Do you guys in the States know who Jann Arden is?
I've always listened to music at work. This used to be easier at the MotherCorp, where it's normal to wear headphones at your desk. I had a really great set of headphones that drowned out the entire world -- necessary with a job like mine that entailed fixing the mangled carcasses of botched interviews. When I was pregnant, I used them to play Mozart to my stomach (my boss thought this was hilarious). And just before I quit, I used them to ignore my co-workers and listen to Jann Arden.
Leaving CBC was like a sucker punch. I'd just spent $40,000 on an honours degree in journalism and moved to the Northwest Territories. I couldn't have moved any further away and still been in Canada -- I'd gone from one corner of this giant country to the opposite corner in the name of journalism. Journalists have it hammered into them: they are professionals in the most noble cause there is, and "public-relations officers" are the excrement of creatures that live in pond scum. I imagine it is like leaving a tenured position as a philosophy professor to sell vacuum cleaners door to door. Except that as a professor, you do understand that some people need vacuum cleaners, so somebody's gotta sell them. The jump to public relations is sort of like that. You have this deep-seated self-loathing for the first little while, and all of your former co-workers look on you with disappointment, or (worse) say things like "I knew that's where you'd end up" or "Enjoy the money".
I usually tell people that I left the CBC because I had a baby. The truth is more complicated. Yes, I had a little guy underfoot and no child care. I really did need a job that would allow me to work from home. But I also felt like I was heading up a show that had little to no support from our head office. I was very sick while I was pregnant and took pains to show my devotion: I used to joke that I would give birth in the studio while directing the show. I came back from maternity leave wanting to prove that nothing had changed; that I was still the same person. I didn't want to admit to myself that I had indeed changed.
Jann Arden's known for her sense of humour, but you'd never know it from her music, which is usually about pain and sorrow. This song and every other song from Living Under June brings me back to early 2002, writing "greens" and re-writing intros with tears in my eyes.
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