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.