Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pourquoi, Montréal?


You may have noticed, if you follow this thing, that I've been pretty inactive with the posts this summer.  I suspect it's because I've been so preoccupied with finding a job.  It's consumed me, and made it difficult to focus on other pursuits I find worthwhile--notably reading and writing.  But I'm sick of scouring Craigslist ads for unpaid internships and writing cover letters to irresponsive employers.  The Internet has made a fool of time and opportunity.  It also allows me to blog.  So here I am. 

This summer, I was working as a (paid!) intern at a New Jersey news and information website called NJ Spotlight.  It was my first legitimate foray into reporting.  I was going down to the New Jersey Statehouse on a semi-regular basis, attending Governor Chris Christie's press conferences, driving out to school board meetings in Newark, writing news articles, interviewing regular New Jerseyans and higher-up politicians about their views on the state's fiscal and political future.  I enjoyed it because, finally, the state of New Jersey is intriguing on a national level, what with Christie's controversial stature.  (As my boss said, even though Christie may be messing things up, "It's good for business."  As in, journalism.)

So the posts I've written on this blog since June I wrote in New Jersey, my home state.  Now I'm back in Montreal, my surrogate home, for a few weeks.  When I started this blog a little over a year ago, I chose to call it Cold Jazz for two reasons.  One, it was a play on "cool" and "hot" jazz.  Two--and this is the primary reason--Montreal gets very cold--and so snowy--and I would be writing in Montreal, about jazz.  It was that simple.

It doesn't look like I'll be staying in Montreal permanently, though.   For an aspiring, Anglophone (as they say here) writer, it's extremely hard to find a steady job in writing unless you are very well established.  The province of Québec teeters on a linguistic seesaw, and although Montreal is a bastion of both English and French speakers, the English language, to me, always feels like an imposition here.  (Read Mordecai Richler's "Oh Canada! Oh Quebec! Requiem for a Divided Country" if you want to know more about this complex tension.)

You never know, I could come back.  I do love this city.  I had a good four years here.  But I think I've got to move on for now.  I'm keeping the title Cold Jazz the same as a vestigial reminder of why I started this blog.  I'll have to change the About Me section, or parts of it, though I'll keep it the way it is for the time being.  And I hope you'll continue to follow me as I slowly figure out my life. 

In the meantime, I'll be in Montreal probably until the end of August or early September, and I hope to write a few more entries before I go. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Music as Medicine

I've been feeling a little off lately, for reasons I won't get into.  Below is a list of some of the songs I  listen to when I don't feel quite right.  They're also songs I would listen to anytime, and do.  Most of them make me feel wistfully, yet hopefully, romantic.  The feeling doesn't last long, and it's not a cure, but I'm often surprised that I can get it. A lot of these songs I've returned to again and again through the years. 


    I'm sure you could all make your own lists--and you're welcome to include some of your favorite songs in the comments section.