20 October 2007

Who ya gonna listen to? Me or your friends?

Adios, Bill Rowe.

After what seems like an eternity, Rowe won't be writing his weekly column in the Telegram any more.

Have a nice trip, Bill.

At least you can still serve as a divining rod for the backsides of the politically powerful every afternoon for a couple of hours.

There's lots of whinging from Rowe about how tough writing a column can be. Having to find something to say once a week takes such a huge amount of time apparently. One must keep abreast of current affairs, read newspapers and magazines, discuss issues with people, carefully weigh options for topics and then finally, put fingers to keyboard for the chore of banging out the words.

All tough stuff apparently, for a fellow hosting a current affairs talk show, for a guy who has been active in political life since he was accepted into the cabinet of the fellow who became a key character in Rowe's first book almost 40 years ago.

If Rowe wasn't serious - and so self-important in the process - one would take his references to writing his two novels as something of a joke. Writing a column in the Telegram apparently set back the completion of his second book by two years. Rowe's literary agent warned him at the time that writing a column "drain your creativity and dull your cutting edge."

Writing Victor Galanti was affected by a column?

Adversely affected too.


Writers will appreciate that expression of astonishment.

Clearly, the woman had no experience with good columnists or creativity, despite being employed as a literary agent.

The Telegram, you see, has been home to some of the finest writers the province has ever produced. These were people who could string together a few simple words to express an idea others could only get across with enough words to expand the OED. They wrote columns and articles and books.

At the same time.

And won awards for their work.

That they wrote at the same time they wrote a column.

and a book or two.

You get the idea.

Think Horwood.

Think Ray Guy.

Think Wangersky, even.

Rowe is leaving the Telly pages, apparently to give us the benefit of a memoir of his time in Ottawa as the Premier's personal emissary to Hy's, the original man in a blue line cab. Six months time, in total, to be exact. He figures it will be a series of columns in some unnamed publication. Oddly, this is a subject Rowe ignored - for some totally inexplicable reason - as potential material for his Telly column. A serial account of his time among the untermenschen or as Rowe puts it in his farewell scribble, "powerful and largely uncaring Ottawa."

Now he'll be giving up the writing of a column so he can devote time to writing a column on a subject he could have already written a column or two on, all the while moaning about how hard it is to write a column and recalling how a friend of his who just happened to be the literary agent for his two novels said writing a column makes you dull, as in thick, as in stunned, as in uncreative.

Doesn't make sense, does it?

Damn Right.

Anyone who has been reading Rowe for any length of time will be far too familiar with that concept.