Thursday, July 20, 2017

All's Well That Ends Well/Time to Say Goodbye

by Giselle Renarde

There's a radio program I've been listening to for the past ten years. It's on from 10pm until midnight. The host has the perfect voice for that time of night. She shares the perfect anecdotes for that drowsily contemplative space of hours. Better still, she plays the perfect music.  Over the years she's introduced me to music from Bjork, Tanya Tagaq, Owen Pallett, Anohni, and so many other artists whose talent I've grown to crave and adore.

Over the past month or so, there's one particular song that kept making its way onto the playlist. I noticed it sticking in my head. I heard myself singing it around the house, and I didn't mind because I liked it so much.  The song is by Blood and Glass, and it's called Punk Shadows. The first lines in this song are exactly what you see as the title of this post:

All's Well That Ends Well
Time to Say Goodbye

Two weeks ago I was at the cottage ("the cottage" = someone else's cottage), staying in a room without a radio. For me, for someone who would chose music over food, being without a radio at night is like... I don't even know what. Tragic.

The owners of this cottage are family friends, and these people are very choosy about who they invite. My mother had warned me not to use "too much internet" but there was one night when I couldn't help myself. I knew I had to tune in to my radio show. An imperative. Something was telling me I couldn't miss it.

I listened online, time-shifted, because it was already past midnight.

That night, the host announced she would be leaving the show. The show would be leaving the show. The radio program I'd been listening to for the past ten years would be no more.

How do I describe how I felt, hearing this news? Gutted. Yes, gutted. There's no other word for it. I found this out two weeks ago and I'm still in mourning.

I don't begrudge the host her choice. I'm not mad at her for leaving. It's not personal in that sense. I just feel a deep, deep sense of loss in knowing this show will be coming to an end.

Maybe part of the reason the news hit me so hard is this:

At the beginning of my relationship with my girlfriend, we chatted for hours every night via instant messenger. We still do, but nine years ago I didn't have a wireless modem. Every night, I chatted with her on the Mac in my bedroom with my radio right behind me. This radio show I'm telling you about--it was the soundtrack of those early chats. I associate the show with my relationship. The idea of the show ending automatically triggered panic: is it foreshadowing things to come? When I left for the cottage, Sweet and I weren't on the best of terms. Time apart helped a lot, but when I heard the news of my show ending, I didn't feel that I was on the firmest footing with my girlfriend.

The other thought that popped into my head was this:

I need to tell my readers I'm not going anywhere.

Loss is a part of life, sure, but like Cameron said the other day--I'm not catching a fad wave with my writing career. Some of you have known me a good long time. I've been doing this job for more than a decade. I plan to continue. Forever. Or at least until I die. You can count on me. There's not much in life you can count on, but stick by me. I have been there. I will be there.

The only real commitment I've ever made in my life is to my readers. I don't know if that's sad and pathetic, or if it just goes to show how highly I value the people who read my books. I treasure this writing career. When I think about dying, I don't wonder who will take care of my cats (that's a no-brainer: my brother will do it), I think, "Who will take care of my work?"

There's nothing I can do to prevent the inevitable end of my favourite radio program. That's going to happen whether I like it or not. But hopefully this post will set a few minds at ease. As Cameron mentioned, lots of authors bolt when the coffers are running on empty. I'm not one of those.

My coffers have always have been empty. I'm still here.

If you'd like to commune with me through music, I created a playlist to accompany my novel In Shadow. I hope you'll give it a listen. A lot of these songs came to my attention through the radio show whose praises I've been singing in this post.


  1. Okay, you gave me a moment of panic there, hon - I am so glad to hear you're not going anywhere. You're one of the sexiest Canadians I know, and I couldn't imagine not having new Giselle stories to look forward to.

    I do hope things get better between you and Sweet, though. I'll be thinking about you both.

    1. Thanks for the well-wishes. Time apart while I was on vacation with my family helped a lot. Our biggest relationship issue is ME. heh. I hate having relationship conversations even when I know they would help. I'm such a cowboy that way. I hate messy emotions.

  2. My heart skipped a beat there too, Giselle. Jeez. Don't scare us like that.

  3. I deeply respect your commitment to your readers and your craft, Giselle. Like the other Grip folk, I was a bit worried when I saw your title. Please keep doing what you do so very well!

  4. Giselle, you are so good at working music into your posts. I'm also relieved that you plan to stay around.

  5. I've been away with limited online access, but now you can add me to the temporarily terrified masses when I saw your heading.

    The question about who will take care of your work is a good one. I've seen urging in the science fiction community about specifically appointing a literary executor for your writing in your will, and even a prototype of such a will, but the way my work goes out of public notice so fast (if it ever reached it at all) makes me wonder whether it could ever matter. Still, I should do it, and most likely appoint my daughter-in-law, who's asked about it.

  6. This is a very Buddhist post in its way. Everything is transient. Everything passes away. Everything morphs into something else and attachment causes suffering. We long for a certain stability, and I've found that stability is an essential for creative work. Writers tend to live quiet stable lives of routine overall to put in those daily words. If only readers knew how much writers need them.

  7. Giselle, this post is beautiful and poignant. I sobbed when my favorite radio station went off the air, so I completely understand feeling gutted when you found out your show was ending. Like others, I'm glad you're here to stay. Me, too. Even when it's hard. I hope we know each other for a long time, and that things get better between you and Sweet. :)


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