A Capital Lament: The End of an Era

Friday, September 11, 2009.

It’s Poetry Friday and, since I’ve been pushed beyond my limits by members of the book industry’s dark side, we present a poem I wrote back in the spring of 2005 to lament the loss of CBC Ottawa’s much loved afternoon host, Brent Bambury.

I’ve loved doing Just One More Book!! and it will be sad to turn my back on it.

While I’m reflecting on the future of what has been a huge part of our family, every single day for more than three years, I thought it was appropriate to share this era-ending poem (read by its recipient, Brent Bambury).

A Capital Lament — by Andrea Ross, May 2005.

That April day, infused by May, seemed clearly heaven sent,
The Gomery mess couldn’t bug us less — we’re listening to Brent!
Big news from Rome, then Pow! our own calamitous event,
We’d lost our man, and thus began our Capital Lament.

In two aught two, when Brent was new, our cautious ears we lent,
But soon his pace, words, voice and taste led to enravishment.
Who know his stint would be a glint? That Go! would lead to went?
And we’d be left a town bereft, despite all blandishments.

Robert Fontaine, comedien, now who will he torment?
Will Lucy sob? Or grab the job? To whom will Laurence vent?
We’re sure of this, we’ll sorely miss our host omniloquent.
You’re lane to fame is Hog Town‘s gain. Best luck and Thank you, Brent.

Read Mark’s post about Just One More Book!! as a member of our family: The baby, the bathwater, or both?


Comment by mylittlesoapbox

September 11, 2009 @ 8:31 am

I don’t usually click over because I have the episodes coming to my itunes. But today I wanted to say Thanks for all the wonderful books and for all the great interviews.

Comment by Just One More Book!!

September 11, 2009 @ 8:44 am

Thank you so much, Bobbi. That means a lot.

Comment by MotherReader

September 11, 2009 @ 10:08 am

This just cannot be true! You are too much a fabric of our community to leave. Who’s bothering you guys? Want us to beat ’em up?

Comment by woody

September 11, 2009 @ 10:24 am

wait, please don’t tell me JOMB is in danger of ending!? You guys are so great and I love the show please keep on keepin’ on!

Comment by Tim Coyne

September 11, 2009 @ 10:38 am

That must have been a wonderful experience, to meet Brent and share your poem with him. Thank you for sharing it with your listeners. Very cool!

Comment by Just One More Book!!

September 11, 2009 @ 10:38 am

Pam, Woody,

Thanks for your encouragement.

All good things must come to an end.

I don’t want too be hasty and I’d like to see if I can remove the publishing-industry factor completely but, unless we promote only books created by deceased authors, illustrators and publishers, books which are no longer for sale (library access only) or books the sale of which benefits only guaranteed-nice-people (!), there is always the potential for us to be punished for our volunteer efforts.

And this camel’s back (as flimsy as it may be) has been broken and re-broken.

We’ve had a few suggestions that just might work, but we’ll be off the grid for a while (as soon as we’ve honoured our existing interview commitments) and will think very carefully before making our next move.

Thanks again for listening and for your support

Comment by Just One More Book!!

September 11, 2009 @ 10:42 am

Hey Mr. Tim Hollywood Coyne!

Thanks so much for dropping by and taking time to leave a note.

Let’s see, what rhymes with Tim? and can I work in “Weeeeeeeeeee!!” ? I’ll work on that in time for PAB10

Comment by Jen Robinson

September 11, 2009 @ 10:52 am

Oh, Andrea, I’m so sorry that people are giving you a hard time, when all you’re trying to do is share great books. If there’s anything I can do … if you need to vent offline or anything … just let me know. Without the full context, all I can say here is: much as JOMB would be missed terribly if you decided to stop posting, you and Mark need to do what makes you happy, and what works for your family. That’s ultimately what’s important.

Comment by Just One More Book!!

September 11, 2009 @ 11:04 am

Thanks, Jen.

We absolutely love JOMB, we love singing the praises of books we love, we love JOMB being part of our family and, as you of all people know, even a tonne of work is not a problem if the net result *feels good*.

Trouble is, maybe with the publishing world being in a panic, the build up of the aspects we *don’t* love, have just passed some critical point.

I wish we could rework JOMB so that our efforts and personal financial investments didn’t line the pockets of anyone and never resulted in me feeling completely taken advantage of when I later learn that the author/illustrator/publisher/publicist related to a book I love is pushy, arrogant or just plain thoughtless and thinks I work for them, don’t have anything better to do, and doesn’t appreciate the time I put into that tag line, single summary, or all the submitted books I had to read before I got to the book that makes it to the show.

As you can see, I’ve reached some point and really should retreat and regroup!

Thanks again!

Comment by Jacqueline Pearce

September 11, 2009 @ 12:15 pm

Just wanted to add my appreciation for all you’ve done to celebrate and inform about kids’ books! Wishing you well in what ever you decide.

Jacquie Pearce

Comment by AZ

September 11, 2009 @ 12:31 pm

Just One More Book is by far one of the best things in kidlit. In my personal opinion, it’s one of the best things about the internet at large. Honestly.

Thanks for introducing me to many wonderful books and authors and illustrators. And introducing me to the two of you! JOMB had the greatest influence on us starting our own blog. Thanks for that too!

So sorry about the effects of thoughtless, self-centered people. How draining. They obviously recognize the Best when they see it. Too bad they don’t then treat you like the Best as well.

I know that JOMB has been a member of your family. It also sure seems (I’m sure to a far lesser extent) like a member of mine! After listening to your voices weekly for years, there’s the feeling (illusion?) that I know you guys, that you’re friends. I know that’s silly, and one-sided (obviously you haven’t heard my voice in return all those years!). But know that I care about you guys and want the best for you.

Love you guys and thanks!

Comment by Gregory K.

September 11, 2009 @ 1:47 pm

This makes me sad, less for the possible loss of JOMB (which would be VERY sad) but more that the two of you are in this position AND that people could be so callous and unthinking as to push the two of you into this state.

I hope that retreating and regrouping create a way for you to make JOMB work with your lives, however that might be. But I echo Jen’s sentiments: much as I’m grateful for all that you’ve done for children’s literature, the two of you must put yourselves first in this equation.

Very sad, indeed, particularly since it comes from an industry I have been proud to be part of….

Comment by Troy Wilson

September 11, 2009 @ 3:12 pm

I echo all the praise and sympathy expressed here. You guys are great and it’s unfortunate that the bad apples are spoiling it for you.

Comment by Lee Wind

September 11, 2009 @ 3:55 pm

Wow. I guess I’d just like to suggest that as you guys re-group, consider what you LOVED about JOMB from the outset. What was the gem of it that made you happiest? And maybe, there’s a way to re-claim that in a re-launched version? You work sooooo hard at this and it’s clearly a passion, I’m saddened that you don’t feel how appreciated you are, and that the tough stuff has overshadowed the fun stuff.
You have amassed an incredible archive – perhaps there’s some way to leverage that in moving forward?
Whatever happens, know you have FANS (not just JOMB, but each of you as kid lit colleagues), and I am proud to count myself among them!
Hugs to you both,

Comment by Mark

September 11, 2009 @ 7:08 pm

Thank you, everyone, for your amazing support and kind words. It hasn’t been an easy decision to make, and it’s really been a long time coming. That is, the “dark forces” have been amping up their campaign for the last few months.

It’s still too early to tell what will unfold. We need to take time out to get over the frustration and re-energize before we can give this serious thought. Whatever the case, there will be changes. I really take all of the thoughts and suggestions seriously not just because they’re good suggestions, but because I can tell that what we do is appreciated by so many people.

In the meantime, we have some great interviews queued up including Aaron Zenz and his children (all contributors to our Love of Reading Gallery) and Jeanne Willis. So, we’ll still be delivering amazing content for another little.

Comment by Mark

September 11, 2009 @ 7:09 pm

…while. 🙂

Comment by Candace Ryan

September 12, 2009 @ 1:28 am

Thanks to both of you for all that you’ve done to spotlight and champion excellent books for kids. I’m sorry that you’ve had to experience the “bunny eat bunny” side of the business. Best wishes for a speedy recovery so that both of you may continue (even if in a new expression) the good and important work that you do.

Comment by Carol Brendler

September 12, 2009 @ 8:19 pm

I feel terrible about this. Truly, no good deed goes unpunished. Thanks for sharing all your time and enthusiasm.

Comment by christine tripp

September 13, 2009 @ 8:04 am

Here I will only say, darn, darn, DARN (I would use another word but it’s not suitable for a children’s book site)
I have no idea what has been going on, certainly most publishers would be THRILLED to have their books reviewed on this site.
If there is any way any of us loyal listener/readers can lessen the stress put on both of you by the “forces” let us know. I repect that only you guys know what is right or wrong for you, but DARN, it will be awful to see the “creeps” win and all of us loose.
It’s been great, you’ve both done so much for the industry, the creatives and, most especially, the kids that LOVE books!
Best of luck, no matter what unfolds.

Comment by Mark

September 13, 2009 @ 8:33 am

Thanks for jumping in Candace, Carol and Christine. We really appreciate the positive feedback.

Andrea and I been talking about JOMB *a lot* lately. We’re still venting our frustration so it’s hard to determine what the future will be at this time. If anything happens, we’ll post it here.

Comment by Jules

September 13, 2009 @ 2:53 pm

I’ve already shared my thoughts personally with Andrea. But I’ll say it again: Love you guys. Do what you need to do. Take a break. I know what that’s like, to need to step back, take a breath, and regroup. Hope you can come back in the way that makes you happy!

Comment by kirsti

September 15, 2009 @ 9:26 pm

Mark and Andrea, I’m really sorry to hear this!

I know all things come to an end eventually, but it’s very sad that this is the reason why.

I’m absolutely blown away by the sheer volume of wonderful review and interview content that you two have put together over the years. What a wonderful accomplishment! I’ve really loved listening to the podcast. There have been some wonderfully enlightening and informative interviews from the bright side of the publishing world and I’m thankful that those came to be through your tireless and generous work.

Mark, I was honoured to be included in one of your interviews along with two of my fellow Vancouver kid lit creators. Even though the sight of a microphone is enough to send me diving under the table, you turned an interview into an extremely lively conversation about books which is a testament to your considerable abilities as an interviewer.

Thank you both so much for sharing your passion for kid lit with the rest of us!

Comment by tanita

September 20, 2009 @ 1:08 pm

Oh, dear. I don’t always comment extensively on the blogs and podcasts I listen to, and I feel sad now that I never told you before how much I appreciate you guys being part of the blogosphere.

You will be missed, but I totally respect you guys regrouping and trying to find a way that this will be fun again.


Comment by Debbie

September 20, 2009 @ 6:42 pm

So sorry to hear this – not just that you will be gone, but why. Count me as another who loves and appreciates what you’ve done here!

Comment by Susan Thomsen

September 23, 2009 @ 7:55 pm

Oh, gosh, you guys. I hate hearing that you might close up shop. What a loss! Just look at that amazing list of children’s book creators.

Comment by Just One More Book!!

September 24, 2009 @ 8:07 am

Jules, Kirstie, Tanita, Debbie, Susan,

Thank you so much for listening over the years and for your kind words. It sure is fabulous to receive such great feedback — it can be a very lonely feeling sending content out into the ether three times a week and receiving in return almost exclusively requests for more free promotion work.

Having created 3 episodes of JOMB every single week for 3.5 years, the absence of JOMB this past 2 weeks has felt extremely strange. When we read great books, I *want* to shout and share and sing the praises of the brilliant people behind them (which is why we created JOMB in the first place) and Lucy and Bayla (and Mark!) are just heartbroken at the thought of losing JOMB.

We’ve spent a lot of time trying to think of strategies to extract the hurtful parts and keep the parts of JOMB that our family loves. It’s tricky but my now that I’ve had 2 weeks of distance, the feelings of indignation are subsiding so I’m hoping for a happy ending.

Thanks again for your support and for all each of you do to promote great children’s books and a love of reading.


Comment by Tarie

September 24, 2009 @ 11:53 am

I love you guys SO MUCH. So so so so much.

Comment by Saints and Spinners

September 25, 2009 @ 1:07 am

I know I don’t often comment, but I’m going to miss you both. Let us know what we can do to bring in “fresh horses”.

Comment by Just One More Book!!

September 25, 2009 @ 7:27 am

Thank you Tarie & Farida!! You’re kind words are sunshine!

Comment by Terry Doherty

September 27, 2009 @ 4:39 pm

Y’all know how much I love your passion for kids, reading, and children’s books. Even without JOMB, I know that won’t change … and I’ll take comfort in that.

I have discovered so many wonderful books through y’all – and many of them “last year’s news.” So for me, if you found a great book at the library, that would be cool to hear about. But I completely understand.

If there is a way we can continue to keep your voice in the community, count me in. We’ve talked about one idea offline, and I’ll follow your lead on that.

There are lots of new folks who haven’t heard Mark’s interviews and your book discussions. They NEED to know who you are.

I really value your ideas and all that you do for the world as podcasters, as reviewers, as parents, as members of the world community. Thanks, friends.
Hugs! Terry

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