Matthew Turcotte is a soon to be 31 year old aspiring writer from Brockville, Ontario. He works by day at Walmart and diligently by day and night at home preparing his pop culture blog, of which he produces one a day. We discussed his roots, how and why he has managed to produce one blog a day for more than a year, his future writing goals and a variety of subjects that he blogs on regularly.
You live in Eastern Ontario. You were born, raised and have always lived there?
|Brockville, Ontario gives you access to the Thousand Islands. You can take a boat ride from the Marina.|
Yes, that is correct. If you go down to Block House Island or Hardy Park (both of which are located right next to the St. Lawrence River), you can see America.
Brockville is a town that compared to some of the other areas in the province of Ontario is a bit on the small side. At last check, the population was 22,000. As far as the town itself is concerned, there is a lot of history surrounding it. We are home to Canada's first railway tunnel, and some of the buildings in the city's downtown core were built during the 1800s. Aesthetically, the town is absolutely beautiful...lots of parks, the court house square that is paved with cobblestones, the fantastic view of the riverfront. These are all things that make Brockville stand out. The only downside is that Brockville has been hit hard by the economy, and there aren't a lot of jobs available for people, so many have left to find employment elsewhere. But other than that, it's a nice little town.
|Hardy Park Waterfront Trail. The other side of the River is the United States.|
As far as my foreseeable future goes, I'll likely be sticking around Brockville for now, but Kingston (which is about five times larger than Brockville) is a beautiful town too, and I could see myself living there as well. The Kingston/Brockville area has that balance between country and city living down pat.
Not professionally. One works as an addictions counsellor, and the other one works at a financial services building. My sisters are also a bit older than I am. One is 15 years older than I am, and the other one is 9 years older. I often joke that my parents believed in the one child per decade rule, as all three of us were born in different decades.
You know, come to think of it, my sister did have something published through her workplace. She helped bring in a new addictions recovery program in the area, and she had to co-write the manual for the program. In fact, I assisted her in helping her type it out years ago.
Although all three of us are fairly skilled in writing, I'm really the only one who would like to do it as a full-time career.
Oh, sure. When we're young, we all daydream about what jobs we'd like as adults. Before the age of ten, I think I wanted to be a fireman, an actor, a teacher...I even think at one time, I wanted to be the guy who pulled the lottery numbers out of the drum on television...LOL.
But one thing that remained constant in my childhood was that I liked playing with crayons and pads of notebook paper...even more than the toys that I had in my toy box. So, I guess at an early age, I really had an interest in creating things, even if I didn't know it back at the time.
There's a couple of reasons why I chose pop culture. We all have our favourite movies, television shows, musical groups, and Saturday morning cartoons, and I think that by having a blog on these topics, it opens up some discussion about the topic itself, which is always nice to see.
But I think a bigger reason stems from the fact that when I was growing up, my childhood was sort of a lonely one. I was bullied in school, and lived on a street that had mostly elderly people living on it. I mean, I certainly wouldn't recommend television or toys and games as a substitute for social interaction, not at all...but for me, it helped to think of the television shows and films that I enjoyed whenever I was feeling bad. I mean, everyone has memories of watching television with family members. One of my earliest memories was watching The Price Is Right at my grandmother's house, so any time I watch The Price Is Right, I think of her, you know?
Yes, they did...and my grandparents were also a fan of daytime dramas and talk shows, so I ended up watching them just because they did. I didn't necessarily know what they were talking about, but because they liked them, I watched them. And, the one thing that I find great about that is because I have these experiences with my grandparents, it gave me more topics to talk about in my blog. That was one goal I had with the blogging project...I wanted to have a wide array of topics so that a larger group of people could read and comment on them.
Now there's a loaded question...
I suppose if I had to choose a particular entry to showcase what the blog is all about, I would probably go with any of the ones that talk about overcoming a challenge, or one where you learn a life lesson.
There's one entry that I wrote back on August 7, 2011 that talked about the Coolio song "Gangsta's Paradise". It had some info on the song itself, but it also ended up being a significant song in my own life. In that entry, much like other ones I've done, I bring up a personal life story and tie it to the pop culture item itself. And, that's just one example. I have others detailing health scares, job stories, and other miscellaneous items. But the one I pointed out is probably one of my better accounts.
Do you have the aim to be a story writer as well, and if so do you have anything in the works?
Oh, absolutely. I'd love to have a novel published. I've written a few stories in the past, and have entered some writing contests. But, here's something that not a lot of people know. When I was seventeen or so, I actually wrote a couple of manuscripts. Even more shocking is the fact that I didn't own a computer back in those days, so they are all handwritten. However, fourteen years have passed, and re-reading the only one that I've found, it's nowhere NEAR ready to be published. It's true what they say...we are our own worst critics. Maybe I'll pull it out again and rewrite it, just to see if the end result would be worth reading. :D
You have talked extensively about your experiences with bullying. In the present, other than writing, do you do anything to try and stamp out bullying?
Do you have any formal training as a writer?
Well, first, I check and see what day of the week it is...I know it sounds strange, but because I have different theme days for my blog, it makes a difference. It takes me longer to do a Thursday Confession than it does a Sunday Jukebox entry. And, Tuesday Timelines are the entries that involve the most research, so they take a while to do.
Typically speaking, the average blog entry takes me a few hours to write. Some I've done in less than two hours, while others have taken me at least eight.
As far as research goes, I tend to hit Internet Movie Database a lot for background information, and sometimes I'll use reference books or pop culture themed magazines for info. But the best research I can do is actually watching the film, or reading the book, or listening to the song that the topic is about. I did an entry on "My Girl" recently, and I was watching the movie while I was typing the entry.
It's changed me a lot. For those reading this interview that may not know, in February 2011, I had my gall bladder removed. The surgery was incredibly complicated, as my gall bladder was so infected that it started to infect other organs. Had I let it go any further, it would have killed me. When you're in a situation like this, it changes a person. Physically speaking, I'm doing fantastic aside from a huge scar on my chest. But emotionally speaking, it made me realize that life was short and that I really should start living it more. Slowly, but surely, I'm getting better at not sweating the small stuff and living the life the way that I want to...not the way anyone else did.
I think as well, the health scare showed me just how much people liked me, and what real friendship was. Before the surgery, I wasn't sure if I had such a thing, but all the phone calls and visits, and get well cards that I received during my recovery made me realize what the true value of friendship was. So, while the surgery was one of the worst things that happened to me physically, emotionally, it was one of the best.
And besides, some of the craziest stories out there in pop culture involve the music industry, which makes for more interesting reading.
I also have Kylie Minogue as a guilty pleasure artist...her songs are catchy and have a good beat, and she's very nice to look at...LOL.
A lot of the artists I've named have either been featured in the blog or will be featured in upcoming entries.
I actually just wanted to take the time and thank everybody out there for reading "A Pop Culture Addict's Guide To Life". It's been a great experience for me to do this blog, and I hope that everyone has had fun reading it! If it wasn't for my readers, I wouldn't continue to do this blog, and I'd personally like to appreciate all of them for the topic suggestions and comments.
Stay tuned to the blog for the remainder of the month of May. May is the anniversary month of the blog, and I have some surprises planned.
Thanks again, everyone. :)