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  • Writer's pictureClarke Wallace


Updated: Oct 28, 2019

I have an antique cabinet behind me with two top drawers and large twin door space below. I’ve stored (shoved? Crammed?) audio and video tapes in it from what I’ve done in the past. Like CBC audio tapes when I’d go out with my trusty UHER recorder to interview interesting people about interesting things. Much of it for a producer, Bob Gibbons.

There’s a program still on CBC’s weekend mornings, FRESH AIR, hosted at the time by Bill McNeil and Cy Strange when I was starting out. I’d edit it right on the UHER and turn it in. Or show up at some ungodly hour and deliver my stuff on air, live.

The monetary rewards weren't much, but I’d left the comfort of a staff writer on a weekly magazine in Montreal with the determination to become an author. And screenwriter.

I kept everything. All my research. Books and scripts I’d written and rewritten God knows how many times each. I stored away black, soft-covered notebooks and stuff I can’t begin to mention. In those days, it doesn’t seem that long ago, I tossed pennies into the bottom section. This habit only stopped when Canadian pennies were put out to pasture. Our dogs come into the office, and sulk because they can’t find room to stretch out. Keep me company..

Folders upon folders were piled inside the cabinet and on the floor. Along with stuff you could only label as junk. But some junk I couldn’t throw away. Copies of books I’d published take up a section. Folders of correspondence. It truly got to where I couldn’t stuff anything more in it.

It was a day of reckoning, two days ago. Rosanne came home, saw what I was up to, and leaned heavily against the wall.

“What the &$^^(&^$@@&*) hell are you doing? Our shredder will break down in tears,” she added, “when it sees what you’re about to shove into it.”

She paused, a pause that told me what was coming. “And the shed is next? Step in there, and you’ll disappear forever. Unless I send the dogs (a mother German shepherd and her daughter) to rescue you.”

Author’s comment: I sit here at the desk, glancing at the cabinet, the floor, that looks like an explosion had happened. What is piled onto the desk is smothering the 7 X 4 foot pine table. I eased enough aside to write this Post. Why did I start ‘cleaning up’ the cabinet when I knew attacking it would be a disaster? Roe warned me to leave it alone, like I’ve done for how many years…? Woe is me.

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