Books By Heart: Low Road Forever by Tara Thorne
When Tara Thorne’s career imploded, she took the ‘low road’ to new possibilities
Books by Heart is an initiative to help humanize Nova Scotia hospital care, with a curated collection of ebooks and audiobooks available for free to patients, families, and staff. The reading platform and program are being tested out first at the University of King’s College, and we’ve enlisted some King’s student reviewers to help promote more engagement with the collection within the King’s community. Find out more about the project (and read this book for free if you’re a member of the King’s community!) at BooksByHeartKings.ca
Tara Thorne has practice making little things into big things. She started her career as a freelance reporter writing little stories about a little art scene in a little city and turned it into a platform as loud as her voice.
“I feel like I yell all the time and express all my feelings,” said Thorne, author of a collection of essays called Low Road Forever. “I guess I’m more private than I thought.”
For those who’ve followed Thorne’s work, Low Road Forever is full of insights that will inform their appreciation of her voice. Her own friends were surprised by the book because it covers such a wide breadth of thought they imagined it would be impossible for anyone living outside of Thorne’s skull to know every intimate idea it contains.
It was a little thing that led to Thorne’s first book. A little thing that launched a second chapter in her career. Less than 280 words. A little tweet that caused a catastrophe.
Thorne laughs when she talks about it, but she admits, it was not her finest moment.
“This isn’t any sort of landmark case for free speech,” Thorne said. She’s just happy it’s over, and grateful for the opportunities that followed.
After losing her job at CBC, the Halifax Examiner hired Thorne to do a podcast.
“That turned into a two-year contract,” Thorne said. Funding for her first film was announced around the same time, and Nimbus Publishing offered her a book deal.
“All of these things fell out of the sky,” Thorne said. “Thank God, because I was about ready to walk into the sea.”
It’s hard to agree with Thorne’s assessment. Thorne’s opportunities only “fell out of the sky” after twenty years of writing about Halifax arts and culture. When she earned the artistic licence to write what she wanted, she doubled down on the same ribald honesty that landed her on the outside, making small things in her life, into big things for her audience, including the inspiration for Low Road Forever.
“We’re told to always take the high road. When they go low, we go high,” Thorne said. “I have learned over the years that it’s not actually true. People just say that to deflect from the low road that they are on. It’s just a way to shut people up.”
Thorne said there were times she stayed quiet because she was concerned about what might happen to her career.
“I should have just said what I wanted to say,” Thorne said. “There is no high road, and those people couldn’t have helped me.”
Thorne isn’t proud of everything she’s done, but she is able to laugh at her mistakes, and explain how they shaped her career.
If you are interested in an account of the artistic process as it grows and blossoms throughout a lifetime, Low Road Forever offers incredible insight into one of Canada’s most interesting cultural voices. It’s available now through the Books by Heart Program at Atlantic Books.
Subscribe to Atlantic Books Today! At $15 for two editions a year, we’ll ensure you remain the best-read person in the room.