Fear of Traveling

Of all my anxieties, the one that is the most depressing is my fear of traveling. I don’t like to be away from home.

I’ve managed, of course, through therapy and diligence, to make the “bubble” a little larger than it used to be. At one point I couldn’t leave the house. This summer I spent 3 months in Ottawa shooting the show, Michael: Tuesdays and Thursdays (tonight at 9 on CBC). I flew out there, and drove back. That’s a one hour flight, and a four and a half hour drive.

People who are afraid of traveling will understand the relevance. And Canadians in general will hopefully appreciate that I measure distance by how long it takes to get there.

I’m working towards popping the “bubble” completely.

The greatest irony is that ever since I was a kid, my favorite show has been Doctor Who. A man who travels ALL OF TIME AND SPACE.

Meanwhile, I still get nauseous when I have to go across town.

(Note: This piece was written for The National Post as part of the Arts & Life Diary series.)

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My Bathroom

When he was a kid, my father had to poop in an outhouse and wipe his butt with the Sears catalogue, so I should be grateful for the miracle of indoor plumbing.

But when it sucks, it’s hard to ignore.

I live in a one bedroom apartment on the second floor of a house. I have a vanity bathroom. Small sink, small toilet, stand-up shower with a clear glass enclosure. When I first saw it, I though it was cute. And the shower reminded me of something you’d see in a 70’s porno. Cool!

But there’s no water pressure. You have to flush the toilet twice, and then wait for it to fill up before you can wash your hands. The porno shower doesn’t really “function” because two people in the shower with no water pressure are two damp, cold miserable people.

At least you know what you’re getting with an outhouse. An outhouse won’t let you down.

(Note: This piece was written for The National Post as part of the Arts & Life Diary series.)

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Canadia: 2056 available on… iTunes?!

For real. The first 5 episodes of Season 1, available on iTunes… Here.

No one is more baffled and surprised than me!

And hey, 3.99 4.99 for the first 5 episodes, that’s not bad! I think… I mean, I’d pay that…

I think this marks the first time a CBC Radio Drama has been available for (legal) digital download… Sure, you have to pay, but this is progress, right?

Weird.

Am I high?

When did this happen?!

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CBC Radio Drama: Mothballed

I still get e-mails everyday asking about the future of Canadia: 2056, and with the CBC’s recent cutbacks, the questions have turned more to the future of radio drama in general.

The official announcement is that radio drama will be “reduced”.

Sadly, this doesn’t look to be the case.

The project that is in the pipeline will be seen through, and after that, Radio A&E has decided the best thing to do is to cut their losses, redeploy the staff into other positions and put drama on ice until funding is reinstated.

So, it looks like there’ll be no new radio drama for a while.

It’s a very sad time for me, and for my colleagues and friends in the drama department.

But, it’s a sign of the times, and instead of being bitter and angry, I think the best thing to do is to be understanding, and to try and hope for the best. This is genuinely one of those “greater good” times.

For me, it means that I have to move on, and start looking for other mediums and formats to write in.

I will say, that writing for radio has been one of the great joys in my life. I could honestly write radio drama for the rest of my life, and be more than fulfilled and satisfied. I love it. Writing Steve, The First was an experience not unlike being thrown into a pool and discovering that you already know how to swim.

I’m one of the lucky few who found something they were good at, enjoyed it to the fullest and had a good run with it. I never felt like I had to compromise, and I always believed in the work I was doing – I will remember the last few years as profoundly life changing. I wrote 28 half hours, and co-wrote 6. The experience made me a better, and stronger writer. I can proudly boast that I’ve written more half-hour comedy in a few years than most Canadian writers will in a lifetime.

The sad truth, and reality, is that it doesn’t get that many listeners, and it doesn’t justify the cost. And these things have to be taken into account – these are the times we live in.

I’m not writing this post to urge people to write in to “save drama”, I don’t think that’s necessary. It’s time to move on, and hopefully, when the time is right, drama will live again on the airwaves of the CBC.

Now, don’t take this is as “official” CBC statement – and I am fully aware that I could get my hand slapped for writing this, but I urge anyone who thinks that I’m writing this as a protest to read this post carefully. I thank everyone who gave me the opportunity to tell my stories on the tax-payers dime. I also thank the CBC who took tremendous leaps of faith with me and my shows. Sci-Fi/Comedy is not an easy sell, but I never got that impression when I dealt with the higher-ups. They showed nothing but encouragement and enthusiasm for my ideas.

I never took any of that for granted, and I hope we can, despite the sadness of these times, celebrate the great work that has been done over the years.

Finally, to the fans, I’d like to thank you all for your continued support and overwhelming love for the shows I’ve written. I hope you continue to follow my work, wherever it takes me. Ultimately, I write for myself, but I’m nothing without an audience. Any writer who says any different is a bold faced liar.

Cheers,

Matt.

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Change is inevetable

Alright, I admit, that’s a somewhat melodramatic subject title. Sue me.

But it’s been a while since I posted, and a lot has happened. In fact, the reason I haven’t posted is because a lot has happened.

(If you want to ignore the whining and complaining, “Oh why me-isms”, skip the next couple paragraphs.)

PERSONAL:

Nothing terribly exciting – just the normal bullshit that everyone has to contend with at some point or another. Without getting into specifics, I will say that because I have a lot of time to myself, I have the luxury of analyzing everything to death, making my hardships feel, to me, that much more unbearable than anything any other person has ever had to endure. The economic collapse, the daily carnage brought on by a multitude of wars, famine, plagues – all pale by comparison to the heartbreak of a 33-year-old man-child who is forced to face another one of his fuckups in a long list of fuckups.

And Friday, I moved… again. Which is ultimately a positive thing. Living in the Distillery was sucking my soul… But moving is at the top of my list of stressful experiences. (Yeah, yeah, it’s at the top of everyone’s list, but I suffer more because I’m fragile and extremely neurotic, so… boo.) During the move on Friday, I misplaced my glasses, so it’s been four very long, blurry days – and I haven’t unpacked much, partially because there’s this underlying fear that I’ll be moving again (I haven’t lived in one place for more than a year in over 6 years – is it me? It’s hard to believe that it’s just circumstantial – again, more over-analysis.) and partially because I can’t really see anything without my glasses: I “guess” that “thing” looks ok “there”.

There’s some other shit that I won’t get into, only because I’m starting to annoy myself. But, here’s a gem: Last night I stepped in puke – I didn’t discover this until this morning, when I put on my boots and discovered (through smell, not sight, mind you) said puke. This, naturally, caused me to puke.

Oh Garfield, you were right about Mondays!

WORK:

Canadia: 2056. Although a third season hasn’t been ruled out, it does look unlikely at this point. The second season was supposed to be available online for pre-order two weeks ago, but surprise surprise, there’s a delay. Maybe it’ll be available for Christmas… But then again, maybe it won’t.

I’ve been flung back into the world of sketch-comedy. During the summer, I co-wrote a bunch of sketches for CBC Radio’s “The Irrelevant Show”, then I was brought in as head writer for a radio pilot featuring a couple of CBCers, and I’ve just finished a four week stint in a writing room developing a bible for CBC Television for a sketch-ish show. I’m not going into specifics on any of these, only because I’m superstitious.

I’ve got another radio pilot in the works, and I’m (slowly) working on the third draft of the screenplay.

So, things are good. I’m working, I’m in a new apartment and finally: I’ve enlisted the help of a panic disorder specialist. I’m learning to cope with my anxiety and panic and can, for the first time in twenty years, see a light at the end of the tunnel.

I just wish that my relationship hadn’t fallen apart, my dad didn’t freak out when the economy tanked and put the condo I was living in on the market, and my dog wasn’t diagnosed with lymphoma.

But like I said, other than those things, life is good.

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