Writing About Toronto.
I enjoy writing about Toronto and not just because I'm from here. It's because Toronto is the type of city where anything can happen. My first novel: North of the Dead, is set in Toronto. Currently, I have two short stories posted on my website: 'The Bird War on Acorn Ave' and 'When the Resident Called.' Both stories also occur in Toronto and contain elements from events I have experienced here or experiences I have heard from other people.
Working downtown in various hospitality positions over the years, I have seen many things, both good and bad. I have talked to a good number of people that have told me all kinds of stories and experiences. Crazy situations I did not think were possible in Toronto. Some stories prove to be true. So I picked out the elements of truth to write entertaining works of fiction.
The city itself has a district look to it and a mosaic of people from around the world that adds to the city's character. All things considered, I feel comfortable saying anything can happen here. That gives me a lot of good material to write about.
What is happening in Washington, DC? Why does their football team have the dullest name in the NFL, the Washington Football Team? With the dullest logo possible to go with it. A football with a big w in the middle. This team is in the NFC East division with teams named the Cowboys, Eagles and Giants. Having only the city name representing the team sounds off.
The Washington Redskins football team finally cut "Redskins" from their name for the 2020 NFL season, which had been on the horizon for years. However, it appears they did not have a new name ready at the time. Is there no money to budget for a marketing agency to help them launch a campaign for a new name or a rebrand?
I have a couple of suggestions. First, in Canada, the capital is Ottawa. The House of Commons is located in Ottawa, making it the center of political power in Canada. Ottawa is home to many politicians that live and work there. Like Washington DC is to the United States. Ottawa's NHL hockey team's name reflects that, the Ottawa Senators. I think naming them the Washington Senators would follow suit with the MLB team, the Nationals, and the NHL team, the Capitals. I believe the Washington Senators has a nice ring to it, and I highly doubt Ottawa will send a cease and desist letter. For example, the New York Jets and Winnipeg Jets both have the word Jets in their name, and no one cares.
Second, in case you're not feeling the Senators. Let us look to the NBA teams' initials W.W. standing for the Washington Wizards. Then, take a step in that direction, the Washington Warriors.
Thirdly, The CFL has a team called the Ottawa Redblacks. The MLB has the Cincinnati Reds, keeping with team names that have colour involved, the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox—referencing the colours of the team uniform. I think the Washington Reds or Royal Reds sounds cool. The team colour is currently burgundy. Red also seems to be a popular colour among Washington professional sports teams. Not too far off. Considering it is the American capital, there must be a proper name. The fans need a name they can stand by, and I think they have a good number of options they can go with. Put something.
Out with the old and in with the new. After over one hundred years in major league baseball, on July 23rd, 2021, The Cleveland Indians finally changed their name. However, is the new name any better? That's what I started to ask myself. The Cleveland Guardians is not the best-sounding named team in major league baseball. Not that their previous name sounded any better. I understand why they needed to change the name. Although, as some are probably thinking. "They couldn't think of anything better," which was my second thought. Then I took a moment to think about it.
Realistically, what is a better option? I have never visited Cleveland, and I know nothing of its history. Still, I tried to think of a better name. I looked up a little about its history; however, nothing could create a better-sounding name. I tried, and I could not do it. The best I could come up with was the Cleveland Cannons which is somewhat cringe-worthy. Even though it partially matches with their NBA team, the Cleveland Cavaliers with the same initials C.C. The city does not have the best-sounding name in the first place. That made it difficult to find a word that could rhyme nicely. C.G. happens to be the initials for the city's arena football team, the Cleveland Gladiators. It looks like this name is here to stay. I respect the owner's decision to change the name, and the logo suits the character. I hope the city transitions well to the new team name.
TOUGHEST DIVISION IN BASEBALL
Being from Toronto, I may not be a Leafs fan, but I am a Blue Jays fan. I have to be honest. The Jays being in the toughest division in baseball, the AL East can be heartbreaking at times. A division with the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays. Three teams, three monsters, and two will take and hold first and second place in the division. Or, as the case this season, first, second and third place.
A division where the being twenty games above .500 still means you may not make the playoffs. To put that in perspective, in other divisions being twelve to eighteen games above .500 means first place. It also means the playoffs. However, this is not the case in the AL East. Far from it. Every game matters, and it's one hell of a mountain to climb each season. Not to be so bleak, I am happy to say that every now and then, Toronto does produce a team that can climb that mountain, fight the monsters and compete for a playoff spot, as rare as that may be. It is not a guarantee we are going to the World Series. That in itself is another mountain to climb.
However, as a fan, it still matters to see your team compete. That's the case with the Jays missing the playoffs by one game and finishing the 2021 season with a good-looking record of 91 wins and 71 losses. It gives you something to cheer for, and it gives you hope. I can't complain. Being in the AL East, it can always be worse, just ask the Orioles, who finished the 2021 season with a 52 win and a 110-loss record. Ouch, that hurts to write. I can imagine a few heads are going to roll in Baltimore after this season's devastating performance. I am looking forward to see what will happen next season in the AL East.
It sounds strange to admit, but film and television got me into writing more than anything else and starting on October 31st, 2010, when AMC took a chance and aired "The Walking Dead," I started writing. I was in grade 10 at the time, heavily inspired by Robert Kirtman's "The Walking Dead" and George A Romero's "Dawn of the Dead." I enjoyed both stories so much I thought I could write my own.
I mapped out my story and started writing it in a notebook whenever I got the chance. I had no idea what challenges I would face or how long it would take to write what would eventually become my first novel, "North of the Dead." For those first few years, I was writing on and off, imagining how to make my story different from other zombie stories. I read "Different Seasons" by Steven King when I wasn't writing to help me get some guidance. I was starting from zero after all. The clean world-building and relatable characters in all four stories helped me out a lot. I would say I enjoy writing more than reading. It just comes more naturally.
Thinking about it now, if I could give 15 year old me a word of advice: If you're writing a zombie book, you should be reading zombie books. However, I was not getting to the bookstore much in those days, so I skipped that step. Instead, I would ask myself, What haven't I seen before? I started by having my story take place in Toronto. Then I wanted it to happen during a cold winter. I imagine you do not see much zombie fiction taking place during the winter because now the writer needs to keep his characters from freezing to death, on top of not being eaten by zombies.
I wanted to look at the idea of being trapped in a frozen city with zombies walking around. I also do not refer to the CN Tower, the Rogers Center, or the Toronto Maple Leafs mainly because I wanted to tell a story that was more than just generic, widely known Toronto symbols. Most Torontonians I know visit the CN Tower once and aren't Maple Leaf fans. Then I wanted to tell a story from the perspectives of many characters. I thought it would be exciting, and it was. However, it made connecting to the accounts without creating a plot hole a little more complicated. Above all else, I wanted to write a story that was action-packed and entertaining above all else.