Writing Process: Virtual Junk to Myself

My family had many Christmas traditions. Presents were not put under the tree until Christmas Eve. The living room door was kept closed until after we had a proper breakfast. Christmas cards were used as decorations around the house. And after receiving our gifts, we had to write thank-you notes to everyone. It was an onerous, yet vital task.

Thank-you notes are a thing of the past; now children just call aunts and grandparents, or worse, send texts and posts. A quick word with an emoji or two, and they can go back to their games and chats. The same goes for notes and letters. Indeed when was the last time you received a postcard?

Postcards from camp to my parents in 1973

It’s not as if I’m pining for the days of writing thank-you notes but that, as these artifacts go, so do our memories. The Young Chronicles series detailing my 1983 Cross-Canada hitchhiking trip would not exist if not for my hand-written notes.

Original notes for Young Chronicles

While these sophomoric scribblings are not vital to living my life, they are key to reminding me of where I’ve been.

I wrote a piece twenty years ago on the poor state of sports journalism. I interviewed many sports people including Allen Iverson, Mark Messier, Cito Gaston and the sports editor for The New York Times. It was a solid bit of writing which The Globe and Mail considered publishing but ultimately rejected as being too controversial because I named names – including Stephen Brunt and Gary Mason, godawful writers still working today. The story is gone, lost because it and all of the notes were on a floppy disk that vanished in the years of transition. And so I only have this picture from Gary’s Instagram.

I rarely write on paper anymore. I text myself my notes. I do this so much that my Gmail account has flagged me (the same Gmail account) as junk, junk unto itself. Yes, even my computer is sending the message for me to get back to paper, maybe even print out these posts so that I can reflect and share on whatever platform is to come.

What’s with this Anti-Canada stuff in Baseball?

Wow, what a great trade for the Toronto Blue Jays, right? I mean, right, eh? Eh?!? What's with this Anti-Canada stuff in Baseball?The Toronto Blue Jays have just acquired two bona fide starting pitchers – Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson – as well as All-star lead-off hitter Jose Reyes. What's with this Anti-Canada stuff in Baseball?Not to mention speedy infielder Emilio Bonifacio – remember how Dominicans flourish in Toronto – and former Blue Jay All-star catcher John Buck. And all of this for pitcher Henderson Alvarez, infielder Adeiny Hechavarria, catcher Jeff Mathis, three minor league prospects and the obnoxiously homophobic Yunel Escobar. What's with this Anti-Canada stuff in Baseball?This is a trade that promises genuine World Series contention, as these players enrich an already strong hitting lineup – Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie¬† – and potentially strong pitching staff – Brandon Morrow, Ricky Romero, J. A. Happ, and just one or two of Dustin McGowan, Shawn Marcum or Jesse Litsch. It seems that the glory days of 1992-93 might very well be on the horizon. And it could even work out for the Florida Marlins in the years to come. Who knows? Who cares? What's with this Anti-Canada stuff in Baseball?Oh. I see. It appears that this does matter in the US of A. Not only do we have American sports journalists weeping and screaming about what is fair, but we also have Commish Bud Selig doing his ‘official’ review thing. What’s this about? Does he want in on the pipeline? Was there a suitcase of coca in this deal? Or perhaps some fine Canadian dollars? What's with this Anti-Canada stuff in Baseball? What’s with all of this weird talk about making sure the deal is right? Where did this hate for Toronto the Good come from? Truth be told, this reminds me of the Jays-Braves World Series of 1992 when the National Guard accidentally (okay…sure) paraded the Canadian flag upside down. What's with this Anti-Canada stuff in Baseball? When did baseball become something other than a capitalistic deal? Is there truly some kind of wayward morality or ‘rightness’ that can be applied here? The concern, as I understand it, apparently revolves around a stadium that had 80% public financing from the city of Miami, and therefore granted those citizens some kind of rights. If that’s really the concern, maybe they could have cut back on expenses, like the aquarium behind home plate… What's with this Anti-Canada stuff in Baseball?Or perhaps the plastic marlins that pop around after each home run? What's with this Anti-Canada stuff in Baseball?That might have saved an American dollar or two. Otherwise why don’t we get back to reality and accept the fact that baseball is all about capitalism. America loves that, right? I mean, what about the Yankees! All of that money and all those…rings? What's with this Anti-Canada stuff in Baseball?Okay, the Blue Jays probably don’t want to buy crazily into this, but if good old Bud green-lights the deal, we’ll have to start to talking about a manager. There are a lot of options out there. Ozzie Guillen could be all right. What's with this Anti-Canada stuff in Baseball?Canadians are forgiving toward the bombastic and they don’t have such a problem with Castro. Or what about a Ernie Whitt/Buck Martinez tandem? Or John Olerud? What’s he up to these days? He could co-manage with George Bell. What's with this Anti-Canada stuff in Baseball?If all else fails, the one to really consider is Cito Gaston. What's with this Anti-Canada stuff in Baseball?If he could somehow be coaxed out of retirement again – maybe be allowed to smoke in the clubhouse or hang out on a La-Z-Boy at the clubhouse stairs – that would be it: the ground out to first base, the ball in the glove and the dancing in the streets! And if he won’t do it, what about that guy, Phil Jackson? I mean, he likes money, right? Why the hell not?