Sunday, March 19, 2006

Does this mean I'm part-Irish?

I don't know what you'd call this. Chance? Serendipity? Completely undeserved? All I know is it's been hell of a weekend. It began when NorIda came back from getting her hair cut and the maverick stylist gave her a kick-ass look. (Bands apparently go to him when they pass through Montreal.) Anyway, he's interested in meeting me to be a hair model. Experimental avant-garde stuff. He says it's hard to find people willing to part with their hair because, well, women tend not to want to go further than a free trim. So ... where do I sign up?

That evening, I placed an informal ad up on a website to find people from the Montreal parkour community willing to speak to me about the discipline. I received replies within hours and set up a meeting with two young traceurs after corresponding with one of them for a day. On the way to see him today, I was given the third-degree by an in-the-name-of-Saint-Cirrhosis asshole. A middle-aged woman also moved from where she was standing on the metro platform to avoid these obnoxious punks. She leaned against the wall beside me and commented on their behaviour, jokingly. I joked back. We developed an immediate rapport. She asked me whether St. Patty's drunks were interfering with my studying this weekend. I told her I was actually headed for an interview with some parkour kids. I'm a freelancer, you see. A journalism student. "Oh really, because I work for the [Montreal] Gazette."

You must be kidding me.

The woman turned out to be Pat Donnelly, the paper's literary critic. Before getting off the train, she told me my story has never been covered by the Gazette before and she's sure to recommend me to two of her section editors. (One being the Arts & Life guy I emailed last week about my trend story on the children of Bobos; still no reply.) She suggested specific columns I should refer to before writing to him. That way, I can imitate the style they're looking for and improve my chances of getting published: editors like it when you have a clear idea as to where you want your article to appear in. It was an insider tip from a definite insider.

I thought my heart was going to leap out of my chest once the doors closed. I couldn't contain my excitement: I was giggling spontaneously at my seat and getting weird looks from strangers like I had a tube of laughing gas shoved up my ass, but I DIDN'T CARE!

When I met with my 15-year-old contacts, I was in such a good mood that they immediately loosened up around me. Nice boys. Polite. From the West Island. Honour students. It was a fun interview. (They even did a little demonstration for me out on the street.) One of them let slip that the dude in charge of free-running in Montreal was getting ready to showcase his skills in Europe beginning of April. I have to get to him before he leaves, I thought. I must reach him before the usual suspects do.

When I returned home, I went googling for the organizer's real name. He was the site adminstrator for PK514.com which featured a generic media inquiries link. I remembered NorIda telling me how she still hadn't received a reply from him after sending a request a few days prior. [*Disclosure: I had given her my idea so she'd have something for her broadcasting class.] Well, counterintuitively, I sent a message there anyway, but I also, with a bit of research, dug up the guy's real name (from an obscure Toronto magazine article that accredited him with one quote) and then his personal email address from a cached profile off the old site.

I exaggerated a little about working for the Gazette to better my chances of being granted an interview, but I don't feel guilty for lying to him because technically, I am (they just don't know it yet - as in, at the time of this entry). Besides, aligning myself with a substantial newspaper gives me more credibility (which is ironic, I know. But who hasn't lied about their job?).

After calling my parents to share the good news, I got chewing gum on my jeans. The world re-balanced itself right then and there which got me thinking: Does this mean I am free of additional karmic backlash? Oh, one can only hope ...

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