July 26th, 2009.
Ten thousand nine hundred actually. But the same highway still winds its way past the same middle-of-nowhere towns where the AM jocks chant the same cadence of commercials, weather, and fragments of news headlines. All that's changed are the names. Carter = Obama; Trudeau = Harper; Lafleur = Crosby. I've driven this route...fifty maybe a hundred times and still find that sweep of blacktop from the high point of the Shield down, down, down into that long curving right hand corner drifting across the shore line of Old Woman Bay to be one of the most exhilarating ten minutes of Canadian highway driving. And there's not a Timmy Ho's in sight.
I've been back and forth half a dozen times these past few months as I try to get relocated here. When I first drove the 2,100 miles from Calgary to Hogtown in July of '79 I was full of ambition and hope and lusty excitement about what lay over that shimmering hot horizon of highway. I remember thinking as I passed through T-Bay: "Hey ! I could actually get a perm and not a soul would know 'cuz THIS is how they'll always see me" (thank God I couldn't afford the 18 bucks). But tonight, I feel the passage of those ten thousand days and although I still hear that seductive, narcotic voice saying -- "now THIS, is a great story" ... I gotta admit to being sick and tired of the constant "transitions" and I wish to hell the Motel Six in Blind River would change its "Coloured TV" neon sign. Just a thought -- can you buy a black-and-white TV anywhere this side of Baghdad?
I'm going to try and pick up this little blog up again. Why? Because I liked the exercise in writing and corralling all those wild-pony memories is good mental health discipline. I've recently had a number of friends leave the business. Victims of down-sizing. And although they're making brave sounds about setting up their own "production company" or getting into "consulting" - there is probably no worse time in the history of our fragile industry to be trying to extend your career this way.
The other day I was re-reading some of the off-the-top-of-my-head thoughts I wrote back in '79 about why I wanted to make a life in this business - and although way too many of them had to do with chasing women and not being able to do anything else...a few of them actually had some resonance.
Here's what I wrote back on July 26th, 1979. Ten thousand nine hundred days ago, today.
"I love what I do. I love the people I pass my time with. They are funny and smart and passionate and incredibly hard working. They have brought me into a "community" and for the first time in my life I actually feel as if people are listening to what I have to say. I'm not sure exactly what that might be, but at least I have a voice."
July 26th, 2009.
Posted by "The Book of Don" at 11:02 PM