A few well-placed scratches

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By Chandler Walter, Editor-in-Chief

Writing is a strange thing.

And please, just hear me out before you dismiss this as just another Lettitor written about writing, as terribly meta as that may be. I mean, yes, this is just another Lettitor written about writing, but what kind of an Other Press Editor-in-Chief would I be if I didn’t try my hand at it at some point?

So… writing. I’ve always been enamored by the idea of being a writer. I’ve always romanticized the act of creating something out of nothing but scratches on paper (or keys smashed onto a screen, nowadays) with the writer’s own mind supplying the flow.

Writing comes in, quite literally, all shapes and sized. Whether it’s a 14 book, million-word epic—here’s looking at you, Wheel of Time—a 500-word article posted in a student paper, or a poem of only a few small-but-all-the-more-significant words, it still all comes down to that one constant: Someone pulled from these 26 letters and created this thing basically out of nowhere.

As a kid I always had my nose in a book. Going on a long road trip to a hockey game? I’d catch up with Harry and the Hogwarts gang. Can’t fall asleep? Check in on Frodo and his fancy ring. Even now, I keep a copy of Game of Thrones in my jacket pocket because my phone doesn’t get service during my 15-minute commute downtown on the Canada Line—and god help us all if I have to go 15 minutes without some form of distraction.

I never seriously considered writing as a potential career path. Becoming a successful novelist seemed as rare as winning the lottery. I doubted I had experienced enough to ever make it as a poet. I really like eating, and the idea of becoming a starving artist for my craft never really vibed with my constant appetite.

It was in this paper that I realized I actually could do it, and only suffer a few of the usual ailments. Journalism is one of the newer forms of writing (I’ve disqualified tweets, if only for this one time), yet even nowadays it seems old. Papers are struggling, the industry is changing, and even our little paper here at Douglas College can feel the shift.

But it’s still worth doing. Between the stress, the constant pressure to be on top of everything that’s going on, the angry Facebook comments, and the harassment that comes along with being considered “The Media,” It’s all worthwhile simply because of what it is at its core: Taking these 26 little letters and turning it into something that can inform, and educate, and—if you’re really good, and a little lucky—make a difference.

So I found a way to become a writer, and here I am, writing. I still keep the first cheque I ever made from this paper framed and on my desk (as completely cliché as that may be) because that’s the first $50 I ever made by making scratches on paper, and it reminds me of just how insanely awesome I found that to be in the first place.

I still do find it insanely awesome, of course, but sometimes—especially when it begins to feel like excruciatingly painful work—it’s a nice reminder to have.