem of the Week,” but really I can’t think of anything less cool than being the author of a poem deemed cool by teachers.
I have a philosophy that I stand very strongly by: that we are all forgiven for everything we did from birth to the age of 18, with an emphasis on the period that spans across the teen years. At any rate, my grade 12 English class, taught by Mr. Pendergrast, participated in some kind of electronic writer’s workshop, back when computers were just invented and class handouts were still being printed by hand-operated mimeographs in the teacher’s room. Ok, not that far back, but, seriously: almost. So a few of us major nerds in English class would bring in our poems, and give them to Mr. Pendergrast. He would then type them up and actually send them by EMAIL to this Writers In Electronic Residence (WIER) message board (or BBS, as they used to be called). Other students from across the province (Ontario) would then read and comment on our poems, and we would do the same for our peers. Anyhow, I remember I thought it was so amazing that, in addition to other students, real, published authors would read and comment on my work! So I basically felt legitimised as a writer, and sailed out on a downward spiral of romanticism. I mean, really, aside from a career in academics, what the frig are you going to do with a degree in English/Creative Writing? What, become an author? Undergrads, listen now and listen hard: other than a valid reason to drink heavily, a degree in Creative Writing will only make you want to put down the pen and never write again. Who needs a bunch of middle-class ding-dongs critisizing your art? I mean, that’s what Pitchfork is for…YEOUCH!
But my bad high school poetry story doesn’t end there. August, 23, 2007: it was a rainy night on the patio of a Toronto hipster bar, where my friend Amanda unveiled the dark secret that was not meant to leave the realm of Google search results: she had stumbled upon a fellow WIER writer, who remebered my crappy poem. So my next project is to somehow reconnect with this person, who I recall conversing with a decade ago, via a strange, pre-internet medium.
To Be Continued…