How Does She Do It? A Day in the Life of Deirdre Kelly
How Does She Do It? A Day in the Life of Deirdre Kelly
Deirdre Kelly is a journalist, author and internationally recognized dance critic working for the Style and Real Estate sections of Canada’s The Globe and Mail newspaper. This Tuesday, June 7, she will read from her best-selling memoir, Paris Times Eight, at the Leaside branch of the Toronto Public Library, starting at 2 p.m. Her next book is a revealing look at ballerinas, past and present.
7:30 a.m. I'd like to say this is when I get out of bed, but I am not a morning person, never have been. So this is actually when my husband gets out of bed to turn the espresso machine on for me.
7:45 a.m. I stumble down the stairs unable to speak.
7:46. a.m. Double shot of espresso number one.
7:47 a.m. Double shot of espresso number two
7:48 a.m. Double shot of espresso number three: I am finally awake.
7:49 a.m. I holler upstairs to my kids and ask them when they are going to get out of bed.
8:00 a.m. I turn on my BlackBerry Curve, and read my first tweets of the day.
8:15 a.m. I run back upstairs to dress, and it always takes me longer than I think.
8:45 a.m. I grab my black leather Roots bag stuffed with my notebooks, a multitude of pens, press releases, lipsticks and other detritus of the trade, including the odd parking ticket that still needs paying, and head out the door. My ever-thoughtful husband has already put my overloaded purse and the lunch bag he packed for me the night before in the car, along with the kids. I now drive them to school. It's usually a 10-minute drive. But wouldn't you know it? Pottery Road is under construction. Ah, Toronto in the summer.
9:02 a.m. Late again!
9:20 a.m. At least Jarvis still works, and thanks to the bumper-to-bumper traffic I was able to eat my breakfast in the car on the way to work. I arrive at The Globe and Mail, and this being a newspaper, trust me, I am definitely not the last through the door. Reporters generally stagger in after 10.
9:22 a.m. I turn on my computer and immediately start sifting through the hundreds of emails that daily assail me, most of them pitches from publicists. Hey? What's this? A reader writes in that he loved one of my weekend stories. I’ve also a lengthy voice message, from a man in Port Hope, a lovely man, congratulating me on my book, Paris Times Eight, which he has just read. Now I'm smiling.
9:45 a.m. Run out the door with a notebook in hand and drive to my first assignment of the day: a stylish property for sale in the city's West End. I interview the home owner for the Home of the Week column I write for editor D'Arcy McGovern's weekly Real Estate section.
11:00 a.m. I am back in the car and driving to the next job: the Canadian launch of a new home decor item at a brand name store on Bloor Street West.
12:00 p.m. I am back in the car, and zip open my lunch bag on the seat next to me to scarf back half a homemade sandwich, on my way back to work.
12:20 p.m. At my desk, I am super-focused as I rapidly type out one of the stories from the morning. When done, I typically start another. Often I write up to three stories in a day.
2:00 p.m. I amble over to Style editor, Danny Sinopoli, who sits close by, and show him the press images from the morning's assignment. Sometimes he suggests we both go for a coffee in the cafeteria where we quickly hash out ideas for upcoming Style section front page stories. I typically have lists of ideas prepared in advance and might bring him 10 suggestions of which he might choose just three. He's got high standards, and I like that. When he then tells me to deliver him an 800-word trend piece within two days, I don't complain.
2:20 p.m. Back at my desk, rapidly answering and deleting emails. I also write some myself, including one to the paper's awesome staff of on-site librarians to ask them to help me collate materials for the Style trend piece I am already starting to research. Time is of the essence.
3:00 p.m. I contact a bartender on the West Coast and do a phone interview in preparation for an upcoming In The Mix cocktail column I write for the Saturday Style section.
3:30 p.m. I switch my attention to My Favourite Room, another weekly column, and consult with photo editor Randy Velocci in co-ordinating a room shot in a home in Montreal.
4:15 p.m. I am back in the car, fighting traffic, to get to my kids at their school.
4:30 p.m. They typically are enrolled in an after-school program. Today it’s piano. I meet with the teacher to discuss their progress. As a mother, I am very hands-on. I’ve never had a nanny. Never will.
4:50 p.m. I have a family membership at the outdoor pool at nearby Mooredale House. Swimming is a hobby. It relaxes and re-fortifies me. I do lengths while my children jump in and out of the water, acting goofy, me cheering them on.
5:40 p.m. There are showers on-site: I get to wash my hair! I air dry it on the walk back to the parking lot.
6:15 p.m. I make my kids dinner while listening to Jazz-FM, my favourite Toronto radio station.
6:40 p.m. I organize my son in front of his homework.
6:50 p.m. I drive my daughter to her ballet class. Or to soccer, or to gymnastics: There’s always something.
7:00 p.m. Good thing there’s a shopping mall across from the Matty Eckler community centre where my children take a majority of their after-school programs. I am a committed multi-tasker. While waiting for my daughter to finish her barre, I fill the car with gas, and do my grocery shopping in 20-minutes flat. You can do that if you shop mid-week.
7:50 p.m. Back at home, I look again at my office email.
8:00 p.m. My husband is a professor of cultural anthropology, and when back from teaching at the University of Toronto, he takes over child-care duties. But not before I have laid out my kids’ clothes for the following morning. Gotta stay organized.
8:30 p.m. By this time, I have typically taken my seat at a downtown fashion show, one of many after-hours events I attend as a Globe and Mail reporter, and tweet while watching, still loving the thrill of being the first to know about something and share it with others. Or else, I am at a dance show, reviewing for international blog, criticsatlarge.ca. Dance is my first love.
10:00 p.m. Back at home, I catch up with my husband in the kitchen, he drinking Nescafe, me drinking hot water with black-currant Ribena. Yum.
10:20 p.m. I throw a load of laundry into the washer. Before I turn out the lights for the night, I will have transferred it to the dryer to fold in the morning. I do all the housework myself. It’s my work-out regime.
11:00 p.m. I head upstairs with a transistor radio, and get into bed to read Apollo's Angels, a superb ballet history, while listening to late-night jazz. My next book is on ballet and Jennifer Homan’s book is an inspiration.
11:40 p.m. I keep a pad of paper beside my bed, and write ideas for stories as they come to me. I also write out a to-do list.
12:00 a.m. I turn out the lights and fall instantly asleep, but not before thinking of what the next day's adrenaline rush will be.