I’ve only known my friend David on a personal level for a few years. But I’ve known of him, known his name and have been familiar with his work for much, much longer than that.
For many years, David was a writer and editor at the city’s main paper. As someone who is a local news junkie (print, on radio and tv, and now online—I can’t get enough local content),
I like to know what’s happening in my immediate world, and back when they were worthwhile, I couldn't fathom starting my day without the papers.
And I’m afraid we’ve been watching the slow demise of traditional media for some time, to the point where the only way to keep up with what’s going in on our own communities, towns and cities is to find the info on line. And I do believe, in doing that, we’re missing a lot, which is another good reason to get out onto the street and take a look around.
Interesting, but this decline is responsible for introducing me to David. Four—almost five—years ago, he left the paper and came to work with a ragtag team of former journalists, writers, marketers, and other communicators (me included)….and he and I have been friends ever since.
I’ve always been a sort of self-taught seat-of-my pants kind of writer. I do best when the deadline is nigh and the work needs to get done (if fact, I’m writing this five minutes before you see it. Kidding. Maybe.) David, on the other hand, had always struck me as a deliberate sort of writer.
And he may not know this, but I was totally intimidated by his writing and editing skills—at first, I felt like an amateur when I shared my work with him. That said, he is the kindest and gentlest critic (and that’s not a bad word in this context) and I’ve come to be comfortable with sending him my writing.
He’s also an excellent headline writer and I’m sure he would have come up with a better title for this entry than I have.
So that’s how I found myself, on a recent Tuesday night, on the patio of a great little Italian place called Buon Giorno, with a writer’s writer.
This restaurant has been in the same place, directly across from Tomkins Park, for as long as I can remember. I’ve been there to eat a handful of times, and can’t say that I’ve ever had a bad meal or less than an excellent dining experience.
It’s one of the places with seasoned wait staff, tried and true menu items and specials, red and white checked tablecloths and a great little patio out front where diners can sit and watch the world go by—at least the part that’s hanging out on 17th Avenue.
We met on a late afternoon, on yet another sweltering Calgary day—one where the smoke from the forest fires west of us took a little break from dropping down onto the city. So we snagged a table out front.
Over glasses of wine—red for both—and plates of pasta (well, I had pasta; David had the special, which was pasta and some kind of fish I don’t remember now—well, I didn’t eat it, so how would I know?), we talked about what makes a good story, the nature of “creative non-fiction” (which is what I think I pretty much do for a living…and what this blog is as well), writing fiction (we both have our ideas)…and life outside of writing and our work.
Funny, I wonder how many of us go to work every day, and essentially do the thing we really want to do, but maybe not exactly the way we want to do it? There's some satisfaction in that, but there's also something missing--a hunger for what we really aspire to...or perhaps know in our hearts we are meant to do....
After our meal, we wandered up the street for an ice cream (yep, Marcus strikes again) before saying our goodbyes.
Throughout the evening, the conversation was comfortable and the time we spent together probably equaled the sum of the times we were ever actually able to connect and learn a little more about each other. I felt good and it wasn't just the wine, the pasta and the ice cream.
This quest is most definitely about more than a meal.