“That Was Then, This Is Now” explores the beginnings of some of Canada’s favourite writers and journalists

Kate Carraway always thought she was going to be a lawyer. “It seemed to be the thing that made sense,” she says. “I was captain of the debate team and I always got good grades in English and history. It was in my head to be a lawyer all the way through high school and through university.” Subconsciously, though, Carraway didn’t want to be in law or politics because they didn’t fit the more “free form” way she wanted to live her life.

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Carraway was at Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern, listening to a band called the Wrens play, when she had an epiphany. “The guys in the band were all older, in their 40s. They all worked at Pfizer in New York and lived in New Jersey. They’re all dads or divorced or whatever. So I was watching the show and I was very high and I was thinking, ‘Wow, imagine if these guys had never gone to work at Pfizer and had never become professionals, and if they had just had this band for the whole time instead. That would have been incredible.’ And I thought, ‘Wait. I don’t have to do this thing that I’m planning to do. Imagine if I was just a writer.’ And I had never articulated it to myself or to anyone else before. I remember it very distinctly. I was standing in the Horseshoe watching the band play, and it was like immediately it all came together, and I understood for the first time, and very clearly, that I was going to be a writer instead of a lawyer.”
The first story Carraway ever pitched was published in NOW magazine—though she can’t remember what it was about. Later, she moved to California to do an internship at O.C. Weekly. “And that was it,” she says. “From then on, I’ve just done the same thing.”

Today, Kate writes columns for The GridViceNational Post, and Elle Canada.