by LUKE BAUMGARTEN & r & & r & Carrying Water & r & & r & Listening to Isamu Jordan is a little like hearing the monologue of a man watching his life flash before his eyes. The Spokesman-Review music writer, who had anchored -- hell, practically carried at times -- the paper's entertainment tabloid 7, spoke in a time-jumping stream-of-consciousness late Monday night as he took a break from writing his last column. He was officially terminated from the Review last Thursday. According to rumors Jordan has heard, this week's issue may also be the last for 7.
The two weeks he spent awaiting the decision was like being in limbo. "It wasn't fast like a heart attack -- it was slow like cancer," he says. "The worst part was sitting there for two weeks uncertain whether I'd have a job. Then of course finding out that I don't have a job."
You could always tell, though, that writing about music has never really been a job for Jordan. It is something akin to a metaphor for life's possibilities. "I remember growing up reading headlines: Black people sell crack and smoke crack. Black people play basketball and baseball," says Jordan, who is black himself. "So they're either junkies or criminals or entertainers."
He fretted over a media environment that made him feel as though his only options were sports or self-destruction. Jordan found writing in the halls of the Review at age 15 and felt like he'd found his calling. "I never heard of black teachers or reporters growing up," he says, "I wanted to be part of that change."
Now that he finds himself outside the paper he's devoted more than half his life to, he finds himself looking for a new job or even a new trade. He's committed, though, to the same mission. "I'm not just going to move to Seattle or Portland and think it's going to mean the same thing," says Jordan of the meaning he's found covering this scene in this town. He speaks inclusively of bands and club owners and media types all engaged in a kind of communal effort at scene building. The scene has spent almost a decade plowing the earth and carrying the water, Jordan says, "and I still want to see what kind of fruit it's going to bear."