Transcript: Timothy Findley | Apr 04, 1999

(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.”

The title of the episode pops up against an image of Richard Ouzounian and a guest sitting on couches in a living room: “Timothy Findley. Author.”

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

He says WELCOME TO
DIALOGUE.
I'M RICHARD OUZOUNIAN.
BY A WONDERFUL COINCIDENCE,
FOR OVER 30 YEARS,
ONE OF CANADA'S FINEST
WRITERS HAD ONE OF
THE FINEST PLACES
TO LIVE.
HE'S LEFT IT NOW, BUT AS A
FAREWELL GIFT, A WONDERFUL,
MOVING BOOK OF ESSAYS,
FROM STONE ORCHARD.
THIS DIALOGUE IS WITH
TIMOTHY FINDLEY.

Timothy is in his late fifties, with short white hair and a trimmed full beard. He’s wearing a V-necked t-shirt and a red silk neckerchief.

Richard continues THE FIRST THING I
HAVE TO ASK YOU,
ALTHOUGH YOU ADDRESS IT,
IS, SUCH A WONDERFUL PLACE,
SO MANY HAPPY YEARS THERE.
WHY DO YOU
FINALLY LEAVE IT?

Timothy says OH, BOY.
IT STARTED OUT AS 50 ACRES
OF FARMLAND AND AN OLD,
1840s FARMHOUSE - SMALL.
AND OVER THE TIME THAT BILL
WHITEHEAD AND I LIVED THERE,
WHICH WAS ABOUT 34, 35
YEARS, WE EXPANDED IT.
WE BUILT ON A LARGE
WING IN THIS WAY,
AND ANOTHER
WING THAT WAY.

A caption appears on screen. It reads “Timothy Findley. Author.”

Timothy continues WE PUSHED THE GARDEN BACK
AND BACK INTO THE FIELDS,
WE'D DUG A HUGE POND.
HAD A WONDERFUL GAZEBO...
I'LL CRY IN A MINUTE,
RICHARD - THIS GREAT GAZEBO
UNDER WILLOW TREES
AND FILLED THE POND WITH
KOI, THE JAPANESE CARP,
WITH ALL THE
LOVELY COLOURS.
AND THERE WERE ALWAYS
DOGS AND, AT ONE TIME,
THERE WERE 35 CATS.
BUT IT GREW, AND THE
RESPONSIBILITIES GREW.
AND AS WE GOT TO THIS AGE,
WHERE I'M APPROACHING 70
AND BILL IS JUST A BIT
YOUNGER, WE REALLY
BEGAN TO REALIZE THAT WE
WERE NOT THERE ENOUGH.
YOU ACCRUE ALL THESE
OTHER RESPONSIBILITIES,
YOU'RE ALWAYS
ON THE ROAD.
WE HAVE A SMALL HOUSE IN
FRANCE, WHERE I WORK,
AND THE TELEPHONE
NEVER RINGS,
AND I CAN GET MOST
OF THE WORK DONE.
BUT LEAVING THE PLACE,
WE ALWAYS HAD TO PEOPLE
IT WITH PEOPLE WHO COULD
TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR
THE ANIMALS, THE GROUNDS,
THE BLAH BLAH BLAH.
AND IT COSTS, SO
THAT IN OUR ABSENCE,
WE SUDDENLY REALIZED,
WE'RE NOT REALLY
LIVING HERE ANYMORE.
IT WAS MORE LIKE A
PLACE WE'D GO TO VISIT.
AND THE REALITY
WAS, WE JUST SAID,
LET'S FACE IT, THE TIME
HAS COME TO MOVE INTO
A MORE PRACTICAL MODE OF
LIFE AND SAY GOODBYE.

Richard says YOU CAME ACROSS IT AT A
VERY OPPORTUNE MOMENT,
THAT YOU AND BILL HAD BOTH
DECIDED TO STOP WORKING
IN THE THEATRE MORE AND DEVOTE
YOUR LIVES TO WRITING.
DO YOU OFTEN THINK OF STONE
ORCHARD AS YOUR WRITING PLACE?

Timothy says IT CERTAINLY IS THE
PLACE WHERE THE WRITING
REALLY BEGAN TO TAKE
OFF AND HAPPEN.
WE BOTH QUIT THE
THEATRE COLD TURKEY.
ONE DAY, WE WERE IN THE
THEATRE, AND BILL WAS
A PRODUCER WITH
JEAN ROBERTS AND MARIGOLD
CHARLESWORTH AND I WAS
AN ACTOR IN THEIR COMPANY.
THE NEXT MORNING, WE
GOT UP, WE HAD 35 dollars,
AND WE WEREN'T IN
THE THEATRE ANYMORE.
WE WANTED TO
WRITE, BOTH OF US,
BILL IN DOCUMENTARY
TELEVISION, FILM, AND RADIO,
AND I WANTED TO BECOME
A FICTION WRITER.
AND I'D ALREADY STARTED,
HE'D ALREADY STARTED.
SO THESE WEREN'T
JUST RABBITS
BEING HAULED
OUT OF A HAT.
BUT, BY THE TIME WE
GOT TO STONE ORCHARD,
WHICH ABOUT TWO
YEARS AFTER THAT,
THE WRITING HAD STARTED TO
ROLL OUT OF ME AND BILL
HAD WONDERFUL WORK AT
THE NATURE OF THINGS,
AMONG OTHER PLACES, SO THAT
THE MONEY STARTED TO HAPPEN.
AND ONE BOOK MAKES ANOTHER,
AND THEN WE GOT INVOLVED
IN TELEVISION AND DID
THE NATIONAL DREAM
AND OTHER THINGS
LIKE THAT TOGETHER.
AND BY THE TIME IT WAS THE
1970s - ALL OF THIS BEGAN,
RICHARD, IN 1964, WHEN
WE BOUGHT THE HOUSE.
BY THE MID-1970s,
I WROTE
THE WARS,
AND IT WON PRIZES AND IT
SHOT MY STAR, AS A WRITER,
INTO A HIGHER POSITION.
AND IF I HADN'T LIVED
AT STONE ORCHARD,
AND HAD IT WITH ITS
QUIET AND ITS GARDENS,
AND LITERALLY JUST LOOKING
OUT THE WINDOW OR TAKING
A WALK IN THE FIELD OR GOING
DOWN INTO THE WOODS WITH
THE DOGS, PLACES LIKE THIS
ARE GREAT GIVERS OF LIFE.
THEY REVITALIZE YOU -
LITERALLY REVITALIZE YOU.
AND THE PRESSURE OF THE LIFE
IN A CITY, FOR INSTANCE,
YOU'RE NOT ALWAYS BEING
BOMBARDED BY THE NOISE,
BY THE DRAG OF PEOPLE, WHO
WANT YOU TO GO TO A PARTY.
NONE OF THAT'S
HAPPENING, AND THESE
WERE ALL ITS GREAT GIFTS, AND
ITS PEACE, AND ITS SILENCE.
AND THIS MADE AN ABSOLUTELY
STUNNING SITUATION
AS A PLACE TO WRITE IN.

Richard says THERE WAS ONE
SECTION IN THE BOOK,
I CAME ACROSS IT EARLY
AND IT WAS LIKE A BELL
WENT OFF AND A LIGHT
WENT ON IN MY HEAD.
AND YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT
HOW THERE WERE WRITINGS
ON THE WALLS OF THE PLACE
THAT YOU'D DISCOVERED,
AND PEOPLE WOULD
HAVE WRITTEN THINGS
AND LEFT THEM THERE.
DO YOU RECALL THE
ONE IN PARTICULAR?

Timothy says THE FIRST THING
THAT HAPPENED,
WE WERE TEARING DOWN
THE OLD DRIVE SHED,
BECAUSE IT WAS FALLING
DOWN; IT WAS DANGEROUS.
AND UP TUCKED INTO
ONE OF THE JOISTS,
THERE WAS A PACKAGE IN WHAT
THEY WOULD CALL IN THOSE DAYS
BUTCHERS' PAPER, VERY
HEAVILY WAXED BROWN PAPER.
AND INSIDE WAS A COPY OF A
WHATEVER IT WAS CALLED
AT THE TURN OF THE CENTURY.
THIS HAD BEEN PUT THERE
AS THE BOER WAR WAS
JUST GETTING UNDERWAY, AND THE
PEOPLE HAD WRITTEN A NOTE,
SAYING, HERE IS THE NEWS OF
THE DAY, IN THIS NEWSPAPER.
OUR PRIME MINISTER IS
WILFRID LAURIER AND
QUEEN VICTORIA IS
SINKING FAST.
AND THE WHOLE WORLD
WAS DESCRIBED,
AND HE DESCRIBED WHAT THEY
COULD SEE AS THEY STOOD,
PRESUMABLY MAKING
THIS DRIVE SHED.
THE OTHER GLORIOUS ONE WAS
WHEN WE WERE ADDING ONTO
THE HOUSE, THAT MEANT ONE
WALL HAD TO BE STRIPPED.
AND WE HAVE A LOVELY YOUNG
MAN WHO WORKED FOR US THERE,
AND WAS BUILDING ALL
OUR NEW BUILDING STUFF.
HIS NAME WAS LEN COLLINS
AND HE WAS A GENIUS:
MASTER CARPENTER, PLUMBER,
ELECTRICIAN, ET CETERA.
AND HE WAS ALWAYS ON BITS OF
WOOD AS HE'D SAW THINGS OFF,
AND HE WOULD DRAW THE NEXT
ANGLE HE NEEDED AND DO
THE CALCULATIONS, THE
MATHEMATICAL CALCULATIONS.
AND THESE BITS OF WOOD
WERE SCATTERED AROUND
SORT OF IN LEN'S WAKE.
BUT HE SAID ONE DAY, GUYS,
COME OUT AND LOOK AT THIS.
AND THERE WERE ALL
THE SAME MARKINGS:
THREE TIMES
THREE IS NINE...
AND YOU'D TAKE THAT AND
YOU SUBDIVIDE IT BY...
AND LITTLE ANGLES, ALL
IN PENCIL, BY THE MAN,
THE CARPENTER WHO HAD PUT
THOSE MARKS THERE IN 1840.
AND THE HAIR RISES
WHEN YOU THINK,
THIS IS HOW YOU
MAKE A HOUSE.
THIS IS HOW YOU INFUSE
IT WITH YOUR CARE OF IT,
TO MAKE THAT PERFECT,
ET CETERA, ET CETERA.

Richard says IT'S INTERESTING, YOU
SAID THE HAIR ROSE
ON YOUR HEAD WHEN
YOU DISCOVERED IT.
THE HAIR ROSE ON MY HEAD
WHEN YOU WROTE THAT BECAUSE
I SUDDENLY HAD A PICTURE OF
TIFF FINDLEY SITTING
IN THAT HOUSE, WRITING ALL
THESE BOOKS THAT KEEP
LOOKING BACK TO THE PAST.
THE PAST IS YOUR FAVOURITE
PLACE SOMETIMES, I THINK,
AND I THOUGHT, NOW I KNOW
WHERE IT COMES FROM.
YOU WERE SITTING THERE,
IT WAS LIKE YOU WERE
IN A LABORATORY SITUATION
THAT WAS THE PAST.
EVERYTHING WAS AROUND YOU,
SO IT MUST HAVE BEEN EASY
TO SLIP BACK TO
THE WARS
OR
TO
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
OR TO ALL THOSE
OTHER PLACES.

Timothy says IT REEKED OF ALL
THAT, IT REALLY DID,
BECAUSE THAT HOUSE HAD
PASSED THROUGH ALL OF THAT
HISTORY THAT FASCINATED ME.
AND WHEN IT CAME TIME TO
FOR INSTANCE, WHICH
IS A NOVEL THREE
OR FOUR YEARS AGO, I
SUDDENLY REALIZED THAT
THE FARM ITSELF WAS
ONE OF THE STARS.
I PUT ANOTHER HOUSE
IN PLACE OF OUR HOUSE,
BECAUSE I NEEDED A
LARGER HOUSE, ET CETERA,
FOR THAT FAMILY
TO LIVE IN.
BUT LOOKING OUT THE WINDOWS
OF THAT FICTIONAL HOUSE,
EVERY SINGLE THING
THAT WAS SEEN WAS WHAT
WE SEE FROM OUR HOUSE.
AND IN THE FIELD WHERE LILLY
KILWORTH IS BORN EARLY
IN THE BOOK - THE PIANO
MAN'S DAUGHTER HERSELF -
I ONCE WITNESSED A
CALF BEING BORN.
AND I REMEMBER
WALKING IN THE SNOW,
A SHORTCUT TO GO TO TOWN,
THROUGH THAT FIELD
ACROSS THE ROAD.
AND COMING UPON THIS CORNER
IT WAS LIKE AN EPIPHANY,
AND WRITERS DO
HAVE EPIPHANIES.
I REMEMBERED THE CALF BEING
BORN AND I SUDDENLY STOPPED
IN THE SNOW UP TO MY
KNEES AND WENT,
OH, MY GOD - THIS IS
WHERE LILLY IS BORN.
AND I HADN'T KNOWN
THAT; YOU DON'T PLAN
THESE THINGS, RICHARD.
THIS IS WHAT THE MAGIC
OF WRITING IS ABOUT,
IS THAT YOU WRITE
INWARD LIKE AN EXPLORER
ENTERING A CONTINENT
THAT'S NEVER BEEN
EXPLORED BY A
PERSON OF HIS RACE.
AND THIS IS WHAT YOU
FIND, IS THESE GIFTS.
SO, THE FARM KEPT DELIVERING
THESE GIFTS IN THESE WAYS.
AND IT WAS THE SETTING OF
NOT
WANTED ON THE VOYAGE, TOO.

Richard says YOU HAVE A WONDERFUL LINE
IN THE BOOK WHERE YOU SAY
YOU SEEM TO GET A
MESSAGE FROM THE FARM,
AND THE WALLS AROUND IT,
THAT SAYS: WE LIVED HERE,
WE PAUSED, WE MOVED
ON, WE CAME BACK.
THAT'S THE GREAT PART,
BECAUSE THEY COME BACK
IN THE WRITING,
DON'T THEY?

Timothy says YES, THEY DO.

Richard says I'VE READ DESCRIPTIONS
OVER THE YEARS ABOUT -
AS YOU SAID, YOUR MIND
TAKES YOU EVERYWHERE,
YOU TRUST THE SPIRIT OF THE
MOMENT TO TELL YOU HOW TO WRITE.
BUT YOU'VE DONE THINGS LIKE,
BEFORE YOU WERE DOING
THE WARS
OR DURING
THE WARS,
YOU WANTED TO KNOW WHAT
THE YOUNG MEN WENT THROUGH,
SO YOU TRIED TO GO OUT
FOR A DAY AND SUBSIST
ON THE GROUND.

Timothy says TERRIBLE COWARD THAT I
AM, PHYSICAL COWARD
IN THAT SENSE, BECAUSE I
THOUGHT, WELL...
I HAD THESE LETTERS FROM
MY UNCLE THAT HAD BEEN
PRESERVED AND GIVEN
TO ME AFTER HIS DEATH.
AND THEY WERE LETTERS
WRITTEN TO HIS FAMILY
FROM FRANCE AND BELGIUM IN
THE 1915 - 1918 PERIOD,
AND HE WAS WRITE IN THE
MIDDLE OF ALL THE GREAT
CANADIAN HORROR STORIES AT
YPRES AND PASSCHENDAELE
AND VIMY AND SO ON.
AND I THOUGHT, AS MUCH AS
I CAN GARNER WHAT THIS
WAS LIKE, I NEED TO KNOW,
MY BODY NEEDS TO KNOW,
WHAT THIS MUD FEELS LIKE.
I NEED TO KNOW WHAT IT'S
LIKE TO BE THIS COLD
AND COLD IN THIS
PARTICULAR WAY.
SO, IT WAS NOVEMBER, AND
WE HAD A LANEWAY THERE,
AND THE CATTLE USED
THAT AS THEIR COW PATH.
SO, THEY CHURNED
UP A LOT OF EARTH,
AND AS THE FALL
RAINS AND WET CAME,
THAT ALL SORT OF CREATED A
GREAT MIRE AT THE BOTTOM
OF THE HILL, WHICH THE
CATTLE WOULD THEN CHURN UP,
PADDING THROUGH IT
TO GO SOMEWHERE ELSE.
SO, I KNEW THIS WAS THERE,
LIKE A LITTLE MINI SETTING
OF THE BATTLEFIELD
IN THE WAR.
AND I WENT DOWN
WITH A SLEEPING BAG,
WEARING WHAT I HOPED WOULD
BE APPROPRIATE CLOTHING.
I DENIED MYSELF ANYTHING
BUT A BOX OF MATCHES,
I TOOK MY CIGARETTES, AND
I HAD A THERMOS OF TEA,
RICHARD - WHICH IS RIDICULOUS.
BUT I WASN'T ABOUT TO WASTE
TIME DOING THE STUFF
I KNEW HOW TO DO ALREADY, LIKE
A BUILD A FIRE AND SO ON.
BUT WHAT I HAD TO KNOW
WAS, CAN I SURVIVE THIS?
AND I SHAVED IN
COLD WATER.
NOW, THESE MEN,
BECAUSE OF LICE,
THEY WERE REQUIRED
TO SHAVE EVERY DAY.
NO HOT WATER, BECAUSE
FIRES WERE VERY SPARSE.
ANY FIRE HAD TO BE
USED FOR COOKING;
YOU DIDN'T SIT AROUND
HEATING UP YOUR SHAVING WATER.
ANY MAN WHO HAS SHAVED WITH
A BLADE IN COLD WATER
KNOWS THAT THIS IS ONE
OF THE GREAT AGONIES.
THAT ALONE, TRYING TO GO
TO THE BATHROOM - NOW,
FORGIVE ME IF I'M BEING
A LITTLE GRAPHIC HERE,
BUT THIS IS ONE OF
THE THINGS THAT'S
SO EXTRAORDINARY.
YOUR SEXUAL ORGANS
SHRINK IN THE COLD, SO,
A, TRYING TO FIND THEM, AND
HAVING TO TAKE OFF YOUR
GLOVES IN ORDER TO
DO SO, THEN HAVING
TO RELIEVE YOURSELF.
DEFECATION IS EVEN WORSE,
AS YOU CAN IMAGINE,
BECAUSE YOU'RE EXPOSING A
VERY TENDER PART OF YOUR BODY
TO FREEZING RAIN - IT WAS NOW
RAINING, BY THE WAY, AS WELL.
AND ALL THIS COLD,
AND I THOUGHT, MY GOD,
THE MEN IN THAT WAR, ASIDE
FROM THE FACT THAT THEY
WERE UNDER BOMBARDMENT, THAT
PEOPLE WERE FIRING AT THEM,
THAT EVERY TWO WEEKS THEY
HAD TO GO OVER THE TOP
AND TRY TO TAKE THE
TRENCH ON THE OTHER SIDE,
GETTING CAUGHT ON THE
WIRE, THEY WERE ALL
BEING KILLED LITERALLY
BY THE THOUSANDS.
THESE ARE THE LEAST
OF THEIR PROBLEMS,
BUT THIS WAS THE
STUFF OF DAILY LIFE.
YOUR BODY WAS THROWN INTO
A WORLD THAT NOWHERE ELSE
EXISTED BECAUSE IT WAS A
MANMADE CHAOS VERSION OF NATURE.
THEY'D BLOWN IT ALL UP,
SO IT WASN'T EVEN NATURAL
ANYMORE IN ANY WAY.
AND IT WAS A GREAT LESSON TO
ME TO DISCOVER THESE TINY
LITTLE DETAILS OF WHAT
IT WAS LIKE TO BE
A HUMAN BEING IN
THAT POSITION.
AND I HAD MEANT TO
SPEND 24 HOURS...

Richard says YOU DIDN'T MAKE IT?

Timothy says BY 10 O'CLOCK THAT NIGHT, I
SAID, THIS IS RIDICULOUS,
I'M GOING TO DO INJURY TO
MYSELF BY JUST LYING DOWN
IN THE RAIN AND STAYING.
I'VE PROVED MY POINT,
THANK GOD, AND WENT HOME.
[chuckles]

Richard says WHERE DO YOU FIND THE
COURAGE TO SIT DOWN BEFORE
THAT BLANK PAPER ALL
THE TIME IN WRITING?

Timothy says I THINK THAT IF IT IS
COURAGE - AND, OF COURSE,
IT IS; OF COURSE IT IS.
IF I DIDN'T CLAIM
IT FOR MYSELF,
I'D BE DENYING IT TO
EVERYBODY ELSE WHO SITS
IN FRONT OF A BLANK
PIECE OF PAPER.
BUT, EXAMPLE: I MADE
UP A BOOK AND I STILL
HAVE IT AND I STILL ADD
TO IT FROM TIME TO TIME.
BUT IT'S
SURPRISINGLY FULL.
IT'S JUST A NOTEBOOK AND
EVERYTHING IN THIS NOTEBOOK
IS IN MY OWN HANDWRITING,
WRITING DOWN CHEKHOV,
WRITING AS HE'S LOSING HIS
ABILITY TO CREATE THIS PLAY
THAT IS UNDER HIS PEN, AND
HE CAN'T GET IT RIGHT,
AND BLAH BLAH BLAH.
AND THIS IS FROM HIS
JOURNALS AND SOME LETTERS
HE WROTE TO HIS WIFE, OLGA,
IN MOSCOW; HE WAS DOWN SOUTH.
AND IT TURNS OUT THAT THIS
PLAY HE FELT HE'D FAILED
WAS
THREE SISTERS, AND HE
says HIS WONDERFUL LINE.
HE SAYS, AT THE END, I THINK
THE ONLY THING I THINK I CAN
DO IS WHAT THE LOCAL WOMEN
DO WHEN THEY BAKE A CAKE:
IS TAKE IT OUT OF THE OVEN,
SET IT ASIDE, AND LET IT SIGH.
ISN'T THAT WONDERFUL?
SO, HE DID, AND WE
HAVE
THREE SISTERS.
W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM, WHEN HE
WENT TO HIS DESK RELIGIOUSLY
EVERY MORNING AT NINE
O'CLOCK, HE SAT DOWN,
INTO HIS 80s,
PICKED UP THE PEN.
AND IN ORDER TO MAKE
SOMETHING HAPPEN,
HE WOULD WRITE:
W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM.
WILLIAM SOMERSET
MAUGHAM.
W. S. M.
AND HE'D WRITE
THIS ALL OUT.
HE MIGHT GO ON A PAGE
AND A HALF OF THIS.
FINALLY, THE PEN IS
GOING, AND IT SAYS,
WILLY MAUGHAM GOT
UP THIS MORNING,
AND THE FIRST THING HE
DID WAS WALK OUTSIDE
AND STAND BY THE
SWIMMING POOL.
AND THE NEXT THING HE KNOWS,
A STORY HAS STARTED BECAUSE
HE THREW HIMSELF INTO
LITERALLY THE THING
THAT WAS HIS LIFE,
THE PEN IN THE HAND,
THE MOTION WITH THE ARM,
THE INK ON THE PAPER.
AND IT WORKED EVERY TIME.

Richard says WE'VE BEEN TALKING
SOMERSET MAUGHAM, CHEKHOV.
AND IN
STONE ORCHARD, ONE OF
THE THINGS THAT'S WONDERFUL
IS THAT YOU'VE GOT THE PAST
OF THE FARM AND THE PAST
OF THE PEOPLE WHO'VE
LIVED THERE.
AND I KEEP THINKING
OF THE PAST,
AND I THINK IT'S THE HARTLEY
LINE FROM THE GO-BETWEEN,
“THE PAST IS A FOREIGN
COUNTRY: THEY DO THINGS
DIFFERENTLY THERE.”
IS IT A FOREIGN COUNTRY
YOU FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE IN?

Timothy says THAT'S POSSIBLY
TRUE, RICHARD;
I'VE NEVER THOUGHT OF
THAT MYSELF, IN THAT WAY,
BUT I DO KNOW THAT...
AND I DON'T KNOW WHY,
I SEE IT SO CLEARLY,
I CAN SMELL IT.
I CAN TASTE IT, I
CAN FEEL THE WAY...
HERE WE SIT WITH A FEW
LIGHTS BECAUSE WE'RE MAKING
A FILM, BUT THE LIGHTS
AROUND US ARE ALL LIGHTS
FROM THE TURN
OF THE CENTURY.
AND THEN THERE WAS OIL
LIGHTING BEFORE THAT,
AND YOU THINK, EVERYTHING
WAS DONE IN A DIFFERENT
QUALITY OF LIGHT;
EVERYTHING WAS SEEN
IN A DIFFERENT
QUALITY OF LIGHT.
YOUR BLUE JACKET, MY BLUE
SHIRT WOULD NOT HAVE LOOKED
THE SAME BY EVENTIDE
INSIDE A VICTORIAN HOUSE,
BECAUSE OF THE
QUALITY OF THE LIGHT.
SO, JUST SUBTLE THINGS
LIKE THAT SEEM TO BE
A NATURAL PART OF ME;
IT'S THE WAY I SEE.
AND I'M COMFORTABLE
THERE BECAUSE I KNOW
ALL THE PEOPLE THERE.
AND I CAN CONNECT ALL THE
PEOPLE THERE SUFFICIENTLY
WITH THE PEOPLE HERE IN THIS
LIFE TO KNOW WHAT THE LINES
ARE ABOUT AND HOW THAT,
THAT I WRITE ABOUT,
IS GOING TO AFFECT
THESE WHO ARE HERE.
YES, I WOULDN'T CALL
IT ANOTHER COUNTRY -
IT'S A BEAUTIFUL LINE.
BUT I WOULD CALL IT A
NEVER-ENDING SPACE
THAT IS CONSTANTLY THERE,
THAT I HAVE THE PRIVILEGE
OF OCCUPYING WITHOUT LOSING
MY PLACE IN FORWARD MOVEMENT.

Richard says PART OF THE REASON I THINK
ABOUT THE PAST BEING
A COMFORTABLE PLACE TO YOU IS
THAT ONE OF THE FEW TIMES
YOU LOOKED INTO THE PRESENT
OR FUTURE, ACTUALLY,
WAS IN
HEADHUNTER, AND
IT WAS ONE OF THE MOST
FRIGHTENING THINGS
YOU EVER WROTE.
WHEN YOU LOOKED AT THE
SOCIETY THAT WE'RE IN
AND ENTERING TOWARDS,
DID THAT FRIGHTEN YOU,
AS MUCH AS IT FRIGHTENS
US TO READ IT?

Timothy says TWO BOOKS HAVE
FRIGHTENED ME,
AND ONE WAS
NOT
WANTED ON THE VOYAGE,
BECAUSE WHAT I LEARNED IN
THE MAKING OF THAT BOOK,
WHEN Mrs. NOYES AT THE END
OF THE BOOK IS ASKED
TO MAKE A PRAYER AND SHE
says, I PRAY FOR RAIN.
AND I REMEMBER STANDING UP -
IT WAS THE VERY LAST THING
THAT I WROTE IN THAT BOOK -
AND I REMEMBER STANDING UP
AND MY FEELING WAS
NOT A FEELING OF FEAR,
BUT A FEELING OF RAGE.
LITERALLY A FEELING OF
RAGE, THAT WE HAVE PUT
THE HUMAN RACE IN THE
POSITION IT IS IN NOW,
WHERE ONE ANSWER WOULD
BE TO PRAY FOR RAIN
IN ORDER TO WIPE US ALL OUT,
AND THAT'S FRIGHTENING.
BUT THE OTHER WAS
HEADHUNTER,
AND I NEVER,
EVER WANT TO GO THROUGH
THAT KIND OF THING AGAIN.
I TRUST THIS IS NOT
SELF-AGGRANDIZING:
OH, MY GOD, HOW I
SUFFERED, YOU KNOW?
THAT BEAUTIFUL
CHEKHOVIAN MARTHA HENRY,
HANDKERCHIEF TO
THE FOREHEAD.
IT ISN'T THAT; IT'S THAT
YOU CAN'T REALLY BEAR
THE DWELLING IN THESE DARK
PLACES WHERE PEOPLE DO
DO THESE APPALLING
THINGS TO ONE ANOTHER,
AND TO SOCIETY
AT LARGE.
IT'S A PRETTY GHASTLY
PLACE TO STAY,
BUT THAT BOOK HAD TO BE
WRITTEN, AND I KNEW THAT.

Richard says WHY?

Timothy says IT HAD TO BE WRITTEN
BECAUSE IT TOLD THE TRUTH.
AND IT WAS THE KIND OF TRUTH
THAT HAD BEEN WRITTEN
AND DELIVERED IN THE
GREAT MASTERPIECES
OF LITERATURE
IN THE PAST.
AND NO ONE HAD
PAID ATTENTION,
OR THEY HADN'T PAID THE
RIGHT KIND OF ATTENTION.
SO, I PEOPLED MY
BOOK,
HEADHUNTER,
WITH EMMA BOVARY; WITH JAY
GATSBY; WITH PETER RABBIT;
WITH GRENDEL, THE
SO-CALLED MONSTER;
WITH SUSANNA MOODIE;
WITH ALL THE BLACK MAIDS
WHO WERE EVER WRITTEN IN
SOUTHERN AMERICAN
GOTHIC WRITING,
INCLUDING FAULKNER AND
INCLUDING CARSON
MCCULLERS, ET CETERA.
AND THIS BOOK IS FILLED
WITH ALL OF THESE PEOPLE,
AND THIS MAD LIBRARIAN WHO
FEELS SHE HAS GIVEN BIRTH
TO HEATHCLIFF'S CHILD.
WITH MY GREAT SAINT,
SAINT TERESA OF AVILA,
BEING BROUGHT BACK TO LIFE
IN TORONTO AND GETTING LOST
AND THINKING THAT THE
EATON CENTRE WAS A GRAND
CATHEDRAL, AND SHE GOES IN
THERE LOOKING FOR HOLY WATER.
YOU CAN IMAGINE
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN;
I THINK ALL HELL
WOULD BREAK LOOSE.
WHAT IS THIS
THING DOING HERE?
AND BLAMING OUR
PROBLEMS ON NATURE,
THAT THIS PLAGUE THAT
RUNS THROUGH THE BOOK
THAT PEOPLE SEIZED IN AN
ABSOLUTELY EVIL FASHION,
WHICH WE DO - AND I'M
INCLUDING ME IN THIS WE.
WELL, IT'S ALL THE
STARLINGS' FAULT.
IF YOU WANT TO REDUCE THAT
TO THE MOST RIDICULOUS,
TINY LITTLE LEVEL, RICHARD,
IT'S THE PEOPLE WHO PHONE
INTO RADIO STATIONS WHERE
THERE ARE QUESTIONS AND
ANSWERS ABOUT NATURE.
AND THEY SAY THESE APPALLING
THINGS LIKE, WELL,
I HAVE A BIRD FEEDER, AND
ALL THESE STARLINGS KEEP
COMING AND EATING IT
ALL, AND I WANT SOME
CARDINALS AND BLUE JAYS.
AND ALL THESE SQUIRRELS
KEEP BEING HUNGRY AND
TRYING TO TAKE
MY BIRD FOOD.
I MEAN, IF I'M
NOT A VIOLENT MAN,
AT LEAST DON'T EVER
PUT A GUN IN MY HAND.
BUT THE FEELING INSIDE
IS AKIN TO THAT,
BECAUSE THAT'S WHERE IT
BEGINS: THE ATTITUDE THAT
WHERE WE LIVE ON THIS PLANET
IS BASICALLY ONLY HERE FOR US.
AND IT EXTENDS INTO GOVERNMENTS...
ALL OUR GOVERNMENTS,
NOT JUST THE
GOVERNMENT OF ONTARIO,
BUT THE GOVERNMENT
OF CANADA,
THE GOVERNMENT OF QUEBEC,
THE GOVERNMENT OF MONTREAL.
THE GOVERNMENT OF MONTREAL -
THAT'S A FREUDIAN SOMETHING.
GOVERNMENT OF
NEWFOUNDLAND,
BRITISH COLUMBIA,
ET CETERA.
EACH IN OUR OWN WAY - IN
ALBERTA, THIS PAST SUMMER,
THEY OPENED UP THE DOORS TO
TAKING DOWN THE NEXT
HOWEVER MANY MILLIONS OF
ACRES IT IS OF TREES.
AND THE FISHERY DIDN'T
GO DEAD FOR NOTHING.
GET FARLEY MOWAT ON THAT
AND YOU'VE GOT THE TRUTH,
NOT THIS WISHY-WASHY.
WELL,
HEADHUNTER
WAS
A BOOK THAT SAID,
WE'RE GOING TO STOP LYING
NOW AND REINTRODUCE THESE
EXAMPLES OF PEOPLES WHOSE
LIVES - NOT TO SAY THE LEAST
OF THEM - KURTZ AND MARLOW
FROM
HEART OF DARKNESS.
THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO
WERE PUT ON THE PAGE IN ORDER
TO HELP US UNDERSTAND
THE DIRECTION WE HAD STARTED
TO TAKE, WE'RE TAKING, AND
WE TOOK IT NONETHELESS.

Richard says AFTER ALL THIS DARKNESS,
I WANT TO RETURN TO
FROM STONE ORCHARD
AND MY
HAPPIEST MEMORY IN THE BOOK,
WHICH IS YOU SITTING
IN THE HERB GARDEN.
AND YOU TALK ABOUT HOW
YOU'D GO OUT THERE AND JUST
LOSE YOURSELF
IN THE SMELL.
WHY ARE YOU SO PASSIONATE
ABOUT HERBS RATHER THAN FLOWERS?

Timothy says THE TEXTURE.
THE LOVELY THYME BETWEEN
THE STONES; AS YOU WALK,
IT ALL FLOATS
UP INTO THE AIR.
AND JUST REACHING OUT
AND TOUCHING THE LEAVES,
IT ISN'T JUST THAT THEY
HAVE THIS WONDERFUL SCENT,
BUT THE SCENT HAS WEIGHT.
WHEN IT'S IN THE
AIR, THE AIR CHANGES.
AND YOU FEEL IT
MOVE AROUND YOU,
BECAUSE YOU'VE THROWN
THIS SCENT INTO THE AIR
UNDER THE CURRENTS
OF THE AIR.
AND THERE WERE STONES,
THE BIRDBATH, A BENCH,
BEAUTIFUL POTS WITH
SOME OF THE HERBS,
BECAUSE YOU CAN'T LEAVE THEM
ALL OUTSIDE OVER THE WINTER,
SO WE'D BRING THEM INTO THE
HOUSE OVER THE WINTERTIME.
AND THEN, HERB
BEDS THEMSELVES,
WITH GIGANTIC MOUNDS OF
ALL THIS GLORIOUS STUFF.
AND A TREE BEHIND, AND I
COULD SIT ON THIS BENCH,
THE CATS WOULD COME OUT,
AND THEY ADORED IT
BECAUSE THEY
LOVED THE HERBS.
THEY WOULD EAT THEM, OR
THEY WOULD JUST LOVE
TO LIE AMONGST THEM.
THEY'D LIE ON THE COOL
STONES IN THE HOT SUMMER,
AND THE BIRDS
WOULD STILL COME,
IN SPITE OF THE
CATS BEING THERE,
BECAUSE THE CATS WOULD
JUST LOOK UP AT THE BIRDBATH
AND GO, GO AWAY, I'M
TOO HOT TO DO THIS.
AND YOU'D HAVE BIRDS
BATHING IN THE BATH,
AND A SPLIT RAIL FENCE,
WHICH IS ONE OF THE MOST
PLEASING, AESTHETIC IMAGES
THE EYE CAN BEHOLD
IN A COUNTRYSIDE, IS THE ROWS
AND ROWS OF SPLIT RAIL FENCES.
AND THE SKY AND
THE OTHER TREES,
AND IT WAS SUCH A GIFT
OF THIS ENCLOSED PLACE,
KNOWING WHAT WAS BEYOND IT
WAS THE REST OF THE GARDEN
AND THE HOUSE AND THAT
BILL WAS IN THE HOUSE.
AND THE ANIMALS, THE
DOGS, THE HORSES, ET CETERA.
WE USED TO HAVE
TWO FARM HORSES
THAT WE TOOK CARE OF.
AND IF YOU CAN'T GAIN
NURTURE FROM THIS,
THERE'S SOMETHING
WRONG - NOT WITH YOU,
BUT WITH THE WAY WE'VE,
AGAIN, BEEN CUT OFF.

Richard says THANK YOU FOR THE BOOK,
THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING -
AGAIN, I FINALLY HAVE
A CHANCE TO TELL YOU.
FROM STONE ORCHARD, ONE MORE
CHAPTER IN THE ONGOING BOOK
THAT IS TIMOTHY FINDLEY.

Timothy says THANK YOU, RICHARD.

Richard says THANK YOU.

He faces the screen and concludes
FOR
DIALOGUE, I'M
RICHARD OUZOUNIAN.
GOODBYE FOR NOW.

Music plays as the end slate reads “Dialogue.”

A production of TVOntario. Copyright 1998, The Ontario Educational Communications Authority.

Watch: Timothy Findley