Reflections on my Tenure as a Wanderer… Wanderite… Wanderée? | By Tori McNish

One day, way back in January, when you all were in the throes of mid-midterms, I was sitting at my desk in my soul-sucking administrative job, surfing the net. A common occurrence, I was looking for ‘things to do.’ Not content with reading about celebrity babies and looking at MLS listings all day (maybe for an hour or two), I decided to search for local, independent media that might be interested in some writing on the visual arts.

A few months prior I had started my own visual arts blog, PrairieSeen, with a fellow art history grad. I loved what we were doing, and we were really getting into it, but I wanted to try my hand at more formal art criticism. That’s when, through my superior Googling skills, I stumbled upon The Wanderer.

I had recently visited an art exhibition at Strathcona County Gallery @501 that I so happened to have taken notes at for this particular reason; I had also just returned from a two-month sojourn interning in Washington, D.C. So I found the contact information for The Wanderer on the website, wrote up two pitches (which I had zero experience in – thanks again, Google!) and sent them off.

A guy named Emerson Csorba responded within two days; they were interested in my ideas (I had started my pitches with ‘I noticed you have a lack of visual arts writing on your site…’). So I wrote the piece about the Gallery @501 show, and the rest is (recent) history.

I contributed approximately an article a month, finally meeting Emerson in person when he attended PrairieSeen’s very first event in April. Shortly thereafter, he asked if I, along with Elizabeth Yu and Annie Pumphrey, would consider becoming a Culture Editor. I (obviously) said yes.

Working online has some drawbacks, mostly regarding communicating via email and not seeing a lot of your ‘co-workers’ face-to-face, but it has been great ‘meeting’ the other editors; people dedicated to producing genuine, thought-provoking, unique stories about Edmonton. Interacting with many a talented writer (which are few and far between in this day and age) has also been heartening.

Volunteering for The Wanderer (yes, we all do this voluntarily) has changed the way I write, interact with people, and generally my outlook on things. Emerson, and many other Wanderer’s/ Wanderite’s/ Wanderée’s, has the most genuinely can-do attitude of any person I have ever met, and has inspired me to just take the risk and do things. So I am eternally grateful that I did just that and hit the ‘Send’ button to a stranger who has now multiplied into many new friends (which is probably the cheesiest thing I have ever written).

Thanks, Wand!

Photograph courtesy of Tori McNish

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