Transcript: Ray Robertson | May 07, 2000

(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 in a dark television studio, which slowly lights up: “Ray Robertson. 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 light gray suit, and a black shirt.

He says WELCOME TO DIALOGUE.
I'M RICHARD OUZOUNIAN.
YOU'RE ABOUT TO MEET A
MAN WHOSE FIRST NOVEL,
HOME MOVIES, WAS HERALDED BY
THE CRITICS AS FEATURING GENUINE
TALENT, LITERARY WILDNESS,
AND TRUE BRILLIANCE.
I CAN VOUCH FOR THE TRUE
BRILLIANCE BECAUSE HE'S ALSO
A FREQUENT PANELIST ON
OUR BOOK SHOW,
IMPRINT.
WE'RE HERE TO TALK ABOUT
HIS NEW BOOK,
HEROES.

Richard briefly displays the book, with a gray cover, and continues THIS
DIALOGUE
IS
WITH RAY ROBERTSON.

Ray is in his late thirties, clean-shaven, with receding brown hair. He’s wearing a washed maroon shirt.

Richard continues WELCOME TO THE SHOW TODAY.

Ray says THANKS, RICHARD.

Richard says I'VE GOT TO ASK YOU,
THERE'S NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE
WHO ARE ON, I GUESS, ON A
SURFACE LEVEL,
HEROIC IN THIS BOOK.
SO WHY IS IT CALLED
HEROES?

Ray says I GUESS, YOU LOOK AROUND,
THERE AREN'T THAT TOO MANY
PEOPLE WHO ARE HEROIC
IN YOUR LIFE, EITHER.
I THINK THE BOOK IS ABOUT THE
NEED FOR HEROES, AS OPPOSED
TO MOST BOOKS WHICH HAVE A
STRONG CENTRAL PROTAGONIST,
AND STRONG AFFIRMING WOMAN
WHO OVERCOMES CERTAIN THINGS,
AND THE MAN WHO OVERCOMES HIS
MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS AND TURNS
OUT BEING A GREAT FARMER
IN SASKATCHEWAN OR SOME
CANADIAN LIT THEME LIKE THAT.
THE IDEA OF THIS BOOK, I
THINK, IF THERE IS AN IDEA,
I DON'T WANT TO REDUCE IT TO
THAT, IF THERE IS A THEME AT
WORK, AND I THINK THERE IS,
IS THE NEED WE ALL HAVE
FOR HEROES.
WHETHER IT BE JESUS CHRIST,
OR TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS,
OR THE PROTAGONIST'S SISTER.
SHE GOES THROUGH
A WHOLE VARIETY.
SHE BECOMES A CATHOLIC.
SHE BECOMES AN ECO WARRIOR.
ALL THESE THINGS -- AND THE
FATHER IS OBSESSED WITH
HOCKEY, AND THAT'S
HIS REASON FOR LIVING.
AND PETER, THE PROTAGONIST,
HE'S TAKING THE OPPOSITE ROUTE.
HE THINKS MAYBE IF HE HIDES
FROM THE LUST FROM MEANING,
THAT WILL GIVE HIM PEACE.

Richard says NOW, PETER IS A
FASCINATING CHARACTER.
HE'S WORKING ON HIS DOCTORATE
IN PHILOSOPHY, RIGHT?
AND HE'S A SOMETIME
WRITER FOR
TORONTO LIVING.

Ray says HIS GIRLFRIEND'S MAGAZINE.

Richard says MIGHT BE A CONTRADICTION
IN TERMS,
TORONTO LIVING.
BUT HE GOES OFF AT A
POINT WHEN HE'S, I GUESS,
DESPERATELY TRYING TO
SELF-DESTRUCT HIS CAREER AND
HIS LIFE IN A WAY, AND HE
WINDS UP GOING DOWN TO KANSAS
TO WRITE A STORY ON HOCKEY.

A caption appears on screen. It reads “Ray Robertson. Author.”

Ray says YEAH.
WELL, HIS GIRLFRIEND
FORCES HIM TO.
SHE SAYS, SHE'S THE EDITOR FOR
THIS MAGAZINE,
TORONTO LIVING,
AND HE'S A PhD WITH AN
INTEREST IN SEXTUS EMPIRICUS.
WHO'S A PHILOSOPHER WHO HIS
WHOLE PHILOSOPHY IS KIND OF
THE BUDDHIST IDEA IN A SENSE.
DON'T THINK ABOUT THINGS, DON'T
GET INVOLVED, AND THAT WILL
GIVE YOU PEACE.
DON'T TAKE A STAND ON ISSUES.
DON'T FIND A HERO.
BECAUSE IF YOU DO, IT'LL
GET ALL SORTS OF MESSY.
PASSION IS A MESSY THING.
SO BAYLE IS TAKEN TO DRINKING
A LOT AND GETTING INTO FIGHTS.
VERY UN KIND OF
ACADEMIC THINGS.
HE'S TAKEN TO HANGING OUT IN
THIS QUEEN STREET DIVE THAT
BEARS SOME RESEMBLANCE
TO A BAR THAT I GO TO.

Richard says JUST A BIT.

Ray says AND HIS LIFE IS
KIND OF IN CHAOS.
JANE IS VERY PROPER, AND
SHE'S, YOU CAN IMAGINE
TORONTO LIVING, SHE'S
AN EDITOR THERE.
AND SHE BASICALLY, SHE SENDS
HIM ON A PLANE TO KANSAS
AND SAYS, YOU KNOW, YOU
CAN DO THIS JOURNALISTIC
ETIQUETTE STUFF.
YOU'RE PRETTY SMART.
YOU'RE A CANADIAN MALE
BETWEEN THE AGES OF 8 AND 65,
YOU KNOW HOCKEY.
GIVE ME 4,000 WORDS ON THE
AMERICANIZATION OF HOCKEY.
AND IN THE MEANTIME, THE REAL
REASON YOU ARE GOING IS THINK
ABOUT US, THINK ABOUT YOUR
LIFE, THINK ABOUT WHY YOU
CAN'T -- YOU HAVE THIS
DOCTORATE, IT'S BRILLIANT,
THIS PhD THESIS, WHY
DON'T YOU FINISH IT?
WHY DON'T YOU DEFEND IT AND GET
ON WITH BEING PROFESSOR BAYLE?

Richard says WHEN WE MEET HIM, IT'S FUNNY
BECAUSE HE'S ON AN AIRPLANE,
WHICH IS ALWAYS TERRIFIC.
AND I THINK HE'S GOING
THROUGH, WHAT IS HIS THIRTEENTH
MINIATURE BOTTLE
OF CANADIAN CLUB?

Ray says CANADIAN CLUB.

Richard says AND HE'S READING STUFF BY

Ray says SEXTUS EMPIRICUS, YEAH.

Richard says AND HE SAYS, I REMEMBER ONE
OF HIS GREAT LINES IS, ONE OF
THE BEST PARTS ABOUT WORKING
IN PHILOSOPHY IS THAT MOST
OF YOUR COLLEAGUES ARE DEAD.
AND THEN THERE'S A TYPICAL
RAH, RAH, AMERICAN FIGURE
NEXT TO HIM.
AND RIGHT AWAY, YOU
SEE A REAL CLASH HERE.
YOU ALSO BECOME AWARE YOU'RE
NOT DEALING WITH YOUR AVERAGE
CANADIAN LITERARY HERO.
THIS IS A GUY WHO'S GOT
AROUND FIVE LAYERS OF SHALE
GOING ON DOWN TO THE BOTTOM.
DID YOU DELIBERATELY
PLANT HIM THAT WAY?

Ray says DELIBERATELY IN THE SENSE
I DON'T WANT TO WRITE A
TYPICAL SORT OF SOLEMN, VERY
SENSITIVE CANADIAN LITERATURE
KIND OF HERO, NO.
BUT I THINK MY LITERARY
ANTECEDENTS ARE NOT -- A LOT
OF CANADIAN LITERATURE TURNS
ITS EYES TOWARD THE EUROPEAN
MODEL, I THINK.
I LIKE EUROPEAN LITERATURE.
THERE'S A LOT TO BE SAID.
I TAUGHT A COURSE ON
DOSTOEVSKY LAST SUMMER,
SO I'M ALL FOR THE EUROPEANS.
BUT THERE IS THIS KIND OF,
WHAT'S IN VOGUE RIGHT NOW IS
THIS VERY SENSITIVE, VERY
ELLIPTICAL SORT OF, HMM, IS IT
TRUE THAT I FEEL THIS WAY?
I DON'T KNOW.
LET ME PURSUE MY MEMORY ON IT.
MY MODELS WERE ALWAYS
AMERICAN, EVEN LATIN AMERICAN,
BUT MOSTLY AMERICAN WRITERS.
WRITERS LIKE THOMAS MCGUANE,
BARRY HANNAH, CONTEMPORARIES.

Richard says DON DeLILLO?

Ray says DeLILLO FOR SURE.
AND I DON'T FEEL
ANY EMBARRASSMENT.
I REMEMBER I READ -- OR
HEARD AN INTERVIEW WITH
ALICE MUNRO, AND THEY ASKED
HER ABOUT THE CRITICS' REACTION
TO ONE OF HER BOOKS, AND
SHE SAID, YOU KNOW WHAT,
MY BEST CRITICS
WERE AMERICANS.
AND THEY WERE LIKE,
OH, NO, DON'T SAY THAT.
SHE SAID, WELL,
WHO DID YOU READ?
WE'LL GET OFF THAT?
DID YOU READ SUSANNA MOODIE
WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG,
OR MARGARET LAURENCE?
SHE SAID I READ FLANNERY
O'CONNOR, EUDORA WELTY
AND CARSON McCULLERS.
NOW, DOES THAT MEAN YOU
WRITE ABOUT THE RULE SOUTH?
NO, YOU WRITE ABOUT SNOW AND
HOCKEY AND SMALL TOWNS IN
ONTARIO, BUT THE TOOLS THAT
YOU USE TO PURSUE THEM WERE
THE MODELS SHE FOUND.
SO MY MODELS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN
THESE CHARACTERS THAT KIND OF
SIT ON THE FENCE BETWEEN BEING
A STORY-DRIVEN NOVEL AND
ALSO A DEEP,
THEMATICALLY RICH NOVEL.
CANADIAN LITERATURE SEEMS
TO BE ONE OR THE OTHER.
YOU'VE GOT THE DOMESTIC
DILEMMA NOVEL, WHICH IS
FRIENDSHIP NOVEL, ROMANTIC
NOVEL, WHY MY FAMILY'S
DYSFUNCTIONAL NOVEL.
OR THE OPPOSITE EXTREME.
THE SELF-CONSCIOUSLY
EXPERIMENTAL SORT OF, I MUST
NOW PURSUE MY MEMORY, FOR IF
I DO NOT, I WILL NOT KNOW
MY FUTURE, AND IT IS VERY --
THE TWO DON'T SEEM
TO WELD VERY MUCH.

Richard says IT'S FUNNY.
BECAUSE IF YOU TOOK HUGE
CHUNKS OUT OF YOUR NOVEL,
AND YOU JUST LET IT GO IN
A STRAIGHT LINEAR WAY.
IF PETER, WHO WAS HAVING
TROUBLE WITH HIS PHILOSOPHICAL
DISSERTATION AND DRANK TOO
MUCH, AND HAD THE CHIC TORONTO
GIRLFRIEND THAT HE WAS NOT
PERFORMING WELL WITH --

Ray says PERFORMING AT ALL.

Richard says PERFORMING AT ALL.
YOU HAVE A CERTAIN
KIND OF TORONTO BOOK.

Ray says YEAH.

Richard says BUT THEN HE GETS
SENT TO KANSAS.
HE, OF COURSE, HAS TO TOUCH
ROOTS WITH THE GREAT CANADIAN
SPORT IN KANSAS.
AND HE GETS INVOLVED
IN A NARRATIVE.
I DON'T WANT TO RUIN IT FOR
ANYONE WHO IS READING IT, BUT
THERE IS A LOT OF REAL JUICY
PLOT TWISTS AND TURNS, AND
BLACK HUMOUR AND VIOLENCE,
AND ALL THIS STUFF GOING ON.
BUT I KEPT SAYING TO MYSELF,
YOU KNOW, THE LINE EDWARD
ALBEE HAD IN
THE ZOO STORY.
“SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO GO A
LONG DISTANCE OUT OF YOUR WAY
IN ORDER TO COME BACK A
SHORT DISTANCE CORRECTLY.”

Ray says ABSOLUTELY.

Richard says THIS CANADIAN HAS TO GO
DOWN TO KANSAS TO LEARN
ABOUT WHAT HOCKEY AND
LIFE MEANT TO HIM.

Ray says ABSOLUTELY.
AND THE DEATH OF HIS SISTER.
HIS FATHER'S DEATH AND
HIS SISTER'S SUICIDE.
I SHOULDN'T HAVE SAID THAT.
YOU PRETTY MUCH KNOW THAT.

Richard says YOU PRETTY MUCH GUESS THAT.

Ray says I ABSOLUTELY BELIEVE THAT.
MY FIRST NOVEL,
HOME MOVIES,
IT BEGINS WITH AN EVOCATION
OF SNOW.
THE CHARACTER IS
25 IN THE BOOK.
HE IS A TORONTO ALTERNATIVE
COUNTRY ROCK KIND OF GUY.
BUT THE NOVEL BEGINS WHEN HE'S
12 YEARS OLD, LOOKING OUT THE
WINDOW AT THE SNOW.
I WROTE THAT IN TEXAS WHEN IT
WAS 100 DEGREES, SITTING IN A
WOODEN CHAIR NAKED WITH A
FAN ON ME, BLOWING ON ME.
I COULDN'T UNDERSTAND SNOW.
YOU'RE UP TO YOUR
NOSE IN SNOW IN CANADA.
YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND SNOW
UNTIL YOU ARE DYING FOR A
COOL BREEZE, YOU KNOW?
AND I DON'T THINK BAYLE, AT
THE SAME TIME, UNDERSTOOD HIS
FATHER, HIS PAST, WHAT
HOCKEY MEANS TO CANADA,
WHAT PASSION MEANS.
THIS IS A GUY WHO'S SUPPOSED
TO BE A DEEP THINKER,
A PHILOSOPHER.
BUT, REALLY, IT'S KIND
OF AN ANESTHETIC.
HE'S TAKEN PHILOSOPHY
AS A WAY TO AVOID LIFE.
WHEN HE GOES DOWN TO KANSAS,
HE CAN'T AVOID LIFE.
TORONTO, YOU CAN DO A PRETTY
GOOD JOB OF AVOIDING LIFE.
IT'S A PRETTY BUSY TOWN.
ESPECIALLY IF YOU'RE
KIND OF CONNECTED.
YOU'RE A PhD PHILOSOPHER,
YOUR GIRLFRIEND IS THIS CHIC,
LIKE YOU SAY,
TORONTO LIVING
EDITOR, AND YOU GET THE RIGHT
HAIRCUT, YOU CAN AVOID
ALL SORTS OF PROBLEMS.
IN KANSAS, I LIVED
THERE FOR 13 MONTHS.
I REMEMBER ONE MORNING I
WAS GETTING UP TO TEACH.
I TURNED THE RADIO ON.
AND USUALLY I HAD FM ON FOR
MUSIC, BUT I HAVE IT ON AM
BECAUSE THE BALL GAME WAS ON
THE NIGHT BEFORE, SO THE SAME
STATION THE BALL GAME WAS ON.
AND I THOUGHT THIS WAS
A PARODY WHAT WAS ON.
IT WAS G. GORDON LIDDY.
I DON'T KNOW IF YOU'RE
FAMILIAR WITH G. GORDON LIDDY.
HE'S GOT HIS OWN
RADIO SHOW DOWN THERE.
IT'S SYNDICATED, LIKE
TONS OF STATIONS.
AND I THOUGHT BEING A GOOD
CANADIAN BOY, I THOUGHT THIS
WAS A PARODY OF WHAT A RIGHT
WING NUT, SOMETHING YOU'D
PARODY IN THE '40s THAT
DOESN'T EXIST ANYMORE.
AND SCARED THE HELL OUT OF ME.
AND THEN I STARTED WATCHING
RUSH LIMBAUGH ON TELEVISION.
I COULDN'T STOP WATCHING RUSH,
EITHER, AND LISTENING TO HIM.
AND I BECAME OBSESSED
WITH THESE NUTS.
BECAUSE IT'S NOT SOMETHING
A GOOD TORONTO LIBERAL
BACKGROUND PREPARES YOU FOR.
I WAS FORCED TO TAKE
STANDS ON THE THINGS.
I NEVER QUESTIONED MY STAND
ON ABORTION OR RECYCLING
OR ANYTHING LIKE THIS.
JUST THE THINGS A GOOD
TORONTONIAN LIBERAL BELIEVES IN.

Richard says SO GETTING SHAKEN UP, AND
CONFRONTING ALL OF THAT,
WHAT DID IT DO?
DID IT MAKE YOUR
CONVICTIONS STRONGER?

Ray says WELL, IT DOES TWO THINGS.
YEAH, THAT WOULD BE
THE TYPICAL NOVEL.
I NEVER REALLY HAD A CHANCE TO
AFFIRM THESE THINGS, BUT NOW
I CAN, END OF NOVEL, ENDS
IN A VERY POSITIVE SORT OF
McCANN LIT, AS I LIKE
TO CALL IT, KIND OF WAY.
BUT PASSION AND FAITH REALLY,
WE'RE TALKING ABOUT FAITH.
AND THAT'S WHAT THIS
BOOK IS ABOUT, HEROES.
WHEN YOU HAVE FAITH IN JESUS,
AND YOU HAVE FAITH IN THE
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS, TALKING
ABOUT A HERO, IT CUTS BOTH WAYS.
BECAUSE YOU LOOK IN THE FACE
OF SOME PEOPLE WHO HAVE FAITH
JUST AS STRONG AS YOURS,
STRONGER THAN YOURS,
IT MAKES YOU QUESTION.
YOU CAN JUST SAY,
WELL, THEY'RE NUTS.
BUT YOU ALSO ASK QUESTIONS
ABOUT, WELL, WHAT MAKES
SOMEONE BELIEVE THAT STRONGLY?
AND, YOU KNOW, THERE IS A GREAT
SCENE IN ALBEE, YOU MENTIONED --
ANOTHER PLAYWRIGHT, ARTHUR
MILLER'S PLAY,
AFTER THE FALL,
HE'S KIND OF A BAYLE-LIKE
CHARACTER, KIND OF
AT LOOSE ENDS.
HE GOES WITH HIS GIRLFRIEND
OR HIS NEW WIFE TO GERMANY.
SHE'S GERMAN.

Richard says QUINTON AND HELGA.

Ray says YEAH.
AND THEY TOUR
THE GAS CHAMBERS.
AND HE HAS THE TYPICAL
REACTION, MY GOD, WHAT HAVE
THEY DONE TO HUMANITY.
AND THEN HE THOUGHT, IF I
EVER BELIEVED IN ANYTHING
AS DEEPLY AS THESE THINGS
HAD, WHAT A HORRIBLE FEELING.
THEY BELIEVED SO DEEPLY.
HOW COULD THEY BE SO WRONG,
YET SO BELIEVE, AND I CAN'T --
IT'S LIKE THAT YEATS POEM, YOU
KNOW, THE BEST LACK ALL
BELIEF, AND THE WORST ARE FULL
OF CONVICTION, KIND OF THING.
SO I THINK IT'S NOT AS EASY
AS, OH, I NEVER KNEW THAT
RECYCLING WAS SO RIGHT.
YEAH, YOU GO DOWN
TO BASE QUESTIONS.
I DIDN'T DO A
DEGREE IN ENGLISH.
I DID A DEGREE IN
PHILOSOPHY AT U of T.
I WAS ON MY WAY TO BAYLEHOOD.
I GRADUATED HIGH
DISTINCTION PHILOSOPHY.

Richard says I WAS GOING TO SAY,
WE HAVE TO GO BACK.
YOU ARE OBVIOUSLY NOT PETER.

Ray says NO.
BUT ELEMENTS.

Richard says THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENCES.
BUT HE IS A PHILOSOPHER,
YOU'RE A PHILOSOPHER.

Ray says YEAH, I WAS.

Richard says YOU
WERE
A PHILOSOPHER.
BUT THEN YOU WENT
FROM PHILOSOPHY INTO
CREATIVE WRITING.

Ray says YEAH, NOVELS, YEAH.
MY FIRST NOVEL.

Richard says WHAT MADE YOU, FIRST OF ALL,
WANT TO BE A PHILOSOPHER?
YOU THOUGHT YOU MUST HAVE WANTED
TO BE A PHILOSOPHER, RIGHT?

Ray says OH, YEAH, ABSOLUTELY.
I KNEW FOR SURE.
WHEN I BOUGHT
WHY I'M NOT A
CHRISTIAN
BY BERTRAND RUSSELL
AT A CHURCH BAKE SALE, BELIEVE
IT OR NOT, WHEN I WAS 16,
IN A SMALL TOWN IN SOUTHERN
ONTARIO, YOU KNOW, AND I
BOUGHT THAT BOOK, AND THIS WAS
EVERYTHING I FELT BUT I NEVER
HAD A CHANCE TO ARTICULATE.

Richard says THAT'S SUBVERSIVE.

Ray says ABSOLUTELY.
YOU KNOW, I REMEMBER SITTING
IN A LAWN CHAIR IN SUBURBIA
READING
WHY I'M NOT A
CHRISTIAN
BY BERTRAND RUSSELL.
AND I GUESS IT COMES FROM
LIVING IN A COMMUNITY THAT'S
BASICALLY NOT VERY
SUPER REFLECTIVE.
THAT'S NOT THE PRIORITY.
IT'S AN INDUSTRIAL TOWN.
IT'S A FARMING TOWN.
SO PHILOSOPHY WAS APPEALING.
LIKE A LOT OF YOUNG PEOPLE,
YOU WANT TO GET AT THE ROOTS.
YOU DON'T WANT THE
SUPERFICIALITY.
YOU WANT THE ROOTS OF IT.
AND I ALWAYS THOUGHT THAT
WOULD BE A WONDERFUL WAY
TO LIVE YOUR LIFE.
THE UNEXAMINED LIFE
ISN'T WORTH LIVING.
AFTER ENOUGH TIME, I REALIZED
THE OPPOSITE WAS ALSO TRUE,
IN THE SENSE THAT THE
SOLELY EXAMINED LIFE
ISN'T REALLY LIVABLE.
AND I KIND OF HAD A BREAKDOWN,
KIND OF LIKE BAYLE DOES,
EXCEPT INSTEAD OF TURNING
TO DRINKING, I TURNED TO
EMOTIONAL AND MENTAL DISTRESS.
AND PRETTY MUCH WAS CLOSE
TO INSTITUTIONALIZED,
TO A DEGREE.
LUCKILY, I MET MY
GIRLFRIEND, MY WIFE.
AND I REMEMBER
BEING IN HER STUDIO.
SHE'S A PAINTER.
AND I WAS IN HER STUDIO.
THIS WAS SOON AFTER WE MET.
AND I'VE GOT MY PHILOSOPHY
BOOKS OUT, AND I'M DOING
MY THESIS.
I'M DOING MY THESIS.
AND I GOT MY SCHOPENHAUER, AND
MY NIETZSCHE, AND I'M DOING
MY THING AND MAKING
ALL MY NOTES.
AND SHE'S SITTING ON THE FLOOR
MIXING PAINT WITH HER HANDS.
AND I LOOKED AT HER.
AND SHE LOOKED LIKE SHE
WAS HAVING SO MUCH FUN.
SHE WAS SO 'ONE'.
ALL THE PHILOSOPHERS
TALK ABOUT.
THAT ONENESS, THAT SENSE OF...
AND I THOUGHT, WHY AREN'T
I HAVING THAT KIND
OF FUN, YOU KNOW?
NOT LIKE LICKING AN
ICE CREAM CONE FUN.
BUT IN THE SENSE SHE HAS THIS
CRAFT THAT SHE'S LOST IN.
THERE'S A GREAT POEM BY
BAUDELAIRE IN
PARIS SPLEEN
WHERE HE TALKS ABOUT BE ALWAYS
DRUNKEN, WHETHER IT BE WITH
WINE, VIRTUE OR WHAT HAVE YOU.
AND I THOUGHT, WHAT AM I NOT
GETTING ANYMORE FROM PHILOSOPHY?
AND IT WASN'T THAT IT WASN'T
FUN TO GO TO THE LIBRARY.
I FELT I WASN'T GETTING
MY HANDS ON LIFE ANYMORE.
I STARTED OFF DOING PHILOSOPHY
'COS I WANTED TO GET THE
ROOTS OF LIFE.
I DIDN'T WANT THE SUPERFICIAL
KIND OF, YOU KNOW, DO THIS,
DON'T DO THAT, I WANT TO
KNOW WHY WE LIVE AND
THAT KIND OF STUFF.
AND I FOUND THAT PHILOSOPHY,
MAYBE IT WAS MY FAULT AS A
PHILOSOPHER, I DON'T KNOW,
WASN'T ALLOWING ME ACCESS TO
THOSE AREAS OF HUMAN
EXPERIENCE ANYMORE.
I WAS TRYING TO EAT SOUP WITH
A FORK, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN?
I DIDN'T HAVE THE RIGHT TOOLS.

Richard says THERE'S AN AMAZING SECTION
NEAR THE END OF THE BOOK, AND
I DON'T THINK I'M GIVING AWAY
PLOT ON THIS ONE TOO MUCH, IS
THAT BAYLE FINALLY GOES FOR
HIS DOCTORAL DEFENCE, TO
DEFEND HIS DISSERTATION, AND
HE'S WHACKED OUT OF HIS MIND.
HE'S NEAR BREAKDOWN POINT.
AND YOU KIND OF
COAST THROUGH IT.
AND YOU'RE CONVINCED HE'S
BEEN SET UP FOR DISASTER.
AND YOU FIND OUT THEN
THEY TURN TO HIM AND SAY,
CONGRATULATIONS, Dr. BAYLE.
AND YOU HAVE A SECTION ABOUT
YOU KNOW IT'S LIKE A GUY WHO
CAN PLAY HOCKEY.
AND EVEN IF HE'S AT THE
BOTTOM OF HIS GAME,
HE STILL KNOWS HOW TO KEEP
THE SHOTS GOING INTO THE NET.

Ray says ABSOLUTELY.
HE CAN'T HELP BUT DO IT.

Richard says WERE YOU AFRAID THAT'S
WHAT YOU MIGHT BECOME?

Ray says OH, ABSOLUTELY.
YEAH, I MEAN, I FELT I'D BEEN
ON THE PATH FOR SO LONG,
I DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO
DO ANYTHING ELSE.
I WAS
ALWAYS
READING.
I WROTE AN ESSAY BOOK
RECENTLY, NOT OUT YET, ABOUT
HOW I WAS DOING PHILOSOPHY BY
DAY, BUT BY NIGHT, WITH MY
FRIENDS, WE WOULD HAVE THE
BEER BOTTLES ON THE KITCHEN
TABLE, AND THE
POETRY AND THE NOVEL.
SO ALWAYS I WAS READING, AND
ALWAYS I WAS SCRIBBLING.
BUT I ALWAYS THOUGHT NOVELS
WERE SECOND RATE PHILOSOPHY.
YOU WEREN'T GETTING AT --
YOU KNOW, PLATO GAVE US
THIS PREJUDICE.
I MEAN, FOR ONE GENERATION OF
WRITERS, IT WAS THE YOKE OF
JESUS, CHRIST THEY HAD TO
OVERCOME, OR DEAL WITH, EVEN
IF THEY BECAME,
STATED CHRISTIANS.
FOR MY GENERATION, I THINK IT
WAS PLATO, YOU HAD TO DEAL
WITH PLATO.
'COS PLATO SAID, YOU KNOW,
THE ARTISTS ARE DECEIVERS.
THEY'RE NOT GETTING
AT THE TRUTH.
THEY'RE JUST MAKING THESE
PRETTY SOUNDS THAT ARE VERY
ALLURING, BUT THEY'RE
NOT AT THE TRUTH.
AND I FELT THAT MORE AND MORE
AS TIME WENT BY, I WASN'T
GETTING AT THE
REAL THING ANYMORE.
AND I FELT IF I KEPT GOING ON
THIS PATH OF PHILOSOPHY, YOU
JUST GET DEEPER AND DEEPER
'TIL IT BECOMES YOUR IDENTITY.
PEOPLE WAKE UP ONE DAY AT 50
AND SAY, I DON'T KNOW IF I
BELIEVE IN THIS ANYMORE.
IT'S KIND OF LIKE THE REVEREND
I HAVE IN THE BOOK WHO, YOU
CAN'T QUITE FIGURE OUT IF
HE'S KIND OF LIBERAL SORT OF
PRESBYTERIAN PROTESTANT, OR
HE'S A BELIEVING ATHEIST.
YOU'RE NOT QUITE SURE.
THERE'S REALLY NO
CONTRADICTION THERE.

Richard says OR THE PROFESSOR IN THE BOOK
WHO YOU KNOW IS AN ATHEIST
AND HAS A CRUCIFIX
IN THE BATHROOM.

Ray says ABSOLUTELY, YEAH.
HE'S A CHILD CATHOLIC.
AND HE WAS GOING
TO BE A PRIEST.
GOES TO UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN
ONTARIO, AND HE LOSES HIS FAITH.
AND IT'S VERY SIMPLE, AND VERY
LOGICAL, AND BAYLE IS STAYING
OVER AT HIS HOUSE, VARIOUS
CIRCUMSTANCES, AND HE LOOKS
UP, AND THERE'S THE CROSS.
AND THAT KIND OF
CONTRADICTION, I THINK, IS THE
KIND OF CONTRADICTION THAT
PHILOSOPHY HAS A HARD TIME
DEALING WITH, BUT IS
PERFECT FOR A NOVEL.
BECAUSE IN A NOVEL, YOU'RE
TEASING THESE CONFLICTS,
YOU KNOW?
THE ONLY PHILOSOPHER I CAN
THINK OF WHO KIND OF THINKS
IN THIS WAY IN TERMS
OF NOVEL IS TILLICH.
TILLICH TALKS ABOUT, I WANT TO
DRIVE THE BELIEVER TO THE
POINT OF DISBELIEF, AND
BRING THE DISBELIEVER
TO CONSIDER BELIEF.
SO YOU KIND OF CRASH THESE
THINGS INTO EACH OTHER.
SO YOU'VE GOT THE ATHEIST WITH
THE CROSS IN HIS BATHROOM,
AND THEN YOU START GETTING
INTO SOME INTERESTING TERRITORY.

Richard says YOU'VE ALSO GOT ALL THESE
AMERICANS KIND OF PROFANING
HOCKEY, YOU KNOW?
TURNING IT INTO THE KIND OF
SLEAZE AMERICAN BUSINESS AND
POLITICS, AND WRAPPING IT
ALL -- AND THIS IS NOT AN
ANTI-AMERICAN RANT.

Ray says NO, ABSOLUTELY NOT.

Richard says BUT A LOT OF THE THINGS
PEOPLE MIGHT FIND
OBJECTIONABLE IN THE STATES
ARE KIND OF CRYSTALLIZED HERE.
DID YOU FEEL THAT WHEN YOU
WERE DOWN THERE LEARNING
HOW TO WRITE?

Ray says YEAH.

Richard says YOU TALKED ABOUT RUSH AND
TALKED ABOUT GORDON LIDDY.
I MEAN, I DON'T EXACTLY
THINK WE WERE HEARING ABOUT
GARRISON KEILLOR AND MY
WONDERFUL PBS AMERICA.

Ray says YOU KNOW, AMERICA IS A FUNNY
PLACE -- THERE'S A GOOD
TITLE, AMERICA'S
A FUNNY PLACE.

Richard says BY RAY ROBERTSON.

Ray says I SPENT NEARLY FOUR YEARS
DOWN THERE, AND I LIVED OFF
THE FAT OF AMERICAN.
AND I HAD SOME GOOD TIMES.
AND LIKE YOU SAY, SPENT A
LOT OF TIME JUST WRITING.
THINGS I COULDN'T DO IF
I WAS LIVING IN TORONTO.
I WAS WORKING AT A FULL-TIME
JOB, AND I WAS WORKING
ON MY FIRST NOVEL.
YOU COME HOME AFTER THAT
FULL-TIME JOB, IT'S TOUGH TO
SIT DOWN AND BE A FULL-TIME
WRITER, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU
GET LIKE, YOU KNOW, I WAS 24
AND DECIDED, WELL, I'VE READ A
LOT OF NOVELS AND WRITTEN
A LOT, BUT I'VE NEVER
WROTE A NOVEL.
IT TAKES SOME
SERIOUS COMMITMENT.
SO THE STATES GAVE ME A GREAT
OPPORTUNITY TO DO THAT.
AND THERE ARE SOME TREMENDOUS
OPPORTUNITIES IN THE STATES.
THERE'S LOTS OF MONEY THERE,
SO THERE'S LOTS OF PEOPLE.
WHEN I WAS IN TEXAS IN
GRADUATE SCHOOL, WITHIN EIGHT
MONTHS, I MET AND HUNG OUT
WITH AS THREE-DAY SEMINARS,
ALLEN GINSBERG, GARY SNYDER,
JORIE GRAHAM, JOSEPH BRODSKY,
ALL THESE WRITERS, YOU
KNOW, IT WAS WONDERFUL.
YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO GO TO
HARBOURFRONT AND PAY 20 dollars,
THEY WERE THERE FOR FREE.

Richard says NOW, WHAT DID THEY THINK OF
YOU AS THE CANADIAN, THOUGH?

Ray says ONE SEC, I'M GONNA GO BACK.
ON THE OTHER HAND THOUGH,
IT'S THE BEST AND WORST.
I MEAN, YOU CONFRONT
SOME THINGS THAT SCARE
THE HELL OUT OF YOU.
A BUMPER STICKER I'M USING IN
THE THIRD BOOK, THE ONE
I'M WORKING ON FOR DOUBLEDAY
THAT'S COMING OUT IN 2002,
IF ALL GOES WELL, I REMEMBER
WALKING ONCE IN THIS PARKING
LOT, AMERICANS LOVE
BUMPER STICKERS.
BUMPER STICKER, 'I HAVE A
DREAM', WHICH WE ALL KNOW IS
MARTIN LUTHER KING.
THERE'S AN ELLIPSES, 'THAT ONE
DAY THE CONFEDERATE FLAG WILL
FLY OVER WASHINGTON'.
AND YOU THINK, THIS
IS A SPOOF, RIGHT?
IT'S NOT A SPOOF.
AND YOU CAN SAY, WELL, THEY'RE
JUST WRONG, AND THEY ARE WRONG.
BUT YOU LOOK IN THEIR EYES,
AND THEY BELIEVE SO DEEPLY.
AND THEY FEEL SORRY FOR YOU,
THEY FEEL PITY FOR YOU.
I MEAN THEY WANT TO THROW YOU
IN JAIL, TOO, FOR BELIEVING
THE THINGS YOU DO.

Richard says REMEMBER BARRY GOLDWATER'S
CAMPAIGN SLOGAN?
“IN YOUR HEART, YOU
KNOW HE'S RIGHT.”

Ray says EXACTLY.
WELL, THE TALK SHOW HOST WHO
KIND OF FADES IN AND OUT
OF THIS BOOK, HIS NAME IS
I.M. WRIGHT.
AND HE IS KIND OF MY OBSESSION
WITH RUSH COME TO FRUITION.
HE'S AT THE CONSCIENCE
OF THIS PLACE.
AND IT IS A CONSCIENCE.
AMERICANS -- I'M TALKING,
YOU CAN'T GENERALIZE.
IT'S LIKE SAYING CANADIANS.
WE WOULD FEEL INSULTED
IF YOU SAID CANADIANS.
I MEAN, I'M FROM SOUTHWESTERN
ONTARIO, MY WIFE IS FROM
NORTHERN ONTARIO.
I MEAN, SHE GREW UP SEEING
MOOSE IN HER
BACKYARD, AND I GREW UP SEEING
A SCRAP YARD KIND OF THING.
SO YOU CAN'T SAY CANADA, BUT
IF YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT THE
AVERAGE KIND OF AMERICAN.

Richard says WE'RE TALKING
MIDDLE AMERICA.
NONE MORE MIDDLE THAN KANSAS.

Ray says EXACTLY.
AND THE KIND OF PERSON WHO
WOULD FOLLOW THE WARRIORS,
THE HOCKEY TEAM THAT'S IN THE
BOOK, THEY'RE STRANGE PEOPLE.
BUT THAT'S GOOD FOR A WRITER.
YOU KNOW, IT'S NOT GOOD TO SIT
ON YOUR ASS IN TORONTO AND
COLLECT GRANTS AND WRITE
FOR THIS MAGAZINE OR THAT.
YOU START READING THE KIND OF
BOOKS THAT WE READ TOO OFTEN.
BOOKS ABOUT ARTISTS LIVING
IN TORONTO, HAVING MORAL
DILEMMAS ABOUT WHETHER I
SHOULD HAVE AN AFFAIR OR NOT?
YOU KNOW, WHO CARES?
THESE AREN'T THE
ISSUES WHY WE'RE ALIVE.
THIS IS SOMETHING I'M VERY
APPRECIATIVE OF WHEN I DID
PHILOSOPHY IN A SENSE THAT
I NEVER FORGOT THAT INITIAL
INSTINCT AS A 15-YEAR-OLD
THAT, YOU KNOW -- GREAT
MUSICIAN, BOUNCING BACK TO
ALTERNATIVE COUNTRY MUSICIANS
OF THE FIRST NOVEL,
HOME
MOVIES, I DON'T KNOW IF YOU
KNOW HIM, TOWNES VAN ZANDT,
HE SAID, THERE'S ONLY
TWO KINDS OF MUSIC --
BLUES AND ZIP-A-DEE-DOO-DAH.
AND I WRITE THE BLUES.
AND THE BLUES IS
ABOUT GETTING DOWN.
GETTING DOWN ON IT.
YOU KNOW A GOOD SONG, YOU
CAN FEEL IT, WHEN IT'S REAL.
I THINK IT'S THE SAME
THING WITH A GOOD BOOK.
YOU'RE WRESTLING WITH
REAL ISSUES, YOU KNOW?

Richard says TO ME, THE MOST MOVING
STUFF IN THIS BOOK IS THE
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PETER AND
HIS SISTER, WHO WE CAN SIT
BACK AND GO, OH, MY GOD,
SHE'S SINKING INTO
MANIC DEPRESSION.
AND IT'S GETTING
WORSE AND WORSE.
AND NO ONE ELSE, PETER DOESN'T
GET IT, HIS MOTHER DOESN'T
GET IT AT FIRST.

Ray says HE'S AFRAID, TOO.
HE SEES IT.

Richard says YEAH.
AND THERE IS SOME
VERY MOVING SCENES.
AND THEY ARE MOVING BECAUSE
THEY ARE NOT MOVING.
I MEAN, WHEN SHE BREAKS
DOWN, SHE BREAKS DOWN UGLY.

Ray says YEAH.

Richard says BUT YET THAT MANAGES TO
GET A REAL HOLD ON YOU.
AND IT TAKES YOU RIGHT DOWN
TO THE BOTTOM WITH HER.
I HAVE TO BE HONEST, I FOUND
MYSELF GETTING PROFOUNDLY
DEPRESSED GETTING
TO SOME OF THAT.
IS THAT WHAT YOU INTENDED?

Ray says YEAH.
I HAD A FRIEND WHO HAD
THE HIGHEST COMPLIMENT.
HE SAID, HE WAS READING
THE BOOK IN MANUSCRIPT.
HE SAID, GOD, I WANTED TO
DRINK THROUGHOUT THIS BOOK.
THERE'S ALL THIS
ALCOHOL IN IT.
YEAH, I THINK SO.
BUT, AGAIN, I HATE TO PICK ON
CANADIAN LITERATURE, I JUST
DON'T READ AS MUCH AMERICAN
LITERATURE AS I DO CANADIAN
LITERATURE, BUT SENTIMENTALITY
IS SUCH A HORRIBLE,
HORRIBLE PROBLEM IN
CANADIAN LITERATURE.
YOU WANT TO WRITE ABOUT
SOMEONE'S SUICIDE, YOU WANT
TO WRITE ABOUT
SOMEONE'S DEPRESSION.
IT'S CLINICAL, SENTIMENTAL,
AND I THINK THE BEST SEX
WRITING DOESN'T HAVE BODY
PARTS BEING DISPLAYED AND
PUMPING GOING ON.
IT GETS AT WHY THEY ARE
HAVING SEX, YOU KNOW?
YOU FEEL EXCITED SEXUALLY, BUT
YOU'RE NOT SEEING -- IT'S THE
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PORNOGRAPHY
AND THE EXPLORATION OF SEX.
IT'S THE SAME THING WITH
THESE DEPRESSION THINGS.
I WANT YOU TO FEEL THOSE
THINGS, BUT I DON'T THINK
ME SHOWING YOU SOMEONE
SOBBING, YOU KNOW?
THERE'S AN EXPRESSION IN
SCREEN WRITING, YOU KNOW,
KICKING THE DOG.
I MEAN, THERE IS JUST SO MUCH
KICKING THE DOG GOING ON.
I DON'T WANT TO BE
MANIPULATED AS A READER.
AND I FIND TOO MUCH WRITING,
AND TOO MANY MOVIES WANT TO
MANIPULATE ME.
AND I THINK IF WE WANT TO TAKE
A TRIP THROUGH THESE THEMES,
OR THESE ISSUES, OR THESE
PHILOSOPHICAL DIGRESSIONS OR
EXPLORATIONS, YOU'VE
GOT TO BE REAL CAREFUL.
YOU'VE GOT TO WALK THAT
TIGHT ROPE, YOU KNOW?
WHICH IS WHY I THINK BEING
FUNNY, LIKE YOU MENTIONED
BLACK HUMOUR, HOPEFULLY
IT IS FUNNY, IS IN THERE.
BECAUSE LAURENCE STERNE TALKS
ABOUT SOLEMNITY, A REAL
PROBLEM WITH A LOT OF
CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE IN
GENERAL IS A MYSTERIOUS
MALADY OF THE MIND MEANT
TO CONCEAL A DEFECT
OF THE MIND.
YOU KNOW?
A SENSE IF YOU ACT REALLY
DEEP, YOU'LL COME OFF AS DEEP.
AND PEOPLE BUY THIS.
HOW MANY BOOKS ARE PRAISED FOR
BEING SO DEEP BECAUSE IN THE
FIRST PAGE, THE AUTHOR SAYS,
I'M A VERY DEEP PERSON,
AND I MUST CONSIDER
THESE ISSUES, FOR I AM...
WHICH IS JUST JOURNAL
WRITING DISGUISED AS ART.
IT'S NOT ART.

Richard says LET ME ASK YOU SOMETHING.
YOU'RE VERY UNSENTIMENTAL
ABOUT DEPRESSION, ABOUT
VIOLENCE, ABOUT DEATH, BUT I
THINK YOU DO HAVE A BIT OF
A SENTIMENTAL STREAK IN
THIS BOOK ABOUT HOCKEY.
YOU SAID ABOUT HEROES, THERE
ARE SOME PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE
IN HOCKEY.

Ray says ABSOLUTELY.

Richard says AND YOUR HERO, AND ESPECIALLY
YOUR HERO'S FATHER BELIEVES
IN HOCKEY.
DO YOU, OR DID YOU AT ONE
POINT BELIEVE IN HOCKEY
THE WAY THEY DO?

Ray says I THINK I'M A
LAPSED HOCKEY FAN.
I MEAN, I'M STILL A BIG FAN,
BUT YEAH, I THOUGHT AT ONE
TIME, IF I COULD TOUCH THE
GARMENT OF GORDIE HOWE, YOU
KNOW, I'D BE SAVED WHEN
I WAS 10-11 YEARS OLD.
THE THING ABOUT BAYLE'S FATHER
WHO IS A BELIEVER RIGHT UP TO
THE POINT WHERE HE LOSES
BELIEF AND DIES BECAUSE OF IT,
HE HAS CANCER, BUT HE
BASICALLY BEATS THE CANCER,
BUT HE KIND OF REGRESSES WHEN
THE HOCKEY SEASON ENDS AND
THE LEAFS GET BEAT OUT BY THE
KINGS, IT'S SCARY TO A DEGREE
THE WAY WE NEED HEROES.
I MEAN, I WATCH, YOU KNOW,
PEOPLE -- I WATCH MY FATHER
WATCH A HOCKEY FIGHT.
WE CAN DEBATE WHETHER
FIGHTING SHOULD BE ALLOWED
IN HOCKEY OR NOT.
BUT YOU THINK ABOUT
A LOT OF GUYS.
MY FATHER WORKS IN AN
AUTOMOBILE FACTORY, HIS FATHER
DID, MOST OF HIS BROTHERS DID,
AND THAT WAS THE GOOD MONEY.
BEFORE THAT, BEFORE THE UNION,
IT WAS FOUR DOLLARS AN HOUR.
THIS IS AS GOOD AS IT GETS.
HE'S GOT THE HOUSE, HE'S GOT
THE DECK, HE'S GOT THE TWO
CARS, HE'S GOT THE TV,
BUT WHAT DOES HE GOT?
THE THINGS HE MAKES, HE
HAS NO CONNECTION WITH.
HE MAKES CARS.
HE'S PROUD OF WORKING HARD,
BUT HE DOESN'T, THAT'S MY
CHRYSLER GOING DOWN THE --
RELIGION, WE'RE KIND OF
IN A POST RELIGIOUS AGE.
HE PROBABLY BELIEVES IN GOD,
BUT YOU KNOW, I'M USING HIM
FOR EVERY MAN, BUT YOU KNOW?
POLITICS, HE HAS NO CLUE.
HE VOTES NDP BECAUSE
HE'S A UNION MAN.
BUT HE DOESN'T KNOW ANYBODY.
HE DOESN'T KNOW THESE PEOPLE.
THEY HAVE NO
CONNECTION TO HIM.
WHEN YOU SEE TWO GUYS WHO
FIGHT EACH OTHER, NOT BECAUSE
IT'S WWF BECAUSE THEY ARE
TRYING TO, BUT ONE GUY
STANDING UP TO ANOTHER GUY FOR
SOME SORT OF TWISTED SENSE OF
HONOUR, I GUESS, THAT'S
THE ONLY REALITY CHARGE
HE GOT ALL WEEK.
AND WHEN THESE TWO GUYS SHOW
THAT HONESTY AND INTEGRITY,
THAT'S SOMETHING
THAT WE ALL NEED.
NOW, MAYBE SOMEONE COULD
COME ON HERE, SOME PhD IN
PSYCHOLOGY AND TELL ME, WE
SHOULDN'T BE PURSUING OUR
VITAMIN C INTEGRITY SHOT
THROUGH HOCKEY FIGHTS.
WELL, THEN, MAYBE WE'VE GOT
A SOCIETY WHERE SOMETHING IS
WRONG THEN.
MY GRANDMOTHER USED TO WATCH
THE GAME ON TELEVISION,
HAVE ANOTHER GAME IN
THE EAR ON THE RADIO.
MY FATHER USED TO SAY THAT
HATE KEPT HER ALIVE FOR ANOTHER
TEN YEARS AFTER SHE SHOULD
HAVE BEEN GONE, PROBABLY.
IT WAS THIS PASSION.
WHERE ELSE ARE THEY
GOING TO GET IT?

Richard says PETER'S FATHER FEELS THE GAME
ISN'T WHAT IT USED TO BE.
THE GAME DECLINED.

Ray says AND THE AMERICANS HAVE
SOMETHING TO DO WITH THAT
FOR SURE.

Richard says DO YOU FEEL THAT IT HAS?

Ray says I DON'T KNOW IF THAT'S
ME, OR THE GAME ITSELF.
I MEAN, I DON'T KNOW IF IT'S
BECAUSE THINGS AREN'T LIKE
THEY USED TO BE.

Richard says DID RAY FALL OUT OF LOVE
WITH HOCKEY, OR DID HOCKEY
FALL OUT OF LOVE WITH RAY?

Ray says EXACTLY.
I THINK I PROBABLY DID IN
THE SENSE THAT I THINK
I'M KIND OF LIKE BAYLE.
I'VE GOT MY TOE IN THE STREAM
OF LIFE, AND THAT'S GOOD.
BECAUSE THE UNEXAMINED LIFE
ISN'T WORTH LIVING, BUT THE
SOLELY EXAMINED LIFE ISN'T
LIVABLE, BUT AT THE SAME TIME,
I THINK I'VE ALWAYS GOT MY ONE
EYE ON, IS HOCKEY JUST ONE
BIG PROMOTIONAL SHUCK TO KIND
OF GET ME TO BUY A PAVEL BURE
JERSEY FOR 75 BUCKS?
I MEAN, WHEN THEY PLAY HOCKEY
GAMES OVER IN JAPAN EVERY
YEAR, LIKE THEY PLAY, THEY
ALWAYS HAVE TWO OR THREE TEAMS
PLAY A FEW GAMES IN THE
REGULAR SEASON, BEFORE THE
SEASON STARTS.
IT'S SOME BIG
GOODWILL GESTURE.
IT'S JUST SO SOME GUY FROM
JAPAN WILL GO AND BUY A JERSEY
FOR 100 DOLLARS AND WEAR
IT TO THE SUSHI BAR.
I MEAN, IT'S REALLY JUST A BIG
CAPITALISTIC EXPLORATION --
THE WHOLE KIND OF DEAL,
WHICH BAYLE KNOWS, TOO.
I'M AVOIDING THE
TOPIC, I GUESS.
I DON'T WANT TO -- MAYBE
I'M LIKE THE CATHOLIC.
THE ATHEIST WHO
HAS THE CROSS UP.
I'VE GOT MY RED WING
FRAMED PICTURE OF THE
1955 STANLEY CUP TEAM.

Richard says IT CAN STILL BE THE WAY YOU
WANT IT TO BE IN YOUR MIND.

Ray says YEAH.

Richard says YOU SAID YOU STICK YOUR TOE
IN THE STREAM OF REALITY
WHEN YOU'RE DOING THIS.
BUT YOU WRITE WITH PASSION,
AND YOU WRITE LIKE YOU'RE NOT
JUST YOUR TOE IN, YOU'RE
WAIST DEEP IN THE BIG MUDDY
WHEN YOU'RE DOING IT.
WHAT ARE YOU LIKE TO LIVE WITH
WHEN YOU ARE WRITING LIKE THIS?

Ray says YOU MEAN IN TERMS OF
THE CONTENT OF THE BOOK?

Richard says YEAH.
I MEAN, LIKE I HAVE THE
FEELING YOU GO IN AND OVER.

Ray says YEAH.
I THINK YOU HAVE TO.
I REALLY THINK YOU HAVE TO.
I THINK YOU HAVE TO LIVE IT.
THAT'S ANOTHER, GOD, I'M ON
THIS CAN LIT THING HERE.

Richard says LET GO OF IT, RAY.
LET GO.

Ray says COME OUT OF THE CLOSET.

Richard says CAN LIT ANONYMOUS.

Ray says I WAS GOING TO SAY, HERE'S A
SCOOP FOR YOU, I COME OUT OF
THE CLOSET FOR
DIALOGUE.
THERE'S THIS BIOGRAPHICAL
PREJUDICE SOMEHOW.
IF SOMETHING HAPPENED TO
YOU, IT'S A GOOD BOOK
BY VIRTUE OF THAT.
I SUFFER FROM THIS
DEBILITATING DISEASE, WELL,
THIS BOOK MUST HAVE A LOT OF
INTEGRITY, WHEN THE WRITING IS
REALLY LIFELESS, MAYBE, AND
REALLY IT'S A WHOLE SEPARATE
THING, CRAFT AND CONTENT.
SO I MAY NOT HAVE LIVED ALL
THE THINGS BAYLE DID,
BUT I THINK IT'S KIND OF
METAPHYSICALLY BIOGRAPHICAL,
SO TO SPEAK, YOU KNOW?
WHICH IS THE REAL STUFF.
WE DON'T READ NOVELS ANYMORE
LIKE BALZAC AND DICKENS TO
FIND OUT WHAT DIFFERENT
COUNTRIES LOOK LIKE, AND WHAT
SOMEONE'S APARTMENT LOOKS
LIKE IN A RURAL PART OF --

Richard says NOW YOU WANT TO KNOW THE
COUNTRY INSIDE THE HEAD.

Ray says WE WANT TO KNOW
INSIDE THE HEAD.
AND YOU KIND OF HAVE TO
BE A LITTLE LIKE RAMBEAU.
THE DISORDERING OF THE
SENSES AND GO INTO IT.
JUST LIKE THE THIRD BOOK, THE
BOOK THAT'S
MOODY FOOD, THE
BOOK THAT'S SET IN YORKVILLE.
UNFORTUNATELY, I'VE HAD
TO TAKE EVERY POSSIBLE
DRUG IMAGINABLE.
AND I'M WILLING TO DO
THAT FOR LITERATURE.

Richard says AND LISTEN TO EVERY
KIND OF POSSIBLE MUSIC.

Ray says WELL, YEAH, UP TO 1969.

Richard says OKAY.
I WANT TO END US ON A TOPIC
THAT YOU ALSO HAVE STRONG
FEELINGS ABOUT.
VERY STRONG FEELINGS,
WHICH IS MUSIC.
SO YOU LIKE COUNTRY MUSIC, AND
YOU SAID, A PARTICULAR TYPE.
YOU SAID THAT THE WAY, LIKE
IF I SAID THE WRONG ARTIST,
I WAS DEAD.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE
IN COUNTRY MUSIC?

Ray says WELL, THE FIRST NOVEL,
HOME MOVIES, HAS A KIND OF
ALTERNATIVE COUNTRY
ARTIST AT ITS CORE.
SO I GUESS THAT TOWNES VAN
ZANDT THING, ANYBODY WHO'S
SINGING THE BLUES.
GARTH BROOKS ISN'T
SINGING THE BLUES.
TOWNES VAN ZANDT IS.
STEVE EARLE IS SINGING THE
BLUES, GRAM PARSONS, WHO IS
THE FOCUS OF THE
THIRD BOOK IS.
I GUESS, IN A WAY, WHAT'S
REALLY HIP RIGHT NOW IS THIS
ALTERNATIVE COUNTRY THAT KIND
OF FUSES TOGETHER COUNTRY AND
ROCK AND BLUES, AND IT KIND
OF PUTS THEM ALL TOGETHER IN
THIS REALLY SOULFUL STEW.
GRAM PARSONS SAID, THE
DEFINITION OF HIS MUSIC,
HE'S THE ORIGINATOR
OF COUNTRY ROCK.
THEY SAID, WELL, IS
IT COUNTRY ROCK?
HE SAID, NO, NO,
GOOSEBUMP MUSIC.
IT GIVES YOU GOOSEBUMPS.

Richard says WELL, YOU DO THAT
IN YOUR WRITING, TOO.
I HAVE TO THANK YOU
FOR THIS BOOK, RAY.
AND I WANT TO
SEE THE NEXT ONE.
I WANT TO SEE IF YOU DO TO
MUSIC WHAT YOU DID TO HOCKEY,
AND MORE SO.

Ray says APPRECIATE IT, RICHARD.

Richard says THANKS FOR BEING HERE TODAY.

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

Music plays as the end slate reads “Dialogue.”

A production of TVOntario. Copyright 2000, The Ontario Educational Communications Authority.

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