Tuesday, August 19, 2008

It's been a scary month

...for the arts sector in this country. The recent cuts to cultural programs are unsettling to say the least. And now the Globe and Mail has axed their Books section for two weeks. Here's what TSR has to say on that. And here's what Lemon Hound has to say. And here's Quillblog. I sent a brief letter to the Globe and Mail this morning.

Dear Globe Editors,

The absence of the Globe and Mail Books section is profoundly disturbing. Living in a mining town in northern SK, I've long looked to the books section as not only a source of reviews, but a sign of cultural health. The section allows the general public and writers themselves to see that the nation is producing works of significance that reflect us as a people. The books section is what gives the Globe and Mail its national voice and sets it apart from other newspapers. I look forward to its return.

Brenda Schmidt
Creighton, SK

As you can see, I do not agree with the "Really, why buy the Globe" comment that was left in response to the TSR post. I certainly value many lit blogs, but already I've come to accept their sporadic and ephemeral nature. The Globe and Mail Books section, on the other hand, has been consistent and consistently keeps us talking. Its reviews are archived. Accessible. And it's more than that. While none of my books have been reviewed in the Globe and Mail, a good number of books by Saskatchewan authors have received attention in those pages over the years and this has had a positive impact on me. It makes me look more closely at my own work, my own voice, my own place. It makes me work harder.

I received a response from the Globe and Mail saying this is only a two-week pause before the fall season and there is no plan or intention to diminish or discontinue the Books section. That's good news! Though it seems to me the lack of reviews for two weeks fits neatly with the definition of diminish. I wonder if they'll increase the number of reviews in the section for the rest of the year to make up for the two-week pause?


Paula Jane said...

Well-expressed, Brenda. Short, clear, and definitely effective ... and yes, they've clearly missed the definition of "diminished".

Brenda Schmidt said...

Thanks, Paula Jane.

I was just reading the "Tories slashing $44.8-million in arts spending" story in today's Globe. Wondering how it will play out. Then I lingered on the third paragraph of this post on Thirsty. I've been thinking about the choices we make as writers. And I've been weighing things that can't be weighed. I think I'm in a what now phase.