Arts

The old haunted Fulcrum office at 631 King Edward Ave. Image: Charley Dutil/Fulcrum

To my desks, to our contributors, to WordPress and to Edboard

Dear second-floor corner desk,

You are Bridget’s now. I hope you’ve treated her well in the five or so months since our amicable split. When Charley offered me a private office I wept in appreciation for it, moving my few knick-knacks quickly and with a skip in my Blundstone-d step.

You, corner desk, are the cold spot in the Fulcrum office, tucked behind the door, heavy and awkward beneath the King Edward window. 

You boast a shelf of bad CDs. 

You come with a spinny chair.

You were mine, my on-campus haven from roommate squabbles and virtual courses. I remember my first week, when I rested my laptop on your glossy top, revelling in the feeling of being an arts editor, a paid one, a member of a team, a female journalist. 

It is there we fell in love, green and naive and smiling with crooked teeth.

Dear second-floor managing editor office,

I am not the managing editor, but Emily is, and Emily lives what feels like a lifetime away, so for the last few months, you’ve been mine.

I stole what I’ve since called my pet space heater from Bridget’s desk, so you live with me now. You keep me warm in the frigid, unheated death trap of the Fulcrum office. You listen to me cry. You tolerate me screaming “Love Story.” You have a door (a door!) and don’t kick me out when I stay for hours watching Better Call Saul.

You have the poster from my original play, Feast, taped haphazardly to your western wall, plus a Fleabag poster and press cards from publishers across Canada.

You fight valiantly against imposter syndrome. You eavesdrop on difficult phone conversations, and interviews, and TikToks. You smell like spilled kombucha.

It is here we’ve fallen further, into habit, into routine, into that everyday kind of love with snacks and mundane errands. You are comfortable. You are private. You are mine.

Dear contributors,

You’ve written gorgeous pieces on music and theatre and paintings and politics and Canadian lifestyle. You’ve laughed at my jokes (and only slightly under duress). You’ve taken edits with grace and with enviable integrity.

You’ve made this job easy and rewarding in ways I couldn’t have imagined before graduating with my Bachelor’s degree in theatre. You’ve answered emails. You haven’t minded when I’ve chased you down on Facebook Messenger.

You are the future of the Fulcrum, and it’s been an honour to get to know you, all of you.

Dear WordPress,

You are the toxic part of an otherwise perfect first love, the douchebag streak I’ve tried to accommodate. 

You seldom work.

You haunt my nightmares, fitful evenings littered with corrupted images and author tags.

You are outdated.

But you are part of it.

And for that, I love you, too.

Dear Edboard,

It is to you I extend the sincerest of apologies for being gooey on main, for irritating the living shit out of most of you over Slack, for bothering you with Taylor Swift in every single goddamn arts piece. 

It is here I thank you for making my first job in arts journalism one I must so bittersweetly bid goodbye, at least for the year, at least for now.

I fell in love with you slowly, a jaded theatre critic with no experience in broad arts journalism or cultural coverage. To leave theatre criticism behind felt like an act of treason — how could an editorial position at the Fulcrum possibly compare to the fruit of my academic and professional work so far? But you, my fellow student journalists, just dealt with your pretentious teammate. You took it like champs.

We’ve had bad poutine and worse kebabs. Wine of a rainbow of colours. Wendy’s.

We’ve grown together. We’ve endured personal and professional loss. We’ve prospered.

It is you who has made this job my favourite to date.

Dear Charley,

To apologize for the never-ending roasts would be disingenuous, so I won’t.

I’ve made clear my appreciation for all you’ve done for me since September. 

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

You created a pandemic-shaped Edboard, one that will be remembered forever.

You don’t get the recognition you deserve for the effort you put into this publication, for the annoyances you endure every single day, for the rigour of your editorial work.

Your leadership, your friendship, your leaving-me-in-a-snow-bank-when-I-fell-while-skating-ship: they’ve all made this job all I could ask for.

To my first arts journalism job:

We’ve had our ups and downs, but you’ve proved a legitimacy in student journalism I’d never considered before descending upon the breaking halls of the haunted Fulcrum. We met during a personal rough spot, one that’s bloomed into a personally rough year: you’ve stood by me, challenging me to improve my craft.

You’ve destroyed my affinity for semicolons.

You’ve made me certain that this is what I want to do.

I fell in love with this job for its shapelessness, its ability to be whatever I needed it to be, its capacity to stretch to fit the needs of a COVID-19 cultural landscape.

I fell in love with this job for more reasons than I can list in an article that some poor managing editor (hi, Emily) should have to edit.

I fell in love with this job for its history, its people, its humour, its ghost.

And it’s here that I bid it a sentimental, “see ya.”

Thanks, Fulc.

Aly Murphy

Arts and culture editor for the Fulcrum’s 81st volume