My name is Gabriel Landriault. Admitting this is kind of a big deal, at least to me, because I’ve been blogging anonymously for almost five years.
Not including the six years I pretended my four Geocities accounts didn’t exist, I started blogging in late 2006 in reaction to a fairly horrific accident… where I accidentally erased three years worth of edits to my book. I have to put “accidentally” in there because there are moments when I think maybe it wasn’t.
In 2001 I signed a contract with ECW Press, a Toronto-based publisher to write a non-fiction, 80,000 word book about politics and my family.
Very late one night in 2006 I migrated everything I had ever produced — movies, stories, news articles, The Book — from my ancient 4G hard-drive PC to my brand spanking new Dell server farm of a PC. It’s black and cool looking. A few days later I went searching for the book, and only found early versions… but nothing recent. This is when I started growing my very first beard.
My first reporting job was as a columnist for The Review, the local (Vankleek Hill) paper. My grade eleven English teacher made it happen. I wrote about school politics, and local council meetings. I was seventeen, and my column was called “From The High Chair” because the stool the publisher gave me to sit on was ridiculously high.
In total I’ve worked as a reporter for seven years, mostly I covered technology issues like online privacy.
I haven’t worked as a reporter full time since 2001. In between now and then I also put in two years in “communications”. For a year I worked as a writer at an agency called Benchmark PorterNovelli, and then I was with Clearnet — during the switch to Telus Mobility. I sucked at both jobs.
I honestly do not believe I produced anything for either company.
…although I did get a surreal opportunity to take photos backstage at a Britney Spears concert for Benchmark. So, that was pretty cool… she’s tiny.
I signed the book contract while I was at Clearnet. I honestly thought it’d take a year, then I’d use it to get back into reporting.
But the “family” part of the book proved to be… difficult. Especially on my brain.
The reason I wanted to blog anonymously was because most of it would be about the Family + Brain stuff. And I didn’t want my mother to be waiting in line at the grocery store, and have someone ask her about something I had written. Also… there are some craz-eee MoFo’s online.
So as I moved from writing about myself, to starting another blog where I could write about news, I remained anonymous. Which made sense, barely… because finding one could lead to finding the other. Or something.
But what ended up happening was I created a five-year gap on the Internet, and in my life. The only work I was producing was on two (sometimes three) anonymous blogs. And so far it’s been really good work.
So someone searching for me on Google brings up a very few pieces I wrote for Toronto-based Computer Dealer News and eBusiness Journal, and Ottawa’s Silicon Valley North (SVN), from 1998 and 1999… it also brings up my SETI@home profile.
But it doesn’t tell anyone about the Ontario Community Newspaper Association award for column writing I won in 1997, or the CATA Award for Excellence in Science and Technology Reporting I — and two other reporters — won… also in 1997 — it was a pretty good year, we got award shirts.
And it doesn’t bring up anything from this blog. Again, it’s like I’ve turned invisible and my archives are slowly eroding. All of the work I did for SVN, for example, disappeared when it was bought by the Ottawa Business Journal.
Which totally sucks when you’re trying to make a point about the status of reporting in an online world in a Facebook forum…
Blogging anonymously, especially when it’s the only content you’re creating, sucks donkey testicles when it comes to explaining to people what it is you do all night.
“Sure… I publish 12,000 words a month, but you can’t read any of them.”
It’ll be nice to be able to talk to my grandfather about what I’m reporting on again.
Something I plan on doing is reporting on the region where I live… this part of Eastern Ontario is the poorest (off reserve) region in Canada, it also leads Canada in illiteracy rates, drug and alcohol addiction and unemployment.
It also has an incredible amount of potential. So there should be something to write about there…
Anyway. None of this matters, or will ever matter, if I don’t update this thing. Regularly.