Yes, in addition to being an independent media professional, I am also a filmeesta aka video store sales clerk at Far Out Flicks.
And I love it. Because the people I work with are like family to me. Thankfully the store did not suffer very much, in fact we opened later that day, but the apartments above the stairwell next door did. In fact, my manager who lived in one of those apartments lost everything.
Hours before the ceremony I was at home having a nice quiet day. This year I was nominated for an Arts Award in the Event Volunteer category. This was my sixth nomination and third consecutive year having been nominated in other categories including Literary, and Community Supporter over the past 25 years.
I decided to check out the latest news on Facebook and as I scrolling down I saw my video store manager pal clutching his somewhat traumatized cat. They were both standing outside a burning building right beside the video store.
I leapt up and tore down the street to see what had happened.
My store manager and his pal were sitting in a van in a parking lot near the store. They had two cat carriers. And two very frightened cats. The fire started in the stairwell and because of the street smarts of an adjacent business owner, who immediately called 911, the fire was quickly dealt with but not before it destroyed and smoke damaged my friend's homes. I walked around the yellow tape and into the
store. Everyone was okay and safe. So greatly relieved, I went back home.
I was getting excited now, all gussied and glammed up in my best frock ready to tally forth to the awards, when I got a text from my manager asking me if I had a litter box, and some litter for his poor cat Sip (short for Siprio) . It was 6:45 and the Centre in the Square pre-Arts Awards mingle had already started. I instantly went down to my storage locker and foraged through it about to see if I had anything that would help. As the previous owner, of two cats myself, I discovered that I had indeed saved a litter box. My cat Squonk had passed away a few years back and I guess I kept some cat things just in case I decided to get another cat. (Which in fact, did happen because I looked after little Sip while my manager sorted out a new place to live, and she is now my cat.) I went down the store, dropped off the cat stuff and went to the awards. By the time, I got in there was no time to mingle, so I just went to my seat thinking about the day's events. And how lucky everyone had been.
When I won, it felt surreal, like a delicious blur. I think I thanked the right people but I know that I did talk
about how much the Arts Awards has grown. And I was so chuffed to stand on the stage, look at all the amazing talented artists of every age and every arts genre, and speak about the value of this signifciant cultural event in Waterloo Region.
Since winning the Denney, which sits proudly on my office shelf, I realize the best thing about winning this
little gold statue, is knowing that the work you are doing really is making an impact and that it does have value. Because so many of us work alone and then we send the work out there into the atmos hoping it is going to land somewhere important be it a painting, a play, a song or a even a concept.
Being recognized as a Nominee, gives every artist the drive and confidence to create something extraordinary. And so many careers continue to soar these 26 years on....