Alex Lifeson's new gig as a writer for a local community paper is turning out to be pretty high-profile. In addition to penning a regular column called "The Meaning of Lifeson," he's helping drum up money for the paper through a pair of fundraising efforts.

As Lifeson revealed last month, he was approached by his friend Dave Bidini about being part of West End Phoenix, the new Toronto-based paper Bidini started. Published with illustrations by artist Casey McGlinn, "The Meaning of Lifeson" offers dryly humorous observations from the Rush co-founder — like those laid out in the second installment, "Important Considerations for Starting a Rockband."

In order to help raise money for the Phoenix, Lifeson signed and hand-numbered 100 copies of the paper containing that column, which are now available for purchase through the Rush Backstage Club website for $150. As the Rush Is a Band fan site notes, Lifeson will participate in another Phoenix fundraiser at the end of the month, when he's scheduled to perform as part of a March 29 benefit show for the paper. Details and ticketing information are available at the Six Shooter Records website.

As Lifeson told the Globe and Mail, his West End Phoenix columns are just one way he's broken out of his creative mold since Rush went on seemingly permanent hiatus — and he's appreciated the opportunity. "I was panicking. I thought, "What am I going to do? What can I do that's going to be funny or different or special in some way?" So, initially I wasn't sure about it. This is not my field," he recalled. "It's fun to put yourself in an uncomfortable situation. If you have a little bit of confidence and you just get out of your own way, these things can happen."

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