Here’s to 50 more
A graduate of the University of Toronto, Trevor Hutchinson is a songwriter, writer and bookkeeper. He serves as Contributing Editor at The Lindsay Advocate. He lives with his fiancee and their five kids in Lindsay.
It seems like a lifetime ago, but sometime around August 2017 I cold-called the publisher of a new local news site I had come across. I remember feeling pleasantly surprised that there was something that was very local, had an opinion and was well written.
Even though I was working in construction at the time, I had worked and written for magazines back in the day, so I reached out and pitched a story. I bartered some time on the family computer (at the time shared by seven people), started exercising my so-called writing chops and penned what was for me a very personal story of how I worked full-time and yet still qualified for welfare.
Roderick must have had a different recollection of our first conversation because he thought I was pitching my situation for him to do an article on. So my first Advocate story was the very definition of unsolicited. But with a lot of editing help, my first published story in more than a decade was released (and even eventually retweeted by a prominent American basic income advocate). My next few pitches were (very politely) declined, but I didn’t give up.
Seven months later the print edition launched. I loved being a small part of what seemed like the craziest idea: a local, advertising-supported, progressive magazine in an area where a blue recycling box could get elected for provincial or federal office.
But I like crazy. Especially the type of crazy that wants to give voice to the voiceless, that wants to make good trouble, that wants to rattle the cages.
I think I have been in every print edition although I might have missed one. And what a ride it’s been. I’ve interviewed experts and scholars, politicians and businesspeople, musicians and fellow citizens. Between the online and print platforms I have written on everything from punk rock to hospital mergers, from the city’s development plans to Lindsay’s famous rodeo from 1958.
Eventually, as the magazine drew an increasing number of talented writers, and as I re-entered not-for-profit finance, I began to concentrate on this opinion column, which started in March 2019. And it has been a blast. It has led to new friendships, hundreds of spirited conversations and of course a lot of hate mail.
But that’s okay and that is what it’s all about. I take a certain pride that in any given month a handful of people take time out of their busy day to write an email explaining how I am an idiot.
To all those who have taken the time to comment (either for or against) I truly thank you. It is a privilege to participate in local discussion and debate, in my very small way. Here’s hoping we get to discuss and debate for another 50!
P.S. COVID isn’t over, there will be a fall wave and masks work. (Take that, haters!)