Neverending edits

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Having two books coming out this fall is both a blessing and a curse. The first, The Goaltenders’ Union, was done and submitted when the second one, Written in Blue and White dropped in my lap. So Written in Blue and White has been a fast-forward job, and that’s continued throughout the post-writing process (a compressed three months for roughly 25,000 words, and 42 different interviews).

So there’s been the luxury of time when working on the edits of The Goaltenders’ Union, but not so with Written in Blue and White, which has also been a far more complicated book to layout, marrying up text with a historical Toronto Maple Leafs document, and a photo. (Page 2 of the Table of Contents is reproduced above, with a note from the designer.)

Then last week, BOTH books arrived for me to proofread and to check the layout.

Written in Blue and White had to come first, and had a ton of issues with the layout, all in an effort to make it look spectacular too. (And it does!) So I submitted those fixes, and the next version has already come back to me before I had gotten just a little past halfway in The Goaltenders’ Union.

I’m looking for spelling mistakes, punctuation errors, for editing issues, and doublechecking the caption information under the photos.

It’s overwhelming at times.

Add on negotiations and interviews for future books, my regular work on SLAM! Wrestling, and real life, like helping at my son’s school, and I find myself appreciating those calming cups of tea.

Fightin’ Friday at Off The Record

OTR

Last Friday, I got a chance to go on TSN’s Off The Record for the first time, and it was a blast.

It was really neat to see the behind the scenes aspect of the show — the producer, the sound guy, the makeup, the TV cameras, etc.

Host Michael Landsberg couldn’t have been nicer, and everyone was very accommodating of my son, Quinn, who was along for the ride. For a seven-year-old, he hung in there okay. On the way there, he quizzed me on the proposed subjects for the sports talk show, and he ran down the quick bios on the other guests on the panel on Friday.

David Bastl was easily the most comfortable on camera, as co-host of radio’s Mike Richards in the Morning Show, on TSN 1050. Wade MacNeil is a musician with a great voice; currently he fronts Gallows, but was also a part of Black Lungs and Alexisonfire in the past.

But there was no question that Lauren Howe, a Miss Universe Canada Contestant, was the beauty between the beasts. The University of Toronto engineering student knows her sports, for sure.

Michael Landsberg got on my case a bit for being a homer for the Leafs (and the Argos). Well-deserved abuse, I know.

We talked about the Leafs and Brendan Shanahan’s apparent hiring, about the state of the Leafs and the Senators, and a few other topics too.

Here’s the Off The Record website

The only downside of the whole thing (besides only sushi in the green room, blecch!) was the drive across the city then out to Hamilton so Quinn and I could see Black Sabbath on Friday night. How do people commute like that everyday? It’s insane.

Going Off The Record

This afternoon, I’m taping my first appearance on the TSN program Off The Record. It’s a fun show where the sports topics of the day are discussed with long-time host Michael Landsberg. Tune in at 5 pm ET, of find some of the replays — or stream it online at tsn.ca/shows/otr.

I’ve BEEN to OTR tapings before, a couple actually, but they were always related to appearances of big-name pro wrestlers. Sometimes I did an interview with the star beforehand — the WWE inviting me out there to kill the proverbial two birds with one stone.

Sable, Rena Mero, was one of them that I met at OTR. She’d be in the where-are-they-now? file, except for the fact that she is married to badass Brock Lesnar.

I’m looking forward to it, though I have to chuckle that six wrestling books don’t get me on the show, but one hockey book does. Ah, life in Canada!

First look at layout for Written in Blue and White

WrittenInBlueandWhiteHIRESIt’s one thing to write a book, but it’s quite another to SEE your book. I just got PDFs for the first look at Written in Blue and White: The Toronto Maple Leafs Contracts and Historical Documents from the Collection of Allan Stitt.

This is quite a unique book, and it was a challenge on a number of fronts.

The documents include contracts, personal letters, memos from the Leafs and the NHL, schedules, and more.

So, after picking which documents to highlight, I had to write the 25,000 in three months for one thing, and there were about 40 interviews that I conducted for it.

Then the hunt was on for photos to run with the stories about the contracts.

We spent an entire day doing high-quality scans of the images.

Following that, I played matchmaker of sorts, creating a document in Excel that married up the text I had written to the scan of the document to the photo that accompanied it, and the photo caption with it. The photo credits are actually pretty easy, as all but two images come from the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Okay, off to look at the pages now!

WrestleMania XV memories

It’s funny, the one photo of me at a WrestleMania that’s on the wall in our house is from WrestleMania XV in 1999. It was in Philadelphia, and the picture is me with the one and only Isaac Hayes. The legendary musician and producer was there because he was a big deal as the voice of Chef on South Park, and the hit Chocolate Salty Balls was perfect for the Attitude Era of WWF at the time.

Technically, the photo wasn’t from the show itself, but from the Rage Party that preceded the show, and was the precursor to what has become known as the multi-day WWE Fan Axxess event. (Here’s my report from the event.)

At that same media event in Philly, I got to interview a bunch of people, as they rolled in a number of wrestlers into a media room during the party.

Some recollections (and links to the old stories!):

I got to meet Jerry Lawler, and tell him about the King Lawler as AWA World champion Tshirt that I own. An audience with The King

The Rock, whom I’d met before, when he was just Rocky Miavia. Pretty sure he gave his first-ever interview as a wrestler to me in Toronto. In Philadelphia though, he was a main eventer. Rock humbled by WM15 experience

Hard to believe that the New Age Outlaws of Road Dogg and Billy Gunn are on the WrestleMania XXX card this year, and were on the show 15 years ago too. But I barely remember this interview: Outlaws have different takes

I don’t remember talking to Ken Shamrock either, but I did: Shamrock seeing Gold

I DO remember Edge (Adam Copeland) coming out and we laughed that I didn’t need to interview him because I had only days before in Toronto during his media rounds there.