The Perez Hilton of Newfoundland

Product of Newfoundland started in 2003 as pretty standard personal blog.  I wrote about my life and the things that I like.  I've always had an interest in local, contemporary culture and that was reflected in my writing choices. Eventually Newfoundland pop culture became the focus of my site and it became less of a blog and more of an ad-hoc magazine. Strangely, I was once called the Perez Hilton of Newfoundland (in print, even). It wasn’t a fair comparison as I didn’t trade in gossip and I’m, decidedly, anti-bullying, but I was churning out local pop culture info and commentary at an impressive speed.

Back in 2008, on the fifth anniversary of the site I wrote: 

So many bizarre and fantastic things have happened along the way.  I met many interesting people and had the chance to chat with artists and performers I admire. I've appeared on local and national media championing causes I believe in. I've been quoted and misquoted.  I became a de facto Rex Goudie message board, had an internet stalker and got hacked.  I once received a weird, weird communication from the Premier's Office. It's been a wild and fantastic ride.

As I sit here now, writing under the Product of Newfoundland banner again, part of me wishes I had never stopped because it WAS a 'wild and fantastic ride'. The rational part of myself -- the part not lost to nostalgia -- remembers exactly why I did stop, though. I experienced a lot of career evolution during my time running the site.  There were big changes in the responsibilities I held.  I was a grad student when I started, by the time I retired the site I was well into my career.  I didn't have the stamina to maintain a website that could easily have become a full time job. 

The online landscape changed too.  For a host of reasons, it became less fun.

It did bring me many unexpected opportunities.  Despite my erratic punctuation and colourful (?)
phrasing, magazines asked me to write for them and I did do some freelancing. I had pictures in books and calendars and used by various media outlets around the world.  It was exciting but I was always trying to juggle my day job and my 'hobby'.  I also tried not to have my coworkers become readers... not for any good reason, in retrospect. It didn't always work, anyway.  

I was once blindsided by a quotation in a cover story on The Telegram.  When 'day job people' wanted to know why The Telegram would care what I thought.  I told them the truth... without mentioning the name or address of my website.  I didn't want them to start reading it. For some reason, I didn't like the idea of the people in my day-to-day life having that window into my world, even if that window only overlooked my opinion of a pop song or, in the case of the Telegram article, a tv commercial.

So, why am I doing it again? Not entirely sure. Mostly because I enjoy the writing, I guess, but it's at least partly because I like taking my mind off ‘The World’ for a few minutes. When I write I can easily slip into a state of flow and only think about the writing.  It's a great break, and that break can be as light-hearted as I need it to be.  Lately, I've been working on a piece about the war between people who love dark Christmas cake and those who love light Christmas cake...  It's fun to spend a few minutes each day brainstorming that kind of frivolity and, I hope, for those who will stumble across it, a bit of fun to read too.

We all need a bit more light in our lives, I think. Except, maybe, where Christmas fruitcake is concerned. 


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