Transcript: Judith Timson | Dec 03, 1996

(Rhythmic string and wind music plays)

In animation, a word in pink slides by against a gray background as hands paint strokes using paintbrushes, play a piano, and touch as in a ballet performance.

The title of the show reads “Dialogue.”

Richard Ouzounian appears facing the screen. He's in his late forties, clean-shaven, with short side-parted blond hair. He's wearing rounded glasses, a blue suit, striped shirt and patterned tie.

He says SOME PEOPLE WOULD SAY THE
FAMILY IS CALLED NUCLEAR
BECAUSE IT'S SUBJECT TO
EXPLOSIONS, FLARE-UPS AND
MELTDOWNS THAT WOULD
DO CHERNOBYL PROUD.
BUT YOU'RE ABOUT TO MEET
SOMEONE WHO HAS SPENT THE LAST
FIVE YEARS IN HER COLUMN
IN CHATELAINE TRYING
TO PROVE OTHERWISE.
THIS DIALOGUE IS
WITH JUDITH TIMSON.

Richard and Judith sit at a table in a large living room decorated with pastel colours and hardwood furniture. They each have a cup of coffee. Judith is in her forties, with short wavy blond hair. She’s wearing an orange blazer over a black shirt, and golden pendant earrings.

Richard continues SO JUDITH, IT'S ABOUT 20 YEARS
AGO, I WAS A WRITER, YOU WERE
A JOURNALIST, AND YOU
INTERVIEWED ME FOR
MACLEAN'S, AND NOW THE SHOE
IS ON THE OTHER FOOT, AND I'M
A JOURNALIST AND
YOU'RE THE WRITER.
SO HOW DO YOU FEEL?

Judith says I FEEL RELAXED, CONFIDENT,
AND READY TO GO.

Richard says EXCELLENT.
YOU MUST HAVE BEEN
READY TO GO FOR A WHILE.
I WAS THINKING ABOUT THIS
WHEN, THIS WOMAN WHO I'VE
KNOWN AS A JOURNALIST AND A
WRITER FOR A WHILE, SUDDENLY,
IT WAS ABOUT FIVE YEARS AGO,
IF I REMEMBER, MILDRED ISTONA
ASKED YOU TO START WRITING
A COLUMN IN
CHATELAINE.

Judith says THAT'S RIGHT.

Richard says NOW, WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION,
FIRST, WHEN SHE ASKED YOU TO
DO THAT?

Judith says WELL, I HAD SPENT A GREAT
DEAL OF MY CAREER DOING
IN-DEPTH PIECES, POLITICAL
PIECES, LITERARY PROFILES.
AND I WAS USED TO FOLLOWING
PEOPLE AROUND, HANGING OUT
WITH THEM IN TOM WOLFE
FASHION, AND WRITING THESE
VERY, VERY REVELATORY AND
SOMETIMES SHARP-WORDED
PROFILES, AND THEN HOPING I
WOULD NEVER RUN INTO THEM
IN A BACK ALLEY.

Richard says RIGHT.

Judith says SUDDENLY, I WAS BEING ASKED
TO TURN THE TABLES IN A
DIFFERENT WAY AND WRITE
ABOUT MY OWN FAMILY.
AND I EXPERIENCED A LOT
OF TERROR AROUND THIS.
I THOUGHT, AM I GOING TO
BETRAY THE PEOPLE I LOVE?
AND BELIEVE ME, RUNNING INTO
A POLITICIAN YOU'VE WRITTEN
ABOUT IS NOTHING COMPARED
TO MEETING YOUR SUBJECTS
AT THE BREAKFAST TABLE.
YOU BETTER HAVE
GOTTEN IT RIGHT.

Richard says YOU KNOW, I'M CURIOUS, YOU
SPENT SO MANY YEARS TRYING
TO LOSE THE FIRST
PERSON SINGULAR.
YOU KNOW, THERE WEREN'T A
LOT OF I'S IN YOUR WRITING.
AND SUDDENLY, IT TURNS AROUND
AND IT IS ALL ABOUT I.
WAS THAT A RELIEF
OR A BURDEN?

Judith says WELL, WRITERS ARE USUALLY --
WRITERS CAN GET TO THE
I PRETTY FAST WHEN
THEY WANT TO.
AND, YOU KNOW, IN JOURNALISM
SCHOOL, THEY TRY TO PUT DUCT
TAPE OVER THE “I” KEY SO THAT
YOU NEVER, EVER, USE IT.
BUT WE ALL HAVE OPINIONS, AND
WE GO INTO WRITING BECAUSE
WE WANT TO SHARE OUR
WORLD VIEW, OUR VISION.
SO NO, THE
I
PART WASN'T THE HARDEST PART.
THE PART TO ME WAS THE HARDEST
WAS SAYING I'M GOING TO
REVEAL JUST THIS MUCH AND
NO MORE ABOUT MY FAMILY.
AND IT WAS KNOWING WHEN TO
STOP, AND NOT, FOR EXAMPLE,
SAYING SOMETHING THAT
WOULD HURT MY HUSBAND,
MY MOTHER-IN-LAW, MY MOTHER,
ETC. AND I DID, AS I DID
THESE COLUMNS OVER FIVE
YEARS, I DID DO THINGS THAT
BOTHERED MY FAMILY MEMBERS.
BUT IN THE LONG RUN, I
THINK I WAS FAIRLY FAIR.
AND NOT DISCREET.
I DON'T WANT TO BE DISCREET.
I THINK THAT'S A TERRIBLE
THING FOR A WRITER TO BE.
BUT I DIDN'T LEAVE THEM
ON THE FLOOR, YOU KNOW.
I WAS CAREFUL
IN THAT SENSE.

Richard says NOW, I BETTER DO LITTLE BIT
OF DISCLOSURE, WHICH IS THAT
YOU AND I --

Judith says MORE DISCLOSURE, RICHARD.
HOW MUCH MORE
CAN WE TAKE?

Richard says PLEASE, JUDITH, THIS IS
AN EDUCATIONAL NETWORK.
DISCLOSURE IS THE
ORDER OF THE DAY.

Judith says OKAY, DISCLOSE AWAY.

Richard says YOU AND I LIVE IN THE
SAME NEIGHBOURHOOD.
IN FACT, IF TRUTH BE TOLD,
OUR CHILDREN HAVE BEEN GOING
FOR YEARS TO THE SAME SCHOOL.
BOTH OF WHICH SHALL
REMAIN NAMELESS.
NOW, I REMEMBER I WOULD
RUN INTO YOU IN LOBLAW'S
FREQUENTLY, WE'D BE SHOPPING,
AND YOU'D BE, AS YOU SAID,
ISN'T THIS A WONDERFUL WAY
TO AVOID HAVING TO WRITE?
AND I WOULD AGREE BECAUSE I
HAD A PROJECT I DIDN'T WANT TO
DO, YOU HAD A PROJECT YOU
DIDN'T WANT TO DO, BUT IDEAS
WERE ALWAYS PERKING IN
THE BACK OF YOUR HEAD.
AND I'M CURIOUS HOW LONG IT
TOOK FROM GERMINATION TO
EXECUTION ON SOME
OF THESE PIECES?

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Judith Timson. Writer."

Judith says WELL, FOR EXAMPLE, I SAW YOU
FINGERING THOSE GREEN PEPPERS
IN LOBLAW'S, AND WE HAD THIS
HILARIOUS DISCUSSION ABOUT
WORKING AT HOME.
AND A LOT OF THAT WOUND ITS
WAY, MY IDEAS ABOUT WORKING AT
HOME, INTO A COLUMN.
AND THAT WAS TWO AND
A HALF YEARS LATER.
BUT WHAT I WOULD NORMALLY DO
IS I WOULD HAVE DIALOGUES WITH
MYSELF ON THE COMPUTER, AND
I WOULD COMPILE A LIST OF
THINGS THAT FASCINATED ME.
AND BELIEVE ME, A TRIP AROUND
MY NEIGHBOURHOOD WAS ALL I
NEEDED TO GET IDEAS ABOUT
WRITING ABOUT FAMILY LIFE,
MODERN FAMILY LIFE.
I WOULD GO ACROSS THE STREET
AND TALK TO MY NEIGHBOUR, AND
SHE WOULD SAY SOMETHING ABOUT,
YOU KNOW, SOMETHING ABOUT HER
DOMESTIC SITUATION, OR
WHATEVER, AND IT WOULD START
ME THINKING ABOUT
MY OWN FAMILY.
AS WOULD, I THINK A LOT OF
WHAT I ENDED UP DOING WAS
CONFRONTING THE PROBLEMS
IN MY OWN FAMILY.
WE'RE LIVING IN A
VERY STRESSFUL TIME.
OUR FAMILIES DON'T... THERE
ARE A LOT OF MELTDOWNS.
I'M NOT PROVING OTHERWISE.
I THINK I'M SAYING WE DO
LIVE IN A TIME WHEN FAMILY
MELTDOWNS ARE FREQUENT.
AND A LOT OF WHAT I TRY TO
COME TO TERMS WITH IN THESE
COLUMNS WERE THOSE BAD
MORNINGS, OR THOSE BAD
EVENINGS, FOR THAT MATTER.

Richard says THERE'S TWO COMMENTS I
HEARD ABOUT YOUR WRITING.
ONE OF THEM IS A GOOD ONE,
AND ONE OF THEM ISN'T.
AND I'LL LET YOU HAVE A
CHANCE TO SPEAK TO BOTH.
I HAVE A FRIEND IN A TOTALLY
DIFFERENT NEIGHBOURHOOD IN THE
CITY WHO SAID TO ME, RATHER
SKEPTICALLY ONE DAY,
DO YOU KNOW THIS
JUDITH TIMSON?
AND I INSTANTLY
PRETENDED I DIDN'T.
I WAS VAGUELY ACQUAINTED
WITH YOUR WRITING.
AND THEY SAID, WELL, I'M
CONVINCED THAT'S A PSEUDONYM
FOR SOMEONE WHO LIVES
IN OUR NEIGHBOURHOOD.
BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT, AND SHE
PROCEEDED TO TAKE OUT COLUMNS
OF YOURS FROM
CHATELAINE.
SHE HAD A PILE OF
CHATELAINE'S
AND PROCEEDED
TO QUOTE CHAPTER AND VERSE WHY
THAT WAS ABOUT THAT BOY IN
HER SON'S CLASS, AND THAT WAS
ABOUT THAT SCHOOLTEACHER, AND
THAT WAS ABOUT THAT PRINCIPAL.
NOW, DID YOU GET
A LOT OF THAT?
PEOPLE WHO WERE CONVINCED YOU
WERE REALLY WRITING ABOUT THEM

Judith says OF COURSE.
BECAUSE WHAT DOES IT PROVE?
IT PROVES THAT WHAT WE ARE
GOING THROUGH IS UNIVERSAL.
AND I GUESS THE COMMENT I LIKE
THE MOST THAT I CONNECTED
WITH THE MOST WAS WERE PEOPLE
SAYING TO ME, YOU WERE AT MY
BREAKFAST TABLE THIS MORNING.
OR YOU MUST HAVE
BEEN READING MY MIND.
I FIND THAT VERY COMFORTING
BECAUSE IN SOME WAYS,
I THOUGHT MAYBE WHEN I WROTE
ABOUT BEING SO EXERCISED ABOUT
MY SON BEING TREATED UNFAIRLY
AT SCHOOL THAT I CRIED ON THE
PHONE TO THE PRINCIPAL, I
THOUGHT, MAYBE I'M THE ONLY
NEUROTIC PERSON LEFT IN THE
UNIVERSE, BUT IN FACT,
IT TURNED OUT MOST PARENTS
I KNOW HAVE CRIED
IN THE PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE.

Richard says BUT THE VINTAGE JUDITH TIMSON
TOUCH IS AFTER YOU CRIED ON
THE PHONE TO THE PRINCIPAL,
YOU THEN WROTE A FAX WHICH YOU
EDITED TWICE, AND THEN SENT
THROUGH TO THE SCHOOL.

Judith laughs and says THAT'S RIGHT, THAT'S RIGHT.
AND THEN COMPOUNDING THAT,
I THEN WRITE ABOUT IT
AND PUBLISH IT.
SO IT'S KIND OF AN OUT OF
MIND, OUT OF BODY EXPERIENCE.
WHERE CONSTANTLY I'M -- IT'S
A WAY FOR ME TO EXPERIENCE
FAMILY LIFE, OR IT WAS A
WAY TO STAY CLOSE TO HOME,
AND YET TO PRACTICE MY CRAFT,
TO KEEP GOING AS A WRITER.
BUT I FOUND IT VERY DIFFICULT.
THERE WAS A TIME WHEN MY
CHILDREN WERE VERY YOUNG THAT
I WAS TRYING TO DO
POLITICAL REPORTING.
AND I THINK WHAT FINISHED ME
OFF WAS A VERY LONG PIECE
ON THE NDP COMING TO POWER.
AND I WAS FRANTIC TRYING TO
BALANCE WHAT WAS GOING ON AT
HOME WITH CABINET MINISTERS
TELLING ME YOU BETTER BE
AT THIS MEETING.
AND ONE DAY I JUST BLEW IT AND
I SAID, I'M SORRY I HAVE
TO GO TO TOYS 'R US.
AND THIS POMPOUS EXECUTIVE
ASSISTANT LOOKED AS ME
AS IF I WERE MENTAL.
AND I TRIED TO RECOUP BY
SAYING I'M THE PRESIDENT
OF TOYS 'R US, BUT HE
DIDN'T BELIEVE ME.
AND, IN FACT, WHAT I WAS DOING
WAS I WAS LIVING THE LIFE
OF A WORKING MOTHER.
THE SECRET PSYCHOSIS
OF MOTHERS WHO WORK.
I HAD THE SPLIT BRAIN.
ON THE ONE HAND, I WAS REALLY
CONCERNED ABOUT MY SON'S
FIVE-YEAR-OLD BIRTHDAY
PARTY -- AND WELL I SHOULD BE.
ON THE OTHER HAND, I WAS
TRYING TO GET A FEEL FOR WHAT
SOCIALISM WOULD DO TO ONTARIO.
BIG ISSUES.

Richard says ABOUT THE SAME, IN SOME WAYS.

Judith says I'M NOT SAYING EITHER ONE IS
MORE IMPORTANT AT THIS POINT.

Richard says I REMEMBER THERE IS GREAT
REVELATIONS IN YOUR BOOK.
YOU TALK ABOUT THE WOMAN WHO
WAS VERY CLOSE TO YOUR FAMILY
FOR YEARS AS A NANNY-SITTER,
WHATEVER YOU WANT TO CALL HER.
AND WHEN SHE FINALLY LEFT, YOU
MENTIONED THINKING BACK TO
THOSE DAYS WHEN YOU WOULD
DRIVE BACK HOME, AND YOU WOULD
WAIT OUTSIDE AND LOOK INSIDE,
AND SEE YOUR CHILDREN
PERFECTLY CONTENT WITH THIS
WOMAN AND FEEL JOY AND PAIN
AT THE SAME TIME.

Judith says THAT'S RIGHT.
I DON'T THINK WE EVER
GET OVER THAT FEELING.
AND I THINK, FIRST OF ALL, I
WANT TO SAY SOMETHING ABOUT
WORKING MOTHERS.
I BELIEVE ALL MOTHERS
WORK -- ARE WORKING MOTHERS.
I HATE THE TERM
'WORKING MOTHERS'.
AND I HATE THE DIVISIONS THAT
COME UP BETWEEN MOTHERS WHO
STAY AT HOME AND LOOK AFTER
THEIR CHILDREN AND MOTHERS
WHO HAVE TO GO OUT AND WORK.
WHAT I'VE DISCOVERED IS THAT
THE MAJORITY OF US GO OUT
AND WORK, EITHER IN FULL OR
PART-TIME POSITIONS.
AND WE WILL NEVER GET OVER THE
CONFLICT AND THE FEELING OF
LEAVING OUR CHILDREN,
AND THEN COMING BACK.
WHAT DO WE FIND
WHEN WE COME BACK?
SOMETIMES WE FIND THEM
WATCHING
GERALDO
WITH THE
SITTER, SOMETIMES WE FIND THEM
DOING CRAFTS THAT WE WOULD
NEVER HAVE HAD THE
ENERGY TO PUT TOGETHER.

Richard says I KNEW I HAD TO GET RID OF
ONE SITTER WHEN I CAME BACK
AND THEY HAD
JENNY JONES ON.
AND THE TOPIC WAS WOMEN WHO
DRESS LIKE SLUTS AND THE MEN
WHO LOVE THEM.
AND MY FIVE-YEAR-OLD
WAS RAPT BEFORE IT.

Judith says THAT'S RIGHT.
THIS BRINGS UP A WHOLE
OTHER ISSUE OF TELEVISION
AND CHILDREN.

Richard says NOW, I HAD SAID TO YOU I WAS
TELLING YOU SOME NICE THINGS,
WHICH I DID, ABOUT HOW
PEOPLE IDENTIFY WITH YOU.
HERE IS THE DOWN COMMENT I
HEARD, WHICH IS, THERE WAS
SOMEONE WHO WAS NOT OF OUR
AGE, PROBABLY ABOUT 15 YEARS,
10 TO 15 YEARS YOUNGER THAN
US, AND SAID, JUDITH TIMSON
SPEAKS FOR YOU AND YOUR
GENERATION, WHO ARE ALL THE
BOOMERS, AND THE BOOMERS WHO
DECIDED TO WAIT UNTIL THEY
WERE IN THEIR MID TO LATE
THIRTIES TO HAVE CHILDREN.
I'M YOUNG, I HAVE KIDS, IT'S A
DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE FOR ME.
DID YOU GET THAT AT ALL?

Judith says WELL... YOU KNOW, A LOT OF
THE BOOK DEALS WITH TIMELESS
ASPECTS OF FAMILY LIFE.
EXTENDED FAMILY LIFE.
RELIGION.
I CONVERTED TO JUDAISM, AND I
WRITE A LOT ABOUT WHAT IT IS
LIKE TO CHANGE YOUR RELIGIOUS
IDENTIFICATION TO BECOME PART
OF ANOTHER CULTURE.
I DON'T THINK THAT HAS
ANYTHING TO DO WITH A
GENERATIONAL SPIN AT ALL.
I WRITE A LOT ABOUT
RELATIONSHIPS WITH ONE'S
EXTENDED FAMILY.
I DON'T THINK THAT HAS
ANYTHING TO DO WITH BEING
20 OR BEING 50.

Richard says BUT, FOR EXAMPLE, YOU WERE OUT
IN THE WORLD, IN FACT, YOU
TELL STORIES, AND YOU SHOW
YOUR CHILDREN PICTURES OF YOU
WEARING SEDUCTIVE
OUTFITS FROM --

Judith says WELL, RED SATIN TAP SHORTS.

Richard says WELL, THAT'S PRETTY SEDUCTIVE.

Judith says PERKY.
LET'S SAY PERKY.

Richard says PERKY.
AND YOU HAD A LIFE THAT WENT
ON, AND IT HAD A WHOLE
DEPTH TO IT.
YOU DID A LOT OF STUFF.
THEN YOU CAME BACK TO THIS.
AND I GUESS THE ATTITUDES OF A
WOMAN WHO HAS BEEN SOMEPLACE
AND DONE SOME THINGS AND THEN
COME BACK, CAN ADJUST PERHAPS
WITH MORE MATURITY TO YOUR
EXTENDED FAMILY, TO ALL OF THAT.
AND OTHER PEOPLE ARE SAYING,
I'M FIGHTING ALL OF THESE
BATTLES AT ONCE.
I'M TRYING TO GROW UP WHILE
MY KIDS ARE GROWING UP.

Judith says AND YOU KNOW WHAT?
I AM REALLY GLAD I DIDN'T
HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE
THAT MISTAKE.
BUT IT'S NOT A MISTAKE
FOR SOME PEOPLE.
THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO
ARE MATURE AT 20.
I WOULD HAVE
FLAMED OUT ROYALLY.
AND I DID IT DIFFERENTLY.
BUT I'M STILL SAYING THAT
WITHIN THE BOOK ARE UNIVERSAL
TRUTHS THAT HAVE
NOTHING TO DO WITH THAT.
AND I KNOW, I TALKED TO WOMEN
IN THEIR TWENTIES, AND THEY ARE
STILL DEALING WITH
THE ARSENIC HOUR.
THEY ARE STILL DEALING WITH
FEELING THIS COMBINATION OF
PRIDE THAT THEY CAN BE A
TERRIFIC MOTHER AND GIVE THAT
MUCH, AND BE CALLED UPON
TO GIVE THAT MUCH, AND THE
FRUSTRATION THEY CAN'T BE
OUT THERE IN THE WIDER WORLD
DOING OTHER THINGS AS WELL.

Richard says NOW, SOMETHING ELSE THAT'S
INTERESTING, I HAVE TO ADMIT
THAT I READ THE PIECES WHEN
THEY CAME OUT EVERY MONTH
IN CHATELAINE.
AND THEN I SAT DOWN AND
READ THEM ALL TOGETHER.
AND I HADN'T MISSED
MORE THAN ONE OR TWO.
BUT I WOULD NOT
NOTICE SOME THINGS.
FOR EXAMPLE, THERE IS AN ESSAY
YOU WRITE ABOUT PARENTS WHO
ARE INSISTING THEIR
KIDS GET HOMEWORK.
AND I REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME
I READ I THOUGHT, OH, YES,
I WAS AT THAT MEETING,
YEAH, I UNDERSTAND THAT,
I KNOW HOW THEY FEEL.
AND THAT'S WHAT I TOOK
HOME, WAS THE REAL MESSAGE.
WHEN I READ IT IN THE BOOK,
THERE WAS A SENTENCE THAT
LEAPT OUT AT ME ABOUT, ARE
THESE PARENTS, ARE ALL OF US
SO CONCERNED WITH THE FEAR
AND UNEASINESS WE FEEL
IN OUR LIVES TODAY?
AND PUTTING ALL YOUR
PIECES TOGETHER IN A BOOK,
SOME BIGGER THEMES CAME OUT.
AND THAT WAS ONE OF THE ONES.
DO YOU FIND OUR GENERATION,
OR PEOPLE AROUND US ARE DOING
A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF HOLDING
ONTO THINGS WITH THE ENDS
OF THEIR FINGERNAILS?
TRYING TO HOLD ON?

Judith says OH, ABSOLUTELY.
AND I THINK THE ECONOMIC
SITUATION, THE FACT THAT
PEOPLE ARE SO FATIGUED.
THERE'S A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT
OF FATIGUE OUT THERE.
THERE'S A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT
OF SOCIAL ISOLATION THAT THE
CULTURE HAS BROUGHT UPON US.
ELECTRONICALLY, WE ARE BOTH
CONNECTED AND DISCONNECTED.
WE DON'T SEE EXTENDED FAMILY
ENOUGH SO THAT WE TEND TO LIVE
IN THESE TINY, TINIER, THE
SITUATIONS GET SMALLER AND
SMALLER AND SMALLER,
AND WE ARE WORRIED.
AND I THINK, IN MANY CASES,
PEOPLE -- IMAGINE, YOU KNOW
THAT A CHILD, I GOT TO
THINKING ABOUT THE FACT THAT A
CHILD COULD GO THROUGH HER
ENTIRE DAY AND NOT MEET ONE
UNSTRESSED ADULT.
FROM THE MOMENT SHE GETS UP
IN THE MORNING, WITH, IF BOTH
PARENTS ARE STRUGGLING TO
GET OUT THE DOOR, OR EVEN IF
THEY'RE NOT, TO THE TEACHER
WHO HAS LEFT HER OWN SITUATION
BEHIND, TO THE SCHOOL
PRINCIPAL WHO IS WORRIED ABOUT
THE BUDGET CUTS, TO AFTER
SCHOOL IN THE PLAYGROUND, TO
THE DAYCARE PEOPLE WHO ARE
WORRIED ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENING
TO THEM ECONOMICALLY.
THEN THEY REVERSE IT AND COME
HOME AND DEAL WITH THE WHOLE
THING AGAIN.
THAT'S A LOT OF STRESS
TO LAY ON A CHILD.
I THINK THAT'S WORTH TALKING
ABOUT AND WORTH WRITING ABOUT.

Richard says WHERE DO YOU THINK ALL
THAT STRESS CAME FROM?

Judith says ECONOMICS, WORKING.
AND ALSO, OUR GENERATION, I
GUESS I'M WONDERING WHETHER
I CAN EVEN INCLUDE 20-YEAR-OLDS
AND 30-YEAR-OLDS IN THIS.
I THINK WE'RE A RATHER
INTENSE SET OF PARENTS
OR GENERATION OF PARENTS.
I THINK WE'RE ZEALOUS.
WE WANT TO DO REALLY WELL.
MAYBE THIS
IS A GENERATIONAL THING.
MAYBE I HAVE TO COP TO THAT.
MAYBE IT IS A
GENERATIONAL THING.
BUT WE WORRY ABOUT EVERYTHING.
WE WANT TO DO THINGS
A CERTAIN WAY.
WITNESS THE BIRTHDAY PARTIES
WITH THE 50-dollar-AN-HOUR CLOWNS
OR WHATEVER.
AND I THINK WE BRING ALMOST
AN OVERBEARING QUALITY TO
RAISING OUR FAMILIES.
AND I'M NOW LOOKING AT THE
LAISSEZ FAIRE IDEA, AND
THINKING, THIS LOOKS GOOD,
LET'S NOT OVERANALYZE THIS.
LET'S NOT WORRY IT TO DEATH.
WE ARE RESILIENT.
FAMILIES ARE RESILIENT.
AND THIS, OF COURSE, FLIES
IN THE FACE OF WHAT WE READ,
WHICH IS THE FAMILY IS FALLING
APART, THE SKY IS FALLING IN,
MARRIAGES AREN'T WORKING.
THE ECONOMY IS
KILLING THE FAMILY.
THAT'S TRUE IN MANY WAYS.
THE DIVORCE RATE IS ABOUT,
I THINK ONE-THIRD OF ALL
CANADIAN MARRIAGES FAIL.
BUT, NONETHELESS, TWO-THIRDS
SUCCEED AND FAMILY LIFE GOES ON.
FAMILY LIFE GOES ON.
AND I GUESS WHAT I'M
INTERESTED IN ARE THE HEROICS
OF FAMILY LIFE,
MODERN FAMILY LIFE.
AND THE HEROICS ARE SOMEBODY
STANDING IN LOBLAW'S AFTER A
FULL DAY'S WORK LOOKING AT
THOSE GREEN PEPPERS, WHETHER
IT'S A MAN OR A WOMAN
WHO IS PUTTING THAT MEAL
ON THE TABLE.
THE HEROICS ARE WHAT YOU
PROVIDE FOR YOUR KIDS IN SPITE
OF THE FACT YOU MIGHT GO IN
TOMORROW AND LOSE YOUR JOB.
THAT'S THE HEROICS.

Richard says I'M LISTENING TO YOU, AND
I'M SAYING I UNDERSTAND THIS,
AND I BELIEVE IT, AND I RELATE
WITH YOU, BUT WHAT WE ARE
MISSING, IF PEOPLE HAVEN'T
READ YOU, IS THAT YOUR BOOK,
YOUR WRITINGS, ARE
ALL INCREDIBLY FUNNY.

Judith says IT'S HARD TO BE FUNNY
ON DEMAND, ISN'T IT?

Richard says I KNOW, BUT I KEEP THINKING
THERE'S A SHAKESPEARE LINE
ABOUT, CAN YOU MOVE
WHILE LAUGHTER IN THE
THROAT OF DEATH?
IT CANNOT BE, IT
IS IMPOSSIBLE.
BUT YET YOU ARE FUNNY
ABOUT THESE THINGS.

Judith says THANK YOU.

Richard says DOES THE FUNNINESS COME WITH
THE INTENSITY OF THE VISION?

Judith says WELL, LAUGHING IS
VERY CLOSE TO CRYING.
AND I TURN ALMOST EVERYTHING
AROUND SOMEWHERE, WHERE I CAN
LAUGH WITH AS MUCH INTENSITY
ABOUT SOMETHING THAT IS
ABSOLUTELY TEARING
MY HEART OUT.
AND NOT THAT IT'S ALL SAD
MATERIAL, MOST OF IT ISN'T,
BUT THE HUMOUR...
IT
IS
FUNNY.
WHAT WE DO TO OURSELVES IS
FUNNY IN THE COURSE OF A DAY.
IT IS RIDICULOUS
THE AMOUNT OF WORRY.
I ONCE HAD A BAD MORNING
SHOUTING AT MY KIDS.
DID I FORGET ABOUT IT?
NO.
DID I GO UP TO MY
ATTIC AND WRITE?
NO.
I GOT DRESSED AND WENT TO THE
SCHOOL AND DECIDED TO CHECK
THEM OUT AT RECESS TO
SEE IF THEY WERE OKAY.
AND THEY LOOKED AT ME
AS IF I WERE MENTAL.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE, MUM?
AND I SAID, OH, WE
HAD A BAD MORNING.
AND THEY SAID, WHAT
BAD MORNING WAS THAT?
AND I GUESS, I
THINK THAT'S FUNNY.
NOW, MANY PARENTS MIGHT RESENT
THAT BECAUSE THEY CAN'T LEAVE
THEIR JOBS AND GO AND CHECK ON
THEIR KIDS' MOODS TO FIND OUT
IF THEY SURVIVED THE MORNING.

Richard says BUT SEE OUR PARENTS'
GENERATION WOULD NEVER THOUGHT
OF DOING THAT.
I MEAN, WE TALK FOR RANDOM
ABOUT YOUR BOOK ALMOST ASSUMES
THAT THERE ARE TIMES YOU WILL
TALK TO THE PRINCIPAL ABOUT
YOUR CHILD'S DEVELOPMENT.
WHEN WE WERE GOING TO SCHOOL,
THE ONLY REASON OUR PARENTS
WOULD EVER HAVE TO COME
TALK TO THE PRINCIPAL IS TO
BE TOLD THAT WE WERE BEING
SENT TO REFORM SCHOOL.

Judith says OR IF WE WERE DEAD.

Richard says IF WE WERE DEAD.

Judith says IF WE WERE DEAD, THEY
WOULD BE CALLED IN.
BUT OTHER THAN THAT, NO.
AND THIS IS FASCINATING
TO ME, TOO.
AND, AGAIN, I QUESTION
IT, HAVE WE GONE TOO FAR?
DO WE NEED TO HAVE THESE
LITTLE CONFERENCES WITH THE
TEACHER EVERY TIME JOHNNY
GETS CALLED A ROTTEN HUNK OF
SALAMI IN THE SCHOOLYARD?
I DON'T THINK SO.
I THINK WE'RE GOING
OVERBOARD HERE.

Richard says NOW, YOU TALK ABOUT HAVING
SECOND THOUGHTS ABOUT THINGS.
LIKE YOU SAY, I'M THINKING NOW
OF LAISSEZ FAIRE INSTEAD OF
TOTAL COMMITMENT.
I HAVE TO ASK YOU BECAUSE I
DIDN'T GO THROUGH THE BOOK
THAT RELIGIOUSLY COMPARED
TO THE MAGAZINE ARTICLES.
DID YOU REWRITE ANYTHING?

Judith says YES, I REWROTE ALMOST EVERYTHING.

Richard says WHY?

Judith says BECAUSE I'M A WRITER.
BECAUSE WHEN I LOOKED AT IT
AGAIN, I THOUGHT, OH, I CAN
MAKE THAT METAPHOR
WORK A BIT BETTER.
I CAN MAKE THIS
A LITTLE FUNNIER.
I ADDED, I SUBTRACTED.
AT ONE POINT, I PUT SOMETHING
IN ABOUT SENDING YOUR HUSBAND
OUT FOR HUMMUS, BUT OF COURSE
IT WOULD BE THE WRONG HUMMUS,
AND THEY TORE THEIR HAIR OUT
AT HARPER COLLINS BECAUSE I
TRIED TO TAKE IT OUT ON THE
WAY TO THE -- WHO CARES?
BUT I DID A LOT OF FIDDLING.
I HAD GALLEY MADNESS.
THOSE YELLOW POST-IT NOTES
THAT WRITERS USE TO MARK
CERTAIN THINGS IN A
MANUSCRIPT, I REALLY KEPT
THAT COMPANY AFLOAT.

Richard says DID YOU CHANGE THE WAY YOU
FELT ABOUT THINGS, OR WERE
THEY ALL JUST
STRUCTURAL OR COSMETIC?

Judith says NO, BUT I CHANGED
THINGS THAT WORRIED ME.
I HAD A LOT OF TROUBLE WRITING
A COLUMN ON SINGLE PARENTS,
SINGLE MOTHERS, AND I WAS
CONCERNED THAT IT WAS
PATRONIZING, AND I
WORKED VERY, VERY HARD.
I REWROTE IT.
KEPT IN THE ESSENTIAL STORY
WHICH WAS A WONDERFUL STORY
ABOUT A WOMAN WHO ACTUALLY
JUGGLED, WHO ACTUALLY HAD
TAKEN A JUGGLING COURSE, AND
AT NIGHT, SHE WAS EXHAUSTED,
SHE HAD HER OWN PRACTICE, SHE
WAS A DOCTOR, SHE WOULD COME
HOME AND WHILE HER KIDS
SPOONED THEIR MACARONI AND
CHEESE INTO THEIR MOUTHS,
SHE WOULD JUGGLE FOR THEM.
AND THIS WAS HER WAY OF COPING
WITH BEING A SINGLE MOTHER.
AND TO ME, IT WAS A WONDERFUL
TURN ON THE JUGGLING THING,
WHICH IS A CLICHE AND
BANALITY, ETC., ETC.
EVERYONE
TALKS
ABOUT JUGGLING.
SHE JUGGLED.
AND I WANTED TO TALK ABOUT
WHAT IT WAS LIKE FROM MY POINT
OF VIEW TO OBSERVE SINGLE
MOTHERS AND HOW UNSPEAKABLY
DIFFICULT IT WOULD BE
TO BE A SINGLE PARENT.

Richard says NOW, WE WERE TALKING
EARLIER ABOUT DIFFERENCES
THAT OCCUR IN
PEOPLE'S ATTITUDES.
AND YOU MENTIONED YOU WERE
NOW THINKING OF GOING INTO
SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS.
WHAT I'M CURIOUS ABOUT IS DO
YOU THINK THE FAMILY VEIN IS
WRITTEN OUT FOR YOU?

Judith says NO, AND IN FACT I'M FEELING
SOME NOSTALGIA ALREADY.
I'M PLANNING TO
CHANGE THE COLUMN.
RONA MAYNARD, THE EDITOR
OF
CHATELAINE,
HAS BEEN
WONDERFUL TO ME, AND HAS GIVEN
ME CARTE BLANCHE TO GO ON AND
DISCUSS OTHER THINGS, ANYTHING
THAT INTERESTS ME, ONCE A MONTH.
AND WE ARE GOING TO
LOOK AT BROADER CULTURE.
I WANT TO LOOK AT POP CULTURE.
CULTURE, SOCIETY IN GENERAL,
AND THE LIVES OF WOMEN.
AND I CAN STILL
WRITE PERSONALLY.
I CAN STILL TALK ABOUT FAMILY.
I WANTED TO BROADEN MYSELF AS
A WRITER TO GO BACK TO BEING
A CULTURAL OBSERVER, WHICH
IS WHAT I WAS WHEN I STARTED
THIS, BUT I ALSO WANTED
TO GIVE MY KIDS A BREAK.
I FELT THEY ARE HOVERING ON
THE EDGE OF PREADOLESCENCE,
AND IT'S A TIME THAT THEY DO
NOT NEED THE VICE PRINCIPAL OF
THE SCHOOL SAYING, HEY, YOU'RE
QUITE A CHARACTER THERE,
AREN'T YOU?

Richard says YEAH.
YOU MENTION YOU NEVER WANTED
TO HURT YOUR CHILDREN
AND DEAL WITH THEM THAT WAY.
THE BOOK HAS A LOT OF
TOUGH TOPICS IN IT.
IT DEALS WITH AIDS, IT DEALS
WITH DEATH, IT DEALS WITH THE
FEAR OF YOUR CHILDREN
BEING ABDUCTED.
WAS THERE EVER AN IDEA OR
TOPIC YOU KILLED YOURSELF
FOR A REASON?

Judith says NO.
EVERYTHING I WANTED TO
WRITE ABOUT, I WROTE ABOUT.
BUT I DIDN'T HAVE A COMPULSION.
AGAIN, YOU GET BACK TO
THIS IDEA OF WHAT IS
FIRST PERSON JOURNALISM.
AND LIVES ARE SO COMPLEX,
SO SHADED IN MYSTERY,
THAT IT'S NEVER AS
REVEALING AS YOU THINK.
THERE ARE MANY, MANY JOYS AND
SORROWS THAT WENT UNREPORTED
DURING THAT PERIOD,
AND SO IT SHOULD BE.
I WROTE ABOUT WHAT INTERESTED
ME AND WHAT I KNEW HAD SOME
SORT OF UNIVERSAL CATCH IN IT.
WRITERS ALWAYS WANT TO
TALK ABOUT THEIR STORY.
THE NARRATIVE, THE
NARRATIVE, YOU GO FOR IT.
YOU SAY, THIS IS WHAT
I WANT TO WRITE ABOUT.
BUT NO, I DON'T THINK I EVER
STAYED AWAY FROM ANYTHING.

Richard says DOES A COLUMNIST LIKE
YOURSELF EVENTUALLY CREATE A
PERSONA THAT THEY WIND UP
LIVING INTO AFTER A WHILE?

Judith says I THINK NOT ONLY DOES THE
COLUMNIST CREATE A PERSONA,
BUT I THINK THE FAMILY MEMBERS
ARE, IN FACT, HAVE TO BE
CHARACTERS AND
NOT REAL PEOPLE.
AND I WAS LUCKY IN THAT MY
HUSBAND, ESPECIALLY, WAS
SOPHISTICATED
ENOUGH TO KNOW THAT.
HE HAD NO PROBLEMS WHATSOEVER.
HIS FRIENDS, OCCASIONALLY
WOULD LOOK AT HIM AS IF HE
HAD, YOU KNOW, BEEN, HE WAS
PUTTING HIMSELF THROUGH THIS,
BUT IT DIDN'T PHASE
HIM IN THE LEAST.
HE KNEW THE DIFFERENCE.

Richard says DO YOU FEEL, INTERESTING
TOPIC HERE, MALE SITTING
OPPOSITE FEMALE, DO YOU FEEL
YOU ARE FAIR TO YOUR HUSBAND,
TO THE MALES IN THE BOOK?

Judith says I DO.
I FEEL I WAS VERY FAIR.
I THINK I ERRED ON THE SIDE
OF GENEROSITY TOWARD MEN
IN THAT BOOK.
BUT I'M GLAD I DID.
BECAUSE I BELIEVE I'M SEEING
TREMENDOUS CHANGES IN THE MAN
I KNOW.
AND I THINK I GOT MY LICKS
IN, I GOT MY JOKES IN,
BUT I WAS FAIR.

Richard says NOW, WE'VE HAD ALL THESE
PIECES LAID OUT, AND YOU'RE
GOING TO START A DIFFERENT
DIRECTION IN YOUR COLUMN.
WHAT ELSE DOES YOUR WRITING
HAVE IN STORE FOR YOU?

Judith says WELL, I WANT TO DO AN
ESSAY ABOUT MY FATHER.
AND I DIDN'T MENTION HIM
MUCH IN THE BOOK, BUT HE'S
A JOURNALIST, RAY TIMSON,
HE'S RETIRED NOW.
BUT I WANT TO WRITE ABOUT
NEWSPAPERS, I WANT TO WRITE
ABOUT THAT TIME IN MY
LIFE WHEN I WAS NOT ONLY
A NEWSPAPER REPORTER, BUT
REPORTING TO MY FATHER.

Richard says WHILE PEOPLE CAN STILL REMEMBER NEWSPAPERS.

Judith says YEAH.
WHILE PEOPLE CAN STILL
REMEMBER NEWSPAPERS.
AND I AM TRYING SOME FICTION,
BUT THAT'S COMING SLOWLY.

Richard says AH.
I WAS GOING TO ASK YOU, HAVING
ADAPTED THE RAW MATERIAL SO
CLOSELY FOR SO MANY YEARS NOW,
WOULD YOU TRY, AND WOULD YOU
FIND IT DIFFICULT THEN TO
TURN THE RAW MATERIAL INTO
SOMETHING YET AGAIN?

Judith says YOU KNOW, IF YOU READ A LOT
OF WRITERS, YOU REALIZE THEY
MINE THE SAME TERRITORY OVER
AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
AND THEY JUST TURN
IT ON ITS AXIS.
IT'S LIKE A RUBIK'S CUBE.
YOU JUST TURN IT AND TURN IT
AND TURN IT, AND IT GETS YOU
SOME PLACE DIFFERENT.
AND I'M SURE I WILL GO BACK.
I MEAN, THERE IS SO MUCH MORE
TO SAY ABOUT JUDAISM AND THAT
WHOLE RELIGIOUS JOURNEY.
I THINK I'LL GO BACK OVER AND
OVER AGAIN TO THE MATERIAL.
IT IS HOW I USE IT
THAT WILL BE DIFFERENT.
I DON'T THINK I WILL EVER DO
WHAT I'VE DONE, WHICH IS TO
PUT TOGETHER A COLLECTION OF
ESSAYS, NON-FICTION ESSAYS
ON FAMILY LIFE.
I'M VERY GLAD I DID IT.
IT WAS A REVELATION TO ME.
IT WAS MUCH MORE COMPLEX THAN
I EVER DREAMED IT WOULD BE,
BUT IT'S TIME NOW
TO DO OTHER THINGS.

Richard says BECAUSE THERE WERE SOME TIMES
I'D FINISH READING A PIECE,
AND I'D THINK, YOU KNOW, THAT
COULD HAVE BEEN A NOVEL.
WHEN YOU TALKED ABOUT ONE
POINT ABOUT THE FEELING OF THE
HUSBAND AND WIFE, ARE WE
GROWING MORE TOGETHER,
ARE WE GROWING MORE APART
SHARING THESE MOMENTS?
I THOUGHT THE LATE LAURIE
COLWIN ACTUALLY DID WHOLE
BOOKS ON THOSE MOMENTS.

Judith says THAT'S RIGHT.

Richard says NOW, DID YOU EVER FINISH THE
COLUMN AND THEN READ IT A
WEEK OR TWO LATER AND
THINK, THAT WAS A BOOK?

Judith says NOT ONLY THAT, BUT I WOULD
FINISH A COLUMN BECAUSE IT WAS
MY LIFE I WAS WRITING ABOUT,
I'D READ IT TWO WEEKS LATER
AND THINK, I DON'T FEEL LIKE
THAT AT ALL BECAUSE, OF COURSE,
THE CYCLE CHANGES, AND YOU'RE
MAD AT YOUR HUSBAND, OR
THINGS THAT SEEMED OUT OF
CONTROL ARE NOW IN CONTROL.
AND THAT WAS VERY INTERESTING.
TO CONSTANTLY BE UP AGAINST
THE REALITY OF MY LIFE, VERSUS
THE REALITY OF WHAT I'D WRITTEN
ABOUT SOME MONTHS EARLIER.

Richard says DID YOU EVER SIT AROUND AND
SAY THINGS AREN'T HAPPENING?
I HAVE NOTHING TO
WRITE ABOUT THIS MONTH.

Judith says ABSOLUTELY.
I THINK EVERYBODY
GOES THROUGH THAT.
BUT, YOU KNOW, THERE'S NOTHING
THAT CONCENTRATES THE MIND
SO MUCH AS THE WOLF AT
THE DOOR, AND A DEADLINE.
AND YOU DO IT.
YOU DO IT.
AND I ALSO REALLY ENJOYED IT.
I DIDN'T RUN OUT OF TOPICS.
I THINK THE PROBLEM WITH
BROADENING OUT AND DOING A
COLUMN THAT, MY NEW COLUMN IS
GOING TO BE CALLED LIFE AND
TIMES, IS THAT YOU DON'T
KNOW WHETHER TO WRITE ABOUT
NUCLEAR WAR OR
YOUR UNDERWEAR.
I MEAN, IT'S SO BIG.
AND IF YOU ARE DOING A FIRST
PERSON COLUMN, YOU HAVE TO
SOMEHOW DISCIPLINE YOURSELF
TO LOOK AT CERTAIN SUBJECTS.
IT'S HARDER TO FOCUS ON IDEAS.
IN A WAY, THE FAMILY WAS
A GREAT SORT OF LANDSCAPE.
AND I COULD GO ANYWHERE
IN THAT LANDSCAPE.
I COULD GO TO CHURCH, I COULD
GO TO SCHOOL, I COULD GO TO
SYNAGOGUE, I WOULD GO TO THE
MOVIES, BUT IT HAD SOMETHING
TO CONTAIN IT.
AND THAT WAS ACTUALLY
A VERY GOOD DISCIPLINE.

Richard says HAVE THEY EVER, ANY OF THE
MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY, YOUR
SON, YOUR DAUGHTER, YOUR
HUSBAND, TAKEN ISSUE AT LENGTH
WITH YOU OVER A SPECIFIC
THING, AND FELT THERE WAS
A WRONG YOU DIDN'T RIGHT?

Judith says NEVER.
NEVER AT LENGTH.
OCCASIONALLY, MY HUSBAND WOULD
SAY I DON'T THINK I SAID THAT.
AND I'D SAY, OH,
I THINK YOU DID.
I'M A JOURNALIST, I HAVE
A NOTEBOOK TO PROVE IT.
BUT IT NEVER GOT TO THAT.
IT NEVER GOT TO THAT.

Richard says AND NO TEASING OF THE CHILDREN AT ALL EVER?

Judith says OH, YES.
AND THEY HAVE FOUND THIS, THE
BOOK COMING OUT, TO BE, YOU
KNOW, IT'S A TOUGH PROCESS.
THEY ARE PROUD.
KIDS NOWADAYS ALL WANT
TO BE STARS ANYWAY.
THEY ALL THINK THEY'RE STARS.
WE'VE CREATED THIS MONSTROUS
GENERATION WHERE EVERYBODY
THINKS THEY'RE A STAR ANYWAY.
BUT I THINK THAT THE REALITY
IS THAT THEY DO HAVE...
THEY DON'T WANT THEIR
SOULS STOLEN FROM THEM.
AND I'M NOT GOING TO STEAL
THEIR SOULS FROM THEM.
I ADMIRED ALICE MUNRO.
SHE WRITES THESE BRILLIANT,
AS YOU KNOW, BRILLIANT BOOKS,
AND SHE HAS PUT HER DAUGHTERS
OFF LIMITS, TOTALLY.
I DON'T THINK SHE EVER
WROTE ABOUT HER DAUGHTERS.
OR SHE SAID SHE DIDN'T.
THAT'S THE PROBLEM WITH
NON-FICTION, I CAN'T SAY, THIS
DOES NOT RELATE TO ANYTHING
THAT HAPPENED LAST WEEK AT
9 O'CLOCK IN MY HOUSEHOLD.

Richard says GOING TO MENTION A COUPLE
OF AUTHORS, AND SEE IF BEING
MENTIONED IN THE SAME BREATH
WITH THEM EXCITES YOU
OR ANNOYS YOU.
JEAN KERR.

Judith says I WAS FLATTERED.
I WAS FLATTERED.

Richard says HAD YOU READ A
LOT OF HER STUFF?

Judith says NO, BUT I'D READ A BIT.
AND I'M ALWAYS FLATTERED
TO BE IN THE COMPANY
OF SERIOUS WRITERS.

Richard says NOW, THE BIG NAME WHICH YOU
CAN PROBABLY THROW A COFFEE
CUP AT ME OVER, WHAT HAPPENS
IF PEOPLE SAY, OH, YOU WRITE
LIKE ERMA BOMBECK?

Judith says WELL, I AM NOT, I CAN'T
DISPARAGE ERMA BOMBECK.
WHAT SHE DID, SHE DID
BRILLIANTLY AND WELL.
AND I GOT GOOSEBUMPS WHEN I
REALIZED, JUST AS MY BOOK WAS
COMING OUT, SHE HAD DIED.
I FELT, I DON'T BELIEVE
I AM ERMA BOMBECK.
I THINK I'M PART OF A NEW
GENERATION OF DOMESTIC WRITERS.
WE TACKLE ISSUES WITH MUCH
MORE FREQUENCY THAN DID SHE.
I'M NOT SUBURBAN;
I'M VERY URBAN.
SO I'M NOT ERMA BOMBECK.
BUT WHAT SHE DID,
SHE DID VERY WELL.
AND MANY, MANY
PEOPLE ENJOYED HER.

Richard says DO YOU THINK YOU COULD,
IN A FEW YEARS, GO BACK AND
APPROACH THE SAME KIND OF
SCENARIO AGAIN AFTER YOU'VE
TAKEN A REST FROM IT?
LIKE, YOU KNOW, ONCE THE KIDS
ARE IN HIGH SCHOOL OR COLLEGE?

Judith says I DON'T THINK I
WANT TO, RICHARD.
I THINK I REALLY WANT TO
MOVE ON AND DO OTHER THINGS.
THERE'S A LOT OUT THERE
THAT I WANT TO WRITE ABOUT.
BUT I JUST WANT TO SAY THAT
WRITING ABOUT FAMILY IN A
NON-FICTION WAY SHOULD
NEVER BE DENIGRATED.
THE BEST FICTION HAS
BEEN ABOUT FAMILY LIFE,
SO SHOULD BE THE
NON-FICTION, AS WELL.
I WENT BACK AND READ ANNA
KARENINA, FOR TOLSTOY'S FAMOUS
LINE, HAPPY FAMILIES ARE ALL
ALIKE, EVERY UNHAPPY FAMILY IS
UNHAPPY IN ITS OWN WAY.
BUT GUESS WHAT, THE NEXT
LINE WAS THE MOST BRILLIANT.
“EVERYTHING WAS TOPSY
TURVY AT THE OBLONSKY'S.”
WELL, EVERYTHING IS TOPSY
TURVY IN MY HOUSEHOLD, TOO.
THIS IS WHAT WE GET
AT WHEN WE WRITE.
AND PEOPLE WANT TO READ IT.

Richard says JUDITH, FIVE YEARS OF
COLUMNS, FIVE YEARS OF
FEELINGS, ALL PUT TOGETHER
BETWEEN TWO COVERS.
IF YOU LOOK AT IT THAT WAY, IS
THERE ONE THING YOU WANT US
TO THINK OR FEEL
ABOUT IT ALL?

Judith says I THINK WHAT I FEEL ABOUT IT.
FAMILY LIFE TODAY
IS A STRUGGLE.
YOU'RE NOT CRAZY, IT'S
HARDER THAN YOU THINK.
BUT WE ARE RESILIENT.

Richard says AND YOU THINK WE CAN KEEP GOING ON?

Judith says WELL, WE HAVE NO CHOICE,
AS E.B. WHITE SAID,
WE HAVE NO CHOICE.

Richard says FAMILY MATTERS.
YOU DID MEAN THE TITLE
BOTH WAYS, DIDN'T YOU?

Judith says YES, I DID.

Richard says IT'S SOMETHING WE DEAL WITH
EVERY DAY, BUT IT'S SOMETHING
THAT IS OF PRIMARY
IMPORTANCE TO US.
I THINK OF THE SCENE IN THE
BOOK WHERE YOU SAY TO YOUR
DAUGHTER, I'M ABLE TO HAVE MY
FAMILY AND TO HAVE THE LIFE
I WANTED WRITING
AT THE SAME TIME.
AND THIS MATTERS A
GREAT DEAL TO ME.

Judith says THAT'S RIGHT.

Richard says DO YOU FEEL UNUSUALLY LUCKY?
BLESSED ALMOST?

Judith says I DO.
I FEEL LUCKY.
AND SOMETIMES I WONDER
WHETHER I DID THIS
AT THE EXPENSE OF MY HUSBAND,
WHO WORKS FULL-TIME.
I WRITE AT HOME AND WORK
PART-TIME AND FULL-TIME
WHEN I CAN.
BUT I FEEL INCREDIBLY BLESSED
TO BE ABLE TO BE A WRITER
AND RAISE A FAMILY.

Richard says AND YOU WOULDN'T DO
ANYTHING DIFFERENTLY.

Judith says NO.

Richard says THAT'S THE BEST THING
I'VE HEARD IN A LONG TIME.
JUDITH TIMSON,
THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Judith says YOU'RE WELCOME.

Richard faces the screen and says
JUDITH TIMSON, FAMILY MATTERS
TO HER AND, CONSEQUENTLY,
IT MATTERS TO US.
FOR DIALOGUE, I'M
RICHARD OUZOUNIAN.
GOOD-BYE FOR NOW.

Music plays as the end slate reads “Dialogue. Special thanks to Grano Caffe-Forno.”

A production of TVOntario. Copyright 1996, The Ontario Educational Communications Authority.

Watch: Judith Timson