News

Packing Up The Shed

 

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Shed writing in Canada. I highly recommend it. As well as a space heater.

As someone who has spent most of my adult life travelling and working abroad, if I know about anything, it’s goodbyes. And the constant of change. Both of which I still detest. But both of which inundate all of us, ready or not, and so are best approached like an icy dip: quickly, and without too much standing around. So I have a good-bye to say, and a change to embrace.

My family and I are moving overseas. And while it’ll be coming with me, The Out And Abouter will be going through an adjustment as well.

Our reasons for going are many, but I will say this: the life of an aspiring writer (in Canada or elsewhere) offers even slimmer prospects than the skinny ones that most people probably imagine. I’m lucky enough to have a regular job that gives me time to put out new content with some frequency, and the portability of that profession (I’m a seafarer) means our family can be based in a variety of places. And so, after years of chasing an ever-receding Toronto housing market, we’re going to take advantage of both our mobility and the fact my wife is British, and are moving with our two young kids to a spot in the green hills south of London, in the U.K.

I’ve thought long and hard about what this means to this little page, which in just over three years has grown from a handful of my neighbours, family, and friends, to over 20,000 regular readers across a variety of platforms. The main change is going to be less of the strictly Canadian-related content. This will be partly because I obviously won’t be here, but mostly because it feels misleading for me to operate from the perspective of a nation I’m not firmly rooted in. Much as I will always love – and identify with – this strange, sprawling conglomeration of provinces, permafrost, and poutine.

There will still be satire. Many of the posts on this page are about the things that affect us all; like climate change, the rise of nationalism, incompetent leaders, poor customer service, and the excellence of animals, both in their own right and as a foil for our own flaws and attributes. On those subjects I’ll keep writing, and putting out thoughts there. But the frequency is going to slow as well.

That’s because there’s something else. A book that has been impatiently waiting its turn to be written has now started shouting plot lines, characters, and settings at me – whether I’m ready or not. And while I’ve loved creating 4-5 satirical articles a week for the past few years, it has meant living entirely in what is a grinding news cycle, and ignoring other writing projects along the way. This move provides as good a reason as any to reconnect with that longer-form voice. It’s a deeper, more nuanced, and less breathless approach than the rapid-fire acerbity that the daily satire gig asks for, and I’m looking forward to working that field again for the first time in a while. If people are interested, I’ve been thinking about sharing more of those efforts on here, alongside the satire. 

I’m writing this today because I’ve started packing up the shed that I wrote in while I lived here, and began The Out And Abouter in. And because tonight I’m going to take part in a ritual that started when I was kid, and one which is my way of saying good-bye to a city that I grew up in, and then returned to to start my own family. I’m joining my dad for a Jays game.

We’re going to sit in the dome and watch the current iteration of a team that we’ve cheered ourselves hoarse pulling for over the years. He’ll sing the anthem out of tune. We’ll talk politics and big themes (a family obsession), and when the nine innings are over, we’ll spill out onto Bremner Blvd. along with the rest of the milling mix of jerseyed fans.

And then dad will give me his customary good-bye, and it’s the one I’ll leave you with too. A transplant from the west coast to Toronto, I grew up listening to him catching up with the family back in Victoria on Sunday evenings, speaking down the crackly telephone lines that stretch across all that land. And when it came time to end a particular Sunday evening conversation, he would always do it with the same three words. Short ones that still manage to contain in them both a parting, and a promise. 

“Bye for now.”

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Categories: News

48 replies »

  1. Hey, Paul

    Welcome to the UK, it’s an “interesting” time to come to us – LOTS of scope for satire!

    Come up North, we must have a beer (and we have GREAT beer) 😉

    Cheers, Steve

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  2. OH, THANK GOODNESS!!! At first I thought you were done “forever” with this page, the one I SO look forward to reading(and sharing), as often as it lands in my inbox! We’ll welcome your words from across the pond, as soon as your ready…and, YES, PLEASE let us in on the book as the plot thickens. Best to you and yours on your journey and getting settled in. I’ll be waiting….

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  3. I can relate to.yoyr decision, and applaud it. We started our adventure by moving to Hong Kong with our then 14 yr old twins nearly 21 years ago. Will always love Canada but there is an amazing world waiting out there beyond . Enjoy every moment in this time of change, it’s the constant.

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  4. As a Yank who has lived and studied abroad, I’ve guffawed and been awed at your observations in satirical essay form. I can’t wait to see what your longer form thoughts and voice sound like! Cheers!

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  5. Thank you for letting us know. Much love and good wishes. Your future looks very, very bright.

    I’ll wait for what comes next. Your writing is wonderful.

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  6. Best wishes for your new adventures, geographic, cultural and writerly! I enjoy your posts, having found you early in 2019. I am already looking forward to your Brexit- and Archie-flavored views. Rebecca

    On Wed, May 22, 2019 at 2:06 PM The Out And Abouter wrote:

    > Paul Duncan posted: ” As someone who has spent most of my adult life > travelling and working abroad, if I know about anything, it’s goodbyes. And > the constant of change. Both of which I still detest. But both of which > inundate all of us, ready or not, and so are best ” >

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  7. Bye for now. Catch you across the sea. Happy to try and entertain your readers with my bullshit while you are away writing something bigger and better…

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  8. Goodbye and Good Luck! I look forward to your future writings; your quality of satire is influential and hard to come by.

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  9. Ah, I thought of you today as I started trying to write some satire again. Best wishes in your move and with your book! I’ll look forward to your UK based posts. I’m sure that moving across the ocean will give you lots of new material to poke fun at. All the best! And enjoy that game with your dad.

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  10. Congratulations, Paul, for taking the opportunity to follow your dream (and your wife’s, too). Your Canada-based satire will really be missed. But I’m sure the global satire will be just as biting and to the point. Best wishes with the book… and the new adventure. And yes… bye for now.

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  11. Can’t tell you how bereft I feel! Thank you so much for the many laughs and the occasional tears. All the best to you, and I look forward to hearing from you whenever and from wherever the urge strikes. BFN.

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  12. We have similar change going on with the relocation of the grandkids..,a bitter pill to swallow, but the motivation for their parents is amazingly similar to yours.
    Paul, I don’t see anything other than continuing success in your future. You have far too much talent for any other result.
    Your book will be amazing, I’m sure. The time spent with your Dad, even more so.

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  13. Paul, you have made my journey through this crazy world a bit lighter, thank you. Best of luck to you and your family in this new challenge. Please do post about your upcoming book. I would love to read it. Bye for now, Mary

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    • Oh Paul. Just again today I told my husbands nurse about you. And how you are keeping us sane in a whirling world
      We made a decision like yours some 55odd years ago an are now back in 🇨🇦
      All the best SO glad you will stay “ in touch”
      😃😃😃😃😃😃😃

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I a, very sorry to see you go. I’ve just finished a commentary on your air-canada post and will probably get it online tomorrow. I hope you get it. If not, it will be on THE ABSURD TIMES shortly and will be there for you. You have been a breath of fresh air in a rancid time in world history and I send my best wishes to you and your family. Honestly!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Paul, I’ll miss you. All the best in England and with the book. Damn . And Blast . Now how am I to get through the days news Betty

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Safe travels Paul and wishing you all the best with this new chapter. I’ll read it wherever you hang your hat. Look forward to what you satirise next.

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  17. If your piece on Tim O’Brien is an indication of your non-satirical writing style, I’m really looking forward to seeing more of it. I’ve kept the 6/23/18 version on my phone ever since then, and have reread it several times in my travels and at our cabin in northern Michigan. Good luck to you and your family in your move and your new adventures.

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  18. Do NOT stop. Love your style of sharp satire. Welcome to the UK…plenty of material here, for sure!

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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  19. Thanks for all the fun and also the thought provoking. One thing I have learned about art is that I enjoy the artist and so appreciate a new turn or twist. Enjoy your family and don’t forget us poor freezing slobs need laughs these days, maybe now more than ever.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Au revoir, Paul. Best wishes for a brilliant future. Thanks for all the laughs…and a few tears! I look forward to reading the book, too.

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  21. Wow, that’s a big decision! I will very much miss your terrific satirical pieces, but wish you every success. Btw, you and your father probably would have gotten more satisfaction from going to a Raptors game than this year’s version of the Jays! 😏

    Liked by 1 person

  22. It’s a global neighborhood now. While you may be in a different block, you’re still in the neighborhood. At moments like these I’m grateful for the wires and WiFi’s that connect us.

    Looking forward to following you where you take us.

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  23. I wish you all the best in your new adventures! and I hope to be reading you again soon, in whatever form you go for. Your humour and sense of the world are brilliant and I am selfish in wanting to not do without them. ¡Salud, dinero y amor!

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  24. How am I supposed to deal with Ford without you?😫 Kidding aside, I am happy for you and your family and look forward to your future posts. 😁

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  25. Wow! Thanks for everything, Paul Duncan! Best wishes in your next adventures, wherever they take you> (And don’t forget the satire when you go — we need to keep hearing from you to maintain what’s left of our sanity back here in North America…!)

    Liked by 1 person

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