Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Experience and background

Many readers have various forms of experience, maybe reading privately or through structured or independent study. This is all to be respected but it's also fair to ask what sort of experience that is as reading as an interest and reading professionally can be very different. One is not necessarily better than the other. I know some great readers with very little professional experience and the professionals all had to start somewhere!

For myself, although I had some reading experience and learning prior to my reading professionally it is not what I include in citing professional experience. Prior to my working at it, reading was an interest and in one way or another it was part of me as far back as I can remember and it's that way for most readers I know. When I state: "since 1982" it is since I began this as my full time, main livelihood. Someone asked me where I have read professionally the other day, here goes as best I can recollect:

  •  Feb. 1982 to June 1986 -The Chocolate Shop restaurant. I initially worked for descendants of the same family that had this place going back to 1918. Madam Red (Winnipeg's most famous reader) and many other fascinating readers, people and characters had their start there. It was a location famous for readings and still remembered fondly by many Winnipeg people. The first 3 years there were a joy, I had to begin as a fledgling and work my way up (and did) but the last year (1986) was under a new ownership and frankly just wasn't the same. You can buy the name of a business but you cant buy it's experience or spirit. it changed hands a few times since then, went through highs and lows and at times had some other good  readers but is now long gone.

  •  1986 to 1995 - The Eastside Exchange Bar and Grill 177 Lombard (behind the Richardson Building), this was an upscale establishment and I was the main full time reader there from when it initially opened and on for 9 years. This truly gave me the opportunity to develop my approach, establish a uniquely diverse client base and I had the privilege of working with some fine people and fellow readers that I have many fond memories of. However my clients had been asking for some time for a more private appointment based structure so it was after 9 years, time to evolve and change.

  •  1995 to 2012 I worked independently through co-operative shared space at Blackletter Books in a private reading room. The 17 years I spent in this North End location were very rewarding. Working with Jan (the bookstore owner) was also a great experience, I am grateful for his support and the time there.

  •  June 2012 to March 2015 I have continued my independent work through co-operative shared space at Elemental Book and Curiosity Shop in the vibrantly growing West End. I enjoyed working alongside another business and Dominique is a good friend. I appreciate her support and so much of her business and work is an opportunity for me to further learn and share.

  • March 2015 -  I am working through my own office space at 209-161 Stafford St. at Grosvenor along with special events and other venues for group/party bookings as well as charity functions. Check out the "Contact/Appointments" section as well as "Upcoming Events for more on these aspects of my work.
 In all this time I haven't taken much time off and although I have had some other side jobs along the way, reading is still my chief work, my passion and my joy. I've seen a lot come and go through all this time. The industry changes, ebbs and flows. I'm looking forward to further adventures, further learning and sharing. Stay tuned for further evolution!