Monday, July 9, 2012

Meet Up Montreal and Poppa was a Rolling Stone

I've taken the plunge. I started a group on Meet Up Montreal (well, Vaudreuil-Dorion) So far, I am the only member.

It's got a great name, if I say so myself. Poppa was a Rolling Stone. It's for people who want to explore genealogy through writing, or filmmaking, or poetry, whatever.  My point: Poppa doesn't have to be a rock star to be worthy of a story or two. Worthy of immortality. In fact, if he was a free-spirit, tramping the countryside, it would make a better story.

My sister in law told me about Meet UP. Her daughter, who had recently left her religion, needed to meet new people so signed up and she has a film group in her medium sized Ontario city.

Anyway, after spending 7 years on my projects, I've run out of ancestors and ideas. But I've learned  a lot in the process.

It's probably a very slow time for this type of thing, but it will take time.

My problem, I live out in the boonies. It's always been a problem with respect to jobs. The commute to Montreal used to take  2 hours or more (in the 80's and 90's)  and there was only ONE train that got into Montreal at 8:15, which left you just enough time to scuttle over to a downtown workplace. The only train out was at 5: 18. If you missed it, tough! (Tough on you and tough on your infant's caregiver.) So that meant you had to leave work a little before 5, which didn't sit well with bosses, in those days before 24/7 work connection via Internet.

To top if off, my husband worked irregular shiftwork hours at a TV station. Day, night, mornings, 7 days on, 2 days off, 10 days on, 5 days off, all kinds of awful hours and his schedule posted a week before and subject to change.  Not an arrangement that was good for raising a family.

It bugged me so much, I wrote an essay about it for Chatelaine. The Blair Shift Project. The editor made me tone down my anger :) I made 1,000 bucks. Writing for Today's Parent was also very lucrative. As  was working as a translator for French Pr or Advertising (although I suspect I wasn't that qualified.) The problem there was I got my assignments only at the last minute, usually late Friday.

Most writing wasn't high paying and with the Internet, well, writing and writers are now a dime a dozen.

(I only had one article 'killed' in my life and that was about the effect of shift work on families for a major magazine. You see, the experts I consulted said shift work was TERRIBLE for young families, something I already knew from experience, but, ahem, one of the major advertisers of said publication had just moved its factories over to shift work.  I had read, anyway.)

Working freelance from home was cheaper in the long run, even if my income was minuscule, as there were no transportation costs, clothing costs, lunch costs, or hair costs, but it was not a good career move.

Later on I joined a number of non-profits to keep myself sane with grown up conversation. (I gave it away for free, so to speak.)  But the meetings were often after work hours and driving into town during rush hour, especially on a Friday, was a bitch.  I often left at 4 for a 7 o'clock meeting in the West End of Montreal, my end.

And later on I joined a lovely monthly book club  (eating club!) with some nice friends, but again driving into town on Fridays was problematic. And when it came my turn to host the event, few people showed up. They didn't like the long drive.

And today it's only gotten worse. My area has grown in leaps and bounds over the past two decades and the traffic has doubled, tripled, whatever as has the drive time into town. In the mid 80's I used to fly into town on a whim to have a coffee with my best friend, who later moved away to find work in Ontario. No more flying into Montreal. It's easier to fly into Ottawa.

Anyway, here is a bit from a CBC news report (circa 1985) about Laurentian Spring Water, the company that figures in my eplay Milk and Water.  In my play which takes place in 1927, I joke that the name Laurentian Spring is a misnomer, as the water comes from an aquifer under Craig street. By the 80's, they were claiming that the water does come from the Laurentians, originally, and that it is 6,000 years old. (Doesn't make sense actually.) Marketese.

This belongs to the CBC of course. :)