Resume Magazine - Christopher Simpson

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The Resume The magazine spotlighting notable resumes

This issue:

Christopher Simpson Editor, Writer, Marketing Consultant

• Four reasons not to hire Christopher Simpson • Education of an editor and marketer • Interviews with celebrities • Reprint of The Publisher’s article about Editor’s Sidebar, Simpson’s journalism resource site • Testimonials

Special Features: • V8 Juice & Canadian Unity • The First of the Last Times • Counting in the Foxhole with Maeve Binchy

The new Editor’s Sidebar comic strip (If you’re an editor, or even just know one, you’ll want to see this.)

Christopher Simpson

80 Montclair Ave., #202 Toronto, Ontario M5P 1P8 416-544-1638

PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY English Professor 5 years teaching College English and Professional Communications: • curriculum design • class maintenance • analysis and grading • classes typically audited by students who have already passed the course but come to learn more.

Editor and Writer Numerous periodicals, software manuals and White Papers: • feature articles • editorials • press releases • ad copy for print • interviews with authors, actors, and other notables.


Communications Consultant Advertising and marketing commentator since 1994 through Ad Nauseam column. Consultant for various businesses in capacities ranging from single-issue to full-scale communication analysis.

Minister – Disciples of Christ Junior pastor of Meadowvale Church: • delegated to attend Canadian Council of Churches 1981 • co-designed both North York and Scarborough Marriage Chapels • officiated at over 1,500 weddings.

University of Toronto: B.A. English. Credits: Cinema, Linguistics, Celtic Studies, Philosophy, Theology. Niagara College: Credits: English, Sociology, Psychology. George Brown College: Certificate: Commercial Art. Presently enrolled: Journalism Program. Alberta Bible College: Apprenticeship program under Rev. Beverly Leslie.

NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS J. Walter Thompson (Canada) - Created and headed the IT department for JWT (Canada) starting from five machines to more than 350 across Canada. Civic Wedding Chapels - Co-designer, with Rev. Beverly Leslie, of the Civic Wedding Chapel in both North York and Scarborough civic centres. Editor's Sidebar - Created and operated popular resource site for Ontario journalists, listed with the Press Club of Canada.

ASSOCIATIONS ThinkBalm: Association created by Forrester Research principal Erica Driver to improve communications through Immersive Technology. Association of Virtual Worlds: Top-level programmers and communications experts working in Enterprise applications of Immersive Technology.

SAMPLING OF PUBLICATIONS • The Welland Tribune • Globe and Mail • The Independent

• The Outrider • Toronto Irish News • The Town Crier

• Celtic Curmudgeon: Arts & Entertainment Review • What’s on Queen

SOFTWARE PROFICIENCY MS Word, WordPerfect, InDesign, InCopy, QuarkXPress, Excel, DreamWeaver, PowerPoint, PhotoShop.

Full resume available at Christopher Simpson’s Clippings and Resume Site 2 - Resume Magazine

Four reasons not to hire me

expression of clarity. Pepsi...builds on this knowledge. True innovation always begins by investigating the historic path. Going back-to-the-roots moves the brand forward as it changes the trajectory of the future.” I believe the same people also wrote the presidential campaign speech given by the evil alien Kang on the Simpson’s: “We must move forward... not backwards, not to the side, not forwards, but always whirling, whirling, whirling towards freedom!”

2. I have been too well trained in the standards of the English language For example, when the Arnell Group wrote the phrase, “The vocabulary of truth and simplicity is a reoccurring phenomena,” they used the plural “phenomena” rather than the singular “phenomenon,” as I would have done – which is why I will never earn a million dollars for a single document. Christopher Simpson and wife with author Eric Walters (right) at the CBA Trade Show. Tatiana, the tiger cub, was there to help promote Walters’ new book, Tiger by the Tail.

I’ve been involved with communications for a couple of decades now, as writer, editor, and marketing image consultant. I set up the IT department for JWT Canada, and headed the department until its outsourcing. I am a long-time commentator on marketing and advertising. For the past five years I’ve been teaching College English and Professional Communications at George Brown College in Toronto. Despite, or perhaps because of this, there are four very good reasons you should not hire me.

1. I am incapable of creating indecipherable copy Many businesses, due to the rather unremarkable quality of their products or indistinguishable nature of their service, require mission statements and marketing messages which, through corporate clichés and meaningless phrases, manage to say nothing. While acknowledging the skill that goes into this prose, honesty compels me to admit that I am incapable of achieving such heights of content-free poetry.

Consider Danka. According to their ubiquitous mission statement, Danka “delivers value to clients worldwide by using its expert technical and professional services to implement effective document information solutions” to provide “enterprise imaging systems and services.” I doubt I could ever come up with such an impenetrable way of describing a company that installs fax machines and printers. The most recent, and awe-inspiring example of such prose can be found in the Arnell Group’s re-imaging of the Pepsi logo. At a cost of one million dollars, they put a slight bulge in the white middle layer of the famous “Pepsi wave” accompanied by a 27 page document explaining their “strategy based on the evolution of 5000+ years of shared ideas in design philosophy creating an authentic Constitution of Design.” Here’s a sample: “The vocabulary of truth and simplicity is a reoccurring phenomena in the brand’s history. It communicates the brand in a timeless manner and with an

I insist on using words according to their meaning, spelling them correctly, and placing them in grammatical order. Such benefits to a client are meagre, to say the least, and can at best merely add to the company’s reputation as knowledgeable and authoritative, while also guarding it from being laughed at by the millions of baby boomers and their parents who were raised on proper grammar.

3. I have an obssesssion with checking facts and verifying sources. Take the 1995 case of the graduate student whose thesis on gun violence reported that the number of children killed by gunfire had doubled each year since 1950. The news media were more than willing to report such atrocious statistics, but apparently not so willing to stop for a moment and do a simple mathematical check. If two children were killed by gunfire in 1950, then four would have been killed in 1951, eight in 1952, and 16 in 1953. As this trend continues, the year 1978 would see 268.4 million children killed by gunfire, a neat trick since it is a figure that is greater than the entire population of the United States at the time. By 1983, the number of children killed by gunfire Resume Magazine - 3

As the Editor’s Sidebar became known within Ontario’s editing community, The Publisher (the official magazine of the Canadian Community Newspapers Association) picked up the story.

An Editor’s Sidebar, online Friday, August 17, 2001 By Patrick Moore Ontario community newspapers looking for an online journalism and fact resource online have a new source – the Editor’s Sidebar. The site offers a wealth of journalism resources, from information about the rural communities of Ontario, to columns from important names in the field. It even offers a few irregular bulletins. And behind it all is Christopher Simpson, 48. Simpson is a University of Toronto English graduate. He has been, at various times in his career, the executive editor of the Celtic Curmudgeon, a senior staff writer at What’s on Queen, the associate books editor and reporter for The Strand, an assignment editor and columnist for The Outrider, and a columnist for the Welland Tribune. Simpson began the site two months ago, and sent out invitations to editors and publishers last month. As for why he put up a journalism web site, well … Simpson said he just doesn’t know. “I like community newspapers,” he said. “I’m convinced that once the dust settles from the Internet wars, community newspapers are going to be the winners. Community newspapers are personal. You carry a picture of your wife in

in the United States would be greater than the entire population of the world. By 1995, the date of the report, 35.2 trillion children a year would be dying at the hands of gun-toting villains. The study used by the student actually reported that the number of children killed by gunfire had doubled since 1950. Not doubled each year, but doubled over the intervening 45 years. (And since the population itself had increased by 75%, even this figure was far less shocking than it might otherwise be.) Of course, the mistake was caught eventually, but by then the erroneous statistics had spread. This is the way of misinformation – once released, it takes on a life of its own. It is my belief that 4 - Resume Magazine

your pocket – you don’t carry a PDF representation. There’s something about ownership and people tend to feel that they own their community newspapers.” The Editor’s Sidebar offers its visitors news from community newspapers around Ontario, facts about rural and urban Ontario, information on the Ontario government, lists of government contacts, links to journalism sites around Ontario, Canada, and the world, and interesting columnists. One of those columnists is Tony Sutton, the man behind several award-winning newspaper redesigns, including The Globe and Mail. “Tony was one of the world’s flukes,” said Simpson. “He said that in an idle moment while he was doing a search on his name … he found the Circa 2000 site and subscribed to the newsletter. “I remembered who he was and I contacted him. He offered some columns – original ones that were entirely his idea. I was so happy. I wandered around for the next couple of days telling my wife, ‘Hey! This guy re-designed The Globe,’” he said.

capture and store web sites for future generations to view. So far, traffic to the Editor’s Sidebar has been brisk. Subscriptions to his various newsletters have been strong, and he is now facing traditional newspaper headaches. “I was very nicely corrected on some spelling in my last newsletter by a copy editor,” laughed Simpson. “I’m thinking about making the next newsletter about the importance of copy editing.” The Editor’s Sidebar also publishes a periodic newsletter that offers tips and tricks on how to get more information from the Internet, and a weekly column by advertising analyst Blaise Meredith, entitled Your Weekly Insult Newsletter, that explores the history and etymology of the insult. Although the site has no advertising yet, Simpson said he plans to eventually sell advertising in the newsletters. As for the future, he remained vague. “I really don’t know,” said Simpson. “I’m hoping that the editors and the people that come and visit are going to help direct it through their comments and criticisms. “It’s a resource site – I want to see how many resources I can offer,” he said. 

Besides being the editor of the Editor’s Sidebar, Simpson is also a webmaster for Circa 2000, a virtual time capsule of the web. The site aims to

those involved in the communications business have a responsibility to make sure as little misinformation as possible is sent out to go forth and multiply.

abilities, and you are not.” The arrogant individual says, “I am a person of high standards and superior abilities – and you should be too.”

This means that if you give me inflated or mistaken information, I will attempt to put it into perspective—rather than simply passing them on and having some other publication point out the errors.

4. I am arrogant – but not conceited.

When I attach my name to a project, I want that project to withstand scrutiny. I want that project to stand out as a work of quality. If I am connected to a marketing campaign, I don’t want that campaign to suffer the kind of ridicule engendered by the Arnell Group’s redesign of the Pepsi logo. And if my name appears as writer, co-writer, or editor of a report, I don’t want that report to later appear as an example of sloppy research and editing.

The conceited individual says, “I am a person of high standards and superior

For many, these standards may well be too high. 

And that brings me to the last reason why you shouldn’t hire me.

A few notable Interviews

Education of an editor University of Toronto

Ian Rankin, author of the Inspector Rhebus novels, several of which were made into movies

Linda Griffiths, popular Canadian playwright and actress

B.A. English Literature Extra Credits: • Linguistics • Celtic Studies • Cinema Studies • Philosophy • Phenomenology

George Brown College Certificate: Commercial Art

Presently enrolled in Editing & Publishing program to keep skills sharp.

Niagara College

Maeve Binchy, famous Irish author whose Tara Road was selected for Oprah’s Book of the Month Club

Julie Payette, Canadian astronaut

(Credits only) • Psychology • Sociology • English

Royal Conservatory of Music Violin - Grade four

Dorothy Cameron, famous Canadian art dealer whose exhibit, Eros ’65, was charged with being obscene in 1965 for depicting two nude women touching

Astronaut James Lovell of the ill-fated Apollo 13; played by Tom Hanks in the movie

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The first of the last times Reprinted from the Globe and Mail, April 5, 2007

The three of us formed a tight group back in high school: Ian, George and me. “The Mod Squad,” they called us, although our little trinity contained neither blacks nor females. Still, as witticisms went, it was certainly better than some of the others we faced. “Are you gay?” one young tough sneered at me. “I’m reasonably happy,” I answered, puzzled to hear such an archaic word from someone who appeared to be an inarticulate thug. But we weren’t gay in the “not-thatthere’s-anything-wrong-with-that” sense. We were just good friends. Ian and George were the most important people in my life at the time. “I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve,” says Gordie Lachance in Stand by Me. My special friendships came in my late teens, but I understand the sentiment. As the years became decades, Ian and I stayed in touch: sometimes weekly, sometimes missing a year or two. George, on the other hand, disappeared like a ghost in the night; a ship over the horizon; an old TV show before VCRs. But since then I’ve often thought: there must have been one last time the three of us were together. What did we do? Did we go somewhere, or did we hang around in a living room? What were the 6 - Resume Magazine

last words we spoke to each other? It seems unfair that so many last times come and go without leaving anything behind.

Never was sure which one I was supposed to be. Death sometimes gives enough warning that we can mark the occasion properly, noting carefully some last message gasped through the rattle of CheyneStokes breathing. Of course, there’s always the risk of not quite understanding what was gasped. In such cases it may actually be preferable to forget the details of a grandfather’s death than to spend the rest of your life wondering whether he said, “I miss Stephen Lewis,” or “Always stay Jewish.” Especially if he’d been a conservative Episcopalian. Seeing people off as they depart forever to distant lands, such as the Orient, the Indies or the Suburbs, is another last

time that generally stays in memory -unless of course the farewell celebrations are too successful, leaving details rather hazy. In general, however, Last times tend to be indistinguishable from every other time. They sneak up and scoot by without the slightest warning, leaving us with nothing to remember. Proust, who created an entire literary career for himself by remembering the taste of a “little crumb of madeleine,” probably forgot when the last time was he ate any. Sometimes too, changes come in such small increments that it’s difficult to determine the exact point at which one thing becomes another. One day your favourite restaurant replaces their simple cup of coffee with a dozen vaguelyItalianate choices. A few weeks later the menu, which until now had always described the meals in terms of what they contained (“Hot open-faced chicken sandwich with gravy, peas and fries”), is replaced by a new one which seems more interested in what the meals now lack (“Low-fat additive-free chicken-substitute platter”). Bizarre and unidentified vegetables appear. The chocolate sauce on your dessert is dribbled in a random scrawl like the signature of an exhausted movie star. At what point during this metamorphosis can you say that you’ve been to your favourite restaurant for the last time? This gradual change occurs in people too. Shortly before my grandmother died we went to a Chinese restaurant. During the dinner she asked several questions concerning my identity and then proceeded to drop sweet and sour chicken balls into her purse. I never saw her alive again, but could it really be said that this meal represented the last time I saw her? Alzheimer’s may be an extreme example, but incremental change affects everyone around us: friends who used to enjoy talking about music now talk about RRSPs; spouses exchange their shared passion for movies with a shared passion for real estate points. We may speak to our brothers or sisters every week without ever realizing that we no longer really know who they are. We talked to them for the last time long ago and never noticed. “Look at the people around you,” read a piece of graffiti in Kensington Market,

“and remember the children we used to be.” But now comes the most frightening thought of all: if so many around me are turning into unrecognizable, strangely robotic beings, is it really feasible that I alone have somehow remained immune? My violin hangs on the wall, its strings loosened so that the neck doesn’t warp. My old records, cassettes and CDs sit untouched, and no new ones have replaced them. I live in the core of a vibrant and exciting city, but when I’m outside, my main concern is to

avoid the bicyclists on the sidewalk. Still, could it be that although I may live for another thirty or forty years, I already, without realizing it, have seen everything for the last time? Maybe I should tighten up the old violin strings and start annoying the neighbours again. I never was a very good musician, but somehow I don’t think that really matters. For inspiration I could even put on my CD of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsodies. There are also a number of Brahms symphonies I haven’t

Ah, shucks! “Christopher was an amazing resource for marketing guidance early in ReactionGrid’s start. We had made some basic marketing mistakes & Christopher kindly offered his knowledge in this area ...Christopher also has helped ReactionGrid by joining the AVW and ThinkBalm groups where he has voiced opinions that question accepted norms but that ultimately got the virtual world community thinking along lines they had not previously considered. ” Kyle Gomboy: combined ASP.NET and SQL Server database technology with 3D visuals, creator of ReactionGrid. US Navy trained, specialised in Poseidon and Trident SSBN Ballistic Missile Submarines & Los Angeles Class Fast Attack Submarines. “Shortly after joining the ThinkBalm Innovation Community … Chris jumped in with both feet and agreed to play the role of the curmudgeon at the community’s first role-playing session. … Chris did a great job and despite lots of technology challenges the session was a great success. … Thank you, Chris.” Erica Driver: cofounder of ThinkBalm, leading industry analyst and consultant quoted in mainstream and industry trade press, previously a Principal Analyst at Forrester Research.

heard in far too long, not to mention some great Emerson Lake and Palmer, King Crimson, Led Zeppelin, and Annie Lennox. Come to think of it, there’s something a little odd here. It would almost seem as thought the best way to avoid missing important last times is simply to keep alert, to see everything as if for the first time. It’s also a great defense against bicyclists on the sidewalk. 

An interview sampler

Ian Rankin

Michael Hollingsworth

Scottish author of the popular Inspector Rhebus novels, master of serendipity, and excellent drinking partner.

Canadian playwright, lover of “coffee, cigarettes and work,” and overall theatre animal. Also harbours suspicions about true nature of Canadians.

Excerpt: “One book was translated into Welsh, and the translator phoned me up and said, ‘We’re having a bit of trouble with the Scottish names; we’d like to use Welsh names. And I said, ‘Where’s the book going to be set?’ and he said, ‘It’ll still be in Edinburgh, but every single character in the book will have a Welsh name.’” I think it’s their way of taking over the world.”

Interesting Fact: When Rankin went to his neighbourhood police station to research his first book about young children being abducted, he was surprised at how much time they were willing to spend with him in the interrogation room. “This is great,” he thought, although seeing six detectives behind him at one point did give him pause. It turns out, of course, that the police were investigating the abduction of a young girl from a Fun Fair and thought Rankin had come to confess. “That taught me a valuable lesson,” he said. “Do no research." 

Excerpt: “It’s true that [Canadians are] polite, but perhaps it doesn’t come from an inherent tendency towards politeness, as we’re always telling ourselves it does. “Have you ever felt that if we weren’t polite to each other we would be forever getting busted in the chops?”

Interesting Fact: Hollingsworth had the distinction of seeing one of his early plays shut down by Toronto’s Morality Squad. His second play, Clear Light, was inspired by LSD and explored both the exciting and the dark side of the drug. When two couples and an ex-husband get together for an evening of acid and cards, they find themselves spiraling into increasingly violent and sexual behaviour. By the end of the play, they have roasted and eaten a baby, or possibly a turkey.  Resume Magazine - 7

am— always sees these things. But she’s never seen anything about the numbers. So I’ll tell her that now. She’ll be amazed that she hasn’t spotted it. I shall tell everybody about it and pretend I thought of it all by myself. CS: I’ll back you up on it. MB: You can blackmail me later. CS: I’ll be sure to keep the tape. Well, with that topic now deflated let’s move on to the next question, which concerns the figure of Mrs. Connor, a strange and ambiguous fortune teller. Where does this character come from?

Lessons on numbers, atheism, and the meaning of life on French radio in...

Counting in the foxhole with Maeve by Christopher Simpson

This interview for Celtic Curmudgeon followed the publication of her book, Tara Road. (”CS” stands for “Christopher Simpson,” and “MB” stands for “Maeve Binchy.”) Reprinted from Celtic Curmudgeon: Arts & Entertainment Review, Volume 2, Issue 1.

CS: The first thing I’d like to ask is, “What are you doing with the numbers?” The heroine’s dream home is house number 16. Her duplicitous friend lives at number 32, or 2 X 16. Her mother, who is the eldest of three generations, lives at number 48, or 3 X 16. And when Ria finds her enlightenment she is living at a street number 1024, or 64 X 16. So the question again is, “What are you doing with the numbers?” MB: I do not believe you! I never wrote any of this! I never thought 8 - Resume Magazine

of it at all. I drew a picture of the road in my mind. I thought I wanted Ria living about a third of the way down, and I just threw Colm at one end with his restaurant, and Gertie with her launderette at the other. And I put the old people’s home in there. I just did it all at random, so if you see anything significant, then we had all better hold on to something fast. CS: That’s really not the answer I was expecting. I just assumed you meant it. MB: I never thought about it at all. I write so quickly. I write like I talk. Once somebody said to me, “You don’t write better when you write slowly,” and that was like a green light to me. If I write quickly I’ll be finished. It’ll be done and I can go on to the next bit. I don’t go back over it, and my agent—she’s a bossy woman, she’s even bossier than I

MB: Well, I’ll tell you where I got the idea of Mrs. Connor. I have a friend in Ireland, a very successful hairdresser, and she told me that many of her clients, who can afford chin-tucks and such, also go to this fortune teller. And she says, “You have no idea Maeve how much they pay her. They pay her fifty to a hundred pounds, and they go out to her house, and she’s got no signs of wealth.” And I asked her, “Have you ever gone?” “No, I’ve never gone,” she says, “I’d be afraid to go.” All of these women run their lives by her. It’s like the church was when we were young. CS: But none of this reflects your own beliefs, does it? MB: Oh, heaven’s no. I believe entirely that we are responsible for our own lives. I don’t believe in God anymore. I don’t believe in Heaven or an afterlife. I believe we are here for a short time and that while we’re here we have control over our lives. I was on a French television program once called Apostrophe. The guy was terribly, terribly, uh, what I would think of as pretentious, but it was a huge honour to be on his program, and I speak very bad French—I speak French exactly the way I speak English: with an Irish accent and very quickly. So, on this program he asked me what was my philosophy of life. And I had never been asked my philosophy of life—ever. Here I was with maybe eight million viewers and I’ve got no philosophy of life. I knew I had to answer and the thing going through my head was, “I don’t know anybody in France so it doesn’t matter if I make a fool of myself.” But what was I going to say? And then I thought, “Well,

say what’s true, don’t you think?” So I said that my philosophy of life is that we are dealt a hand and we have to play it. I cannot think of anything more banal to say, but whatever you’re dealt you play. In my case, I was dealt the good family, the happy family, a secure background, enough brains to scrape past my exams, enough money to pay for an education at a time when you had to pay for education, and a cheery personality because I was brought up in a happy home. That’s the good side I was dealt. On the bad side I was fat, and that’s bad to be a girl and be fat because that is unacceptable. We were always on the edge of having enough money to get ahead, which sometimes is worse that being poor. And then as I got older I got arthritis, very bad arthritis. So I was lame and fat, and I was a school teacher which is not considered in Ireland a hugely good job, and I didn’t have a fella, and all these things were bad. That was the bad hand, those were the poor cards that were dealt. What I got out of it all—and I’m not patting myself on the back, I’ve made lots of mistakes along the way—is that I’ve played that hand for the best that I can do with it. And that’s my philosophy in life. And I wouldn’t take any help from God. Even when I had a very serious operation and was told that I could die, and a nice Chaplain came in to me. “I’m just coming in as a matter of course now,” he says, “and maybe you don’t want anything to do with me.” “No, I don’t,” I said, “it wouldn’t be fair, just because I’m going in for an operation. I can’t ask for something from some person I haven’t dealt with in over thirty years.” CS: You are that rare breed, the atheist in

the fox hole. MB: That’s it. And I’m also the un-guilty one. When I decided to be the “atheist in the fox hole,” I decided, “That’s it; I’m not going to call on Him—or Her or It—in times of trouble.” And that’s for fortune tellers, or for psychics, or any of the others. I have such good friends who believe in a lot of things I don’t believe in at all…who believe in the healing powers of crystals…who believe in lots of things, and they do believe in them. When I was very, very lame my friends were concerned about me. I was hardly able to walk and was bent double, and they would tell me about Seventh Sons and various healers and things with faith because these people had actually cured people. But I said, “There’s no point in going to them because I would be going with a hypocritical heart, because I believe that you always have to try to do it for yourself. In my books there are no “make overs.” In novels of the same type and going to this same audience, there are “make overs”: the fat person becomes thin, the single person becomes married and the poor person becomes rich. Well, I’ve seen enough thin, rich and married people who are dead unhappy, and that’s not the way to get your redemption in life. I felt I became a better novelist, and a better person, when I stopped believing that there was somebody up there who was going to look after it all. Because now I have to do something. If I see somebody lying on the street because they’re homeless—I’m not going to take him home, I’m not Mother Theresa—I have to do something to help. Whereas, in the old days, we were more inclined

to think of the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the poor for they shall see God.” In Tara Road nobody gets a Makeover, nobody gets life easy. And it’s the only thing I hate, when people say my books are “cozy,” because they’re not. And also in my book there is a lot of my own philosophy about secrets. I don’t feel you have to tell everybody else your secrets. I allow people I know to live in ignorance, and I’m sure I’m living in ignorance about things myself. I don’t believe Gertie has to be told that her husband was a shit. I think she should be allowed to think, “Okay, he’s dead and he was a wonderful person,” if she wants. If she wants to remember it as a beautiful marriage, give her that. CS: What about your next book? MB: I already know what it’s going to be about. It will be about a couple, a young man and woman. These two are brought together by an impassioned urge for cookery. There will be twelve chapters and it will be a different story each month. CS: How hard is it now for you to make a book deal? MB: Well, I told them all of that—about the book—on one page and handed it to them, and now twenty publishers in different countries have answered back, “Go ahead and do it.” So that’s all I need to do now. I’ll start that book in September of next year and maybe be done by March. It takes me about six months to write a book. CS: So you write yearly? MB: I write one book every two years. CS: As a brand new Maeve Binchy fan, I am looking forward to it. 

Post-interview notes The book Maeve Binchy mentioned at the end of this interview was published as Evening Class and went on to become the latest of her novels to hit the number one best seller lists. Meanwhile, Tara Road was chosen by Oprah as her September, 1999 Book Club Selection. Along with Maeve’s appearance on the show, the episode also included film

footage of her at home in Ireland In a later conversation, Maeve told me about the repeated filming they’d done of her walking down the road by her house. “They had me walk back and forth a dozen times—and I never walk that road. I don’t walk anywhere if I can help it.”  Resume Magazine - 9

V8 Juice & Canadian Unity During the 1994 National Unity debate, Lucien Bouchard made headlines when he predicted Quebec’s separation would lead to the swift fall of English Canada to American invasion. And then these odd, French-only V8 posters mysteriously began to appear in downtown Toronto.

a nicely photographed ad for Toronto’s only lesbian strip club. With such a tradition of liberality it’s no wonder that this area has been chosen for the latest “My Canada Includes More Than Your Canada” campaign.

Reprinted from the June 14, 1994 issue of The Outrider

It’s this kind of unambiguous sloganeering that has served so well in forcing carefully planned political action in the past.

Anglophone Canadians trembled recently when Lucien Bouchard revealed a secret American plan to annex Western Canada in the wake of Quebec separation. And while the Bloc Quebecois Leader later denied making such statements (by arguing “I would be crazy. Am I crazy? Am I crazy? Do I look crazy?”), his skilled rhetoric came too late to quell Anglo anxieties. I make this observation after having seen not one, but three French-only V8 advertisements in the Wellesley/Yonge/ Church streets area: an obvious bid to placate French-speaking vegetable juice drinkers. The area chosen for this campaign is a common site for bold and experimental advertising. The wall painting of Cat Woman at Yonge and Wellesley attracted significant attention, and TTC ridership increased greatly at Church and Wellesley when the transit shelter there posted 10 - Resume Magazine

At the top of the ad is the word “Sante!” which is probably French for “Sanity.” What clearer message could we send to Quebec as a plea for Canadian unity? Protesters will storm Ottawa chanting: “My Canada includes Sanity!” and “V8 prevents gout!”

The posters, which hang outside a couple of convenience stores, show two people, each drinking a V8. Underneath is the phrase “V8 est a notre gout,” which I believe means “V8 prevents gout”— although I am unable to confirm this as my translator isn’t talking to me until she determines whether or not Bouchard is, in fact, crazy. Nevertheless, such a translation makes sense as a ploy to hold onto Quebec. Rich French cooking has been known to cause gout; V8 prevents gout. Subtextually, what the ads are saying is that no matter what Quebec wishes to dish up, we’ll eat it.

Nor should we, as do some, take lightly the threat of separation. While many commentators have pointed out various problems that could arise should Quebec choose independence, M. Bouchard has, in fact, openly stated what the rest of us have hardly dared even think: that with Quebec gone there would be nothing to prevent an American invasion. Surely even the most politically naive have known that the only reason Canada has not already been taken over by the States is because of the their natural reluctance to saddle themselves with the problem of Quebec nationalists. And so with many thanks we salute V8’s selfless effort to do its part in keeping Canada together. I’d like to end with one of those rousing French slogans, but I just called my translator and she still hasn’t determined Bouchard’s mental stability. Some mysteries may never be solved. 

Editor’s Sidebar Comics

Editor’s Sidebar was the name of my resource site for Ontario journalists. Eventually I had to give it up through pressures of work, along with the fact that improvements in Google made much of the information redundant. Recently I have relaunched the site as a blog, this time with more of a focus on editors alone, rather than journalists as a whole. It contains a growing body of articles on issues we frequently face when dealing with the vagaries of journalism. One of the regular features is the Editor’s Sidebar comic strip through which, with the help of the amazing Bitstrips program, I chronicle the trials and tribulations of Jorge, an editor in a medium-range newspaper, and his publisher, Jim. Here are a few of the introductory strips. Enjoy.

Resume Magazine - 11

12 - Resume Magazine

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