Thursday, September 26, 2013

Terminated Again

The first time I was fired was in 1983 and it really hurt. I felt betrayed by the people whom I had brought into Presentation House. Of course it was worse because the firing was illegal and that led to the equally painful process of filing a complaint to "win" compensation. My board fired me me for fiscal imprudence but the minutes of the society proved my innocence and the culpability of the board.

The next time I was fired was in 2004 when I was fired from Emily Carr University (where I now teach). That time, I was fired "without cause" and got a nice separation package because they were restructuring my department.

I "invented" the Opus Framing & Art Supplies Newsletter. I chose its large format and the basic principles of its contents: an art news section, a provocative editorial. And I fought to limit the advertising. I started the newsletter for Opus because my insightful boss at the time, knew to take the business into direct mail advertising. It was launched in the summer of 1986 and I have written the editorial ever since.

In March of next year, edition #300 will come out and it will be my last after 27 years. My boss wants us to have lunch and plan what the last editorial will say. I chose and wrote the other 299 editions myself so I am not keen to meet. I know what he wants. He wants some kind of "It's been great; goodbye and good luck" kind of thing. I don't want to do that.

I want my last column to be no different from any other with, perhaps, a sentence or two at the end saying: "It's been great; goodbye and good luck." I will find a compromise.

When my first play was produced this past April and I had my first professional stage appearance (in the central role), I was shocked to discover how profoundly reluctant I was to take my curtain call.

I spent my whole life dreaming of being an actor and I always thought the curtain call would be like seeing God. I thought it would be a spectacular experience to be out there soaking in one's glory, but no. I wanted nothing to do with the curtain call when the real experience called for it.

And in the same way I do not want to provoke any "thank you" or "goodbye" emails by writing a column that draws attention to me. I like people to think about my words not the writer just as I wanted my audiences to be left with the  performance and not end with "me" out there as myself for the curtain call. This is what being an introvert is.

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