In the Globe and Mail this morning is a thoughtful column by Neil Reynolds, the second in a series about an economics book by Dan Usher. Reynolds is one of several excellent Globe columnists, world class, in my opinion. He, Rex Murphy, Margaret Wente, and Christie Blatchford all have the ability to look at the world with fresh eyes and let me see various sides of any discussion. My idea of a good columnist is that he/she surprises me. When I read many columnists and letter to the editor writers, I know what they are going to say on any side of an argument.
Neil Reynolds was the editor of several newspapers. When he was the editor of the Kingston Whig-Standard, he made it into a newspaper with an excellent reputation, especially for its coverage of the arts. Later he became editor of the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, turning it into an exciting paper. He hired several investigative reporters who uncovered all sorts of skullduggery. He created a Saturday magazine, The New Brunswick Reader. Near its beginning, he asked me to write for it, and for two and a half years I wrote weekly articles on craftspeople and artists. I even had the heady job of selecting the photo for the front cover.
My education in the arts began when my friend Joe Sherman became editor of ArtsAtlantic in 1979. Because he couldn’t find anyone from NB to write about the arts, he enlisted me. I had not been educated in arts and crafts, although my father was both, so I was reluctant to write. To compensate for my ignorance, I spent an immense amount of time educating myself on the particular art or craft I was to write about. It was my first foray into becoming an autodidact, quite exciting. Later I was asked to write an introduction for a book on NB crafts. Reynolds, a lover of crafts, read it and asked me to write for the Reader. I had always wanted to have a weekly column, and although it was immensely time-consuming, I enjoyed the job. Bill and I traveled all over New Brunswick interviewing artists and craftspeople. The ArtsAtlantic and Reader experience has been an important part of my journey from birth to where I am now. I should write more about it. When my father got sick and we were spending a lot of time visiting him, meeting the Reader deadline became too hair-raising, and when Joe left ArtsAtlantic, there was no one to badger me out of my inherent laziness.