It’s Thursday and I’m downtown on the St. George campus. I peer down at my lap at a page of printed out questions haphazardly stapled into my notebook. Blue ink spatters the paper with notes that are half-indiscernible even to me. 2:57 PM.
I read over the questions, absentmindedly making more notes in blue as I wait. 2:59 PM.
Suddenly, a flood of students pours out of Convocation Hall. The enthusiastic chatter amplifies as more students file out, the small awning I called a haven moments ago becomes crowded, and I’m stuck between two large backpacks that won’t move. I’m instantly overwhelmed and anxious to find the person I need to interview in a sea of people.
My phone buzzes.
“Hey! I am outside con hall in sunglasses and a hat,” it reads.
I look up and whirl around the entrance of the building. Bzzz.
“And I have my arms over my head…”
Nonplussed, I try again and spot him immediately. Yep, that worked.
I had been wanting to get involved with the newspaper, The Medium, since the first week. I had seen their office upstairs in the Student Centre before, but…it all looked so intimidating, with its glass walls and that picture of Kanye. Most of the time, their lights were off too so I was unsure of how to go about it.
But then, during the second week, I got talking to another student who wrote for the sports section of the paper. Apparently, you just shoot them an email and they would add you to some mailing list. Hmm, simple enough.
Then I went onto The Medium’s website and sure enough, that really was all you had to do. I sent them an email expressing my interest and was subsequently added to the arts mailing list. Every Sunday they would email everyone on the list with possible article assignments, while also encouraging original pitches.
So that’s how I ended up at St. George on a bright but muggy afternoon, nervously striding towards an amiable person wearing a Neil Gaiman shirt.
Pleasantly, my nerves were unfounded. After signing on to do the interview, the arts editor provided me with crucial information and invaluable advice on how to conduct an interview, how to approach questions with an angle, and how to transcribe afterwards.
I felt completely at ease due to the support I received from my editor and with my interview subject who, after the interview, talked to me about his first couple of years at U of T, gave me some graphic novel recommendations, and mourned about David Bowie’s passing with me (RIP).
As far as first experiences go, I’m relieved that my first assignment for The Medium went so smoothly. It’s a rewarding feeling to be doing what you enjoy for people who are wholly supportive.
The author Haruki Murakami has described Sundays a couple of times that, in their jarring accuracy, have resonated with me to this day. In 1Q84, he describes it as thus: “Time flows in strange ways on Sundays, and sights become mysteriously distorted.” In Norwegian Wood, he says of it: “On Sundays I didn’t wind my spring.”
I have felt these things about this particular day of the week my whole life. But now, article assignments find their way to my inbox every Sunday evening.
On Sundays, these days, I wind my spring.