The Next Chapter

If you liked It Never Ends by Tom Scharpling, you'll love Meg Remy's Begin by Telling

The cultural journalist, radio personality and The Next Chapter columnist finds a Canadian counterpart to an international book.
Vish Khanna is a Canadian cultural journalist, podcaster and radio personality. (Colin Medley)

American comedian, television writer, producer and voice actor Tom Scharpling's It Never Ends is a memoir that covers his life writing comedy amidst a lifelong struggle with mental illness.

The Next Chapter columnist Vish Khanna has read It Never Ends and says if you enjoyed that book you should check out Begin by Telling by American-born, Toronto-based musician and author Meg Remy.

Begin by Telling is a collection of essays that reflect on Remy's life from a young girl growing up in Illinois, her experience with trauma and becoming an experimental artist making a name for herself in Canada. 

It Never Ends by Tom Scharpling

It Never Ends is a memoir by Tom Scharpling. (‎Harry N. Abrams, Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for A24)

"Tom Scharpling is a tremendously talented radio broadcaster, musician, comedy writer and performer currently living in Los Angeles. He is known famously as the host and one of the creative forces behind The Best Show, which is a very popular and very influential weekly internet radio comedy call-in show. 

We thought we knew Tom Scharpling. And then you find out that Tom Scharpling is kind of a pseudonym. It's a character he kind of created to escape the darkness he was feeling.

"Tom has this public platform. He engages with his audience. He loves his audience. Listeners feel like we know him, and he's very open about various things in his life. But when you really get into this book, you realize there are things he's never told anyone before. We thought we knew Tom Scharpling. And then you find out that Tom Scharpling is kind of a pseudonym. It's a character he kind of created to escape the darkness he was feeling. 

"This book is this great unveiling of secrets — of personal trauma, mental health issues — and serious issues that none of us really knew about. I also find it fascinating that he carried this around for all this time without telling anyone. It's really interesting."

Begin by Telling by Meg Remy

Begin by Telling is a book by Meg Remy. (Book*Hug Press, Emma McIntyre)

"Meg Remy is an uncompromising musician, singer, producer, writer and electrifying live music performer. She lives in Toronto — originally from Illinois — and she is the driving force behind the band U.S. Girls. Remy has published her first book with Begin by Telling. I feel some of the things that are very powerful about this book, we have already received as fans of Meg's music. I didn't realize it until I read the book.

Begin by Telling could not be more candid in terms of how that abuse impacted her life trajectory and likely informed the potentially destructive choices she made.

"In retrospect, we have been given some inkling of her own trauma. It's a devastatingly personal story about abuse. Begin by Telling also operates like Scharpling's book — it is a shrewd cultural analysis and critique of the media. Begin by Telling could not be more candid in terms of how that abuse impacted her life trajectory and likely informed the potentially destructive choices she made. But also, it hardened her in a way that most of us couldn't relate to because we haven't been through something.

"Both Scharpling and Remy wrote books that reveal things about themselves that they've never revealed before."

LISTEN | Meg Remy on CBC Radio's The Next Chapter:

Meg Remy from the band U.S. Girls shares what she's learned about grief from the memoir Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala. 2:15

Vish Khanna's comments have been edited for length and clarity.

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