Transcript: Imprint season 12 episode 16 | Jan 17, 2001

Tina Srebotnjak stands in a studio with pieces of art in red and orange hanging in the background.
She’s in her late thirties, with short chestnut hair and bangs. She’s wearing a long gray blazer.

She says HELLO, I'M TINA
SREBOTNJAK.
WELL COME TO ANOTHER EDITION
OF “IMPRINT.”
TONIGHT...

A woman in her thirties reads and says DON'T YOU LIKE SURPRISES.
NOT SINCE MY FIFTH
BIRTHDAY WHEN I WAS GIVEN AN
EXPLODING CAKE.

(People laugh)

Tina says FIND OUT WHY FANS
OF JEANETTE WINTERSON FLOCK
TO HER READINGS.

In an interview, Jeanette says I PRACTICE A LOT.
I DID STAND-UP IN THE
BATHROOM AND PRACTICED
BECAUSE WHEN I GET HERE IT
IS SHOW TIME.
NOBODY WANTS TO SEE ME
MUMBLING AND STUMBLING.
THEY WANT TO SEE A SMOOTH
PERFORMANCE THEY CAN FEEL
COMFORTABLE AND SAFE WITH
AND THEREFORE ENTER INTO.

Now an auctioneer says 110, 20, 120, 30, 140, 150.

Tina says RARE BOOKS GO ON
THE AUCTION BLOCK AT
WADDINGTON'S.

A black and white clip of Marlene Dietrich plays.

Tina says AND Marlene Dietrich INSPIRED FRANCINE PROSE TO WRITE A NOVEL CALLED BLUE ANGEL.

In an interview, Francine says I WAS SITTING AT A LUNCH
WITH PEOPLE FROM MY PREVIOUS
PUBLISHER.
THEY SAID WHAT IS YOUR NEW
BOOK.
I SAID I HAVE NO NEW BOOK.
BUT I SAID I WANTED TO DO A
NEW VERSION OF THE THE BLUE
ANGEL.
I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE THAT
CAME FROM.

Theme music plays as the opening sequence rolls.
Fast clips show books and maps in hues of orange and red.

Back in the studio, Tina says ANY IDEA HOW MUCH
A FIRST EDITION OF ULYSSES
BY JAMES JOYCE IS WORTH
THESE DAYS.
HOW ABOUT 135000 dollars.
RARE BOOKS ARE BIG BUSINESS
FOR DEALERS AND COLLECTORS
ALIKE.
“IMPRINT” GERALD L'ECUYER
SAMPLED A SPECIAL AUCTION OF
BOOKS AND LITERARY STUFF AT
WADDINGTON'S AUCTION HOUSE
IN TORONTO.

Fast clips show men preparing rare books for an auction. Gerald L’Ecuyer walks into the auction house. He’s in his thirties, clean-shaven, with short blond hair.

He says OKAY, WE'RE HERE AT
WADDINGTON AND TOMORROW THEY
ARE HAVING A SALE OF BOOK
RELATED MATERIALS.
THIS IS PREVIEW NIGHT.
WE ARE HERE TO GET THE LAY
OF THE LAND, DO A LITTLE AS
SOON AS POSSIBLING OF OUR OWN.

He walks up to a woman and says
I UNDERSTAND THAT YOU
HAVE SOME GREAT LITERARY
POSTCARDS.

A caption reads “Megan Webster. Book Specialist, Waddington’s.”
Megan is in her thirties, with shoulder-length wavy blond hair.

She says YES, YES.
I THINK THIS ONE HANDS DOWN
HAS TO BE OUR FAVOURITE.

She shows Gerald a postcard and says
THIS IS GEORGE BERNARD SHAW,
AND THIS IS A DESCRIBED
PHOTO POSTCARD.

Gerald says I BET THE ESTIMATE ON
THAT IS PRETTY HIGH.

Megan says ABOUT 6 TO 800 dollars ON THIS ONE.

Gerald says THAT IS SOMETHING THAT I
COULD ACTUALLY BID ON WITH
SOME DEGREE OF HOPE.

Megan says OKAY, SOME DEGREE OF HOPE.

Now a male book specialist in his fifties says HOW ABOUT A SIGNED
MICHAEL JACKSON ALBUM.

Gerald says WE ARE A BOOK SHOW.

Gerald examines the signed album, featuring a picture of Michael Jackson as a boy, and says I WILL PUT SOME MONEY
DOWN ON THIS.
THIS IS BEFORE EVERYTHING
WENT WRONG.
DOES THAT ADD TO THE VALUE.

Megan says OH, DEFINITELY.

Later, talking to the male specialist, Gerald says IF I'M COMING TO AN
AUCTION FOR THE FIRST TIME
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS
I NEED TO KNOW.

A caption reads “Dirk Heinze. Book Specialist, Waddington’s.”

Dirk says WELL, FIRST IF YOU COME
TO THE PREVIEW TO LOOK AT
THE BOOK AND MAKE SURE IT IS
AS DESCRIBED IN THE CATALOG
AND TO LOOK AT THE
CONDITION.
THE CONDITION GENERALLY WE
START WITH THE OUTSIDE OF
THE BOOK, WHAT DOES THE
BINDING LOOK LIKE, WHAT DOES
THE SPINE LOOK LIKE, SCUFF
MARKS, THE HEAD AND THE TAIL
OF THE SPINE, THE HINGES
COULD BE LOOSER IN THIS
COPYRIGHT HERE.
AND THAN WE GO TO THE
INTERIOR AND WE SEE THAT
THERE IS SORT OF DARK SPOTS,
THAT IS CALLED FOXING.

Gerald says I NEVER KNEW THAT.

Dirk says YOU LOOK FOR FOXING AND
JUST GENERALLY WHETHER
EVERYTHING IS THERE.
THAT IS THE MOST
IMPORTANT THING IN TERMS OF,
YOU KNOW, THE PREVIEW.
TO CHECK IT OUT, SEE WHAT IS
AVAILABLE, SEE WHAT
CONDITION IT IS IN.
WHEN YOU ACTUALLY GET TO THE
AUCTION, BEFORE YOU GET
THERE IT WOULD BE GENERALLY
ADVISABLE TO SET A LIMIT AS
TO HOW MUCH ARE YOU WILLING
TO SPEND ON A BOOK.
YOU GO THROUGH THE CATALOG
AND SEE AN ESTIMATE.
IF YOU WANT TO GO ABOVE THE
ESTIMATE SET A LIMIT FOR
YOURSELF IN TERMS OF WHAT
YOU WANT TO SPEND.

Gerald says 5, MAYBE.

Dirk laughs.

Gerald says NO, NO, WHAT DO WE HAVE
IN PETTY CASH.

Now Gerald stands behind a trolley filled with rare books and says
OKAY, IT'S AUCTION NIGHT.
AND WE HAVE ABOUT ONE HOUR
TO GO BEFORE THE FIRST GAVEL
COMES DOWN.
THEY HAVE LAID OUT THE ITEMS
GOING FOR BIDS TONIGHT.
AND I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO IT.

(music plays)

Clips show the auction room filling up. Most of the people attending are men in their sixties and seventies.

Gerald stands with Dirk and says ABOUT 20 MINUTES BEFORE
THE AUCTION.
HOW ARE YOU FEELING.

Dirk says NERVOUS, A LITTLE UPTIGHT,
A LITTLE WORRIED.

Gerald says YOU WANT EVERYTHING TO GO WELL.

Dirk says EXACTLY.

Now Gerald sits by a man in his fifties attending the auction and says
YOU HAVE YOUR EYE ON A FEW THINGS.
OBVIOUSLY YOU CAN'T TELL US WHAT.

The man says I CAN'T TELL YOU BECAUSE
I DON'T WANT YOU TO BID
AGAINST ME.

Gerald says OKAY.
I WAS GETTING READY TO DO
THAT.

Now he turns to a man in his sixties and says
WHAT IS YOUR NUMBER.

The man says 89.

Gerald says ARE YOU SURE IT IS NOT 68.

The man laughs and turns to another man.

He says NO, YOU HAVE GOT 68.

Gerald says THAT COULD BE A DISASTER.

Later Gerald turns to Dirk and says
YOU ARE GETTING ME ALL
EXCITED NOW.

Dirk says I AM, I AM PRETTY EXCITED.

Gerald says YOU ARE.
TWICE A YEAR FOR THIS
KIND OF AUCTION.
SO IT IS A LOT OF WORK
THAT GOES INTO TONIGHT.
IT IS ALMOST LIKE CURTAIN UP.

Dirk says EXACTLY, SHOW TIME.

Later, the auctioneer, in his sixties, talking very fast, says
100 dollars FOR THESE, NICE SET,
100.
50 DOWN.
60, 6 O 7 O 70 AND 80, 90,
100, 110.
120, 30, 140, 150, 160,
170, 180, 190, 200.
210, 220, 230, 240, RIGHT
HERE, 240 SOLD.

He bangs a gavel.

Gerald says WELL, THAT WAS PRETTY
EXCITING.
SOME THINGS WERE GOING WAY
OVER THE ESTIMATED PRICES,
SOME THINGS WERE GOING WAY
BELOW.
ANYWAY, PRICES WERE GETTING
OUT OF MY LEAGUE SO TIME TO
GO HOME.

Back in the studio, Tina says WELL, FOR THE
RECORD THAT POSTCARD OF
GEORGE BERNARD SHAW THAT
GERALD HAD HIS EYE ON SOLD
FOR 825 dollars.
A LITERARY POSTCARD SIGNED
BY LEO TOLSTOY WENT FOR 2100.
IN BOOKS THE FIRST EDITION
OF LES MISERABLES SOLD FOR A
MERE 400 dollars WHILE A WHALING
LOG DATING BACK TO 1872 WENT
FOR ALMOST 2,000 dollars.
IT PAYS TO HOLD ON TO YOUR
BOOKS AND LITERARY KEEPSAKES.

Now an animated book sitting on a bathtub reveals a clip of Jeanette Winterson performing.

Tina says LATER JEANETTE
WINTERSON TAKES TO THE
STAGE.
AND UP NEXT, THE WINNING
PROSE OF FRANCINE
PROSE.

In the studio, Tina shows a book and says
THIS BOOK BLUE ANGEL BY
FRANCINE PROSE TURNED IT UP
ON EVERYBODY'S TOP TEN LIST
FOR THE YEAR 2000.
IT IS A SENDUP OF CAMPUS
POLITICS AND POLITICAL
CORRECTNESS.
THE STORY IS THIS, TED
SWENSON TEACHES CREATIVE
WRITING TO A GROUP OF
UNINSPIRED COEDS ENTER
ANGELA, A STUDENT LOADED
WITH TALENT AND WITH
HARDWARE, A NOSE RING,
SEVERAL BODY PIERCINGS, YOU
GET THE PICTURE.
AND OUR PROFESSOR IS SMITTEN
BEYOND REASON.
HERE IS FRANCINE PROSE
READING FROM BLUE ANGEL, THE
SCENE A DREADFUL DINNER
PARTY AT THE DEANS.

In a clip Francine Prose reads from her book. She’s in her forties, with wavy black hair.

She says IT IS A PURE GRIT ENGLISH
DEPARTMENT CROWD.
THE LACK OF INTEREST OR
BUZZ.
EASY, IT IS ONLY DINNER, NOT
DEATH IN HE INTERNAL HELL.
THE GUEST LIST SUGGESTS THAT
THIS ISN'T PLEASURE BUT
BUSINESS.
ONE OF THE DEAN'S PERIODIC
CHECKUPS ON ITS VARIOUS
DEPARTMENTS.
THAN FROM THE LAST
THOUGHTFUL QUESTIONS AND
MURMUR SOFT GRUNTS OF
COMPREHENSION AS THEY CUT
THEIR OWN THROATS, ONE BY
ONE, EACH SOUNDING TOO JADED,
TOO NAIVE, TOO EARNEST, TOO
COMPLAINING, UNTIL EVEN THE
TENURED WILL FEEL ANXIOUS
ABOUT THEIR JOBS, AS SWENSON
SITS BACK AND WATCHES HOW
BADLY THEY ARE BEHAVING.

Now Tina interviews Francine and says
FRANCINE PROSE,
WELCOME TO “IMPRINT.”

Francine says THANK YOU.

Tina says I LOVE THE BLUE
ANGEL, IT IS A GREAT
SKEWERING OF ACADEMIC LIFE
AND TAKES PLACE IN A SMALL
TOWN COLLEGE.
WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES THAT,
A SMALL TOWN COLLEGE SUCH A
GOOD SETTING.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Francine Prose. Blue Angel."

Francine says WELL, IT IS KIND OF LIKE
A LITTLE PETRI DISH T IS SO
ISOLATED AND THIS PERFECT
CULTURAL MEDIUM FOR ALL
SORTS OF INSANITY.
AND IT IS VERY TODAY WRITE A
NOVEL ABOUT AN ISOLATED
SETTING.
I MEAN IT IS KIND OF THE
EQUIVALENT OF A WHALING SHIP,
REALLY, YOU KNOW, IN THE
MIDDLE OF THE OCEAN.

Tina says YOUR GUY, TED
SWENSON, THE MAIN CHARACTER
IS A TEACHER OF CREATIVE
WRITING AND HE DOESN'T
EXACTLY LOVE HIS JOB.
HE SAYS AT ONE POINT WHEN HE
IS FINISHED, HE WALKED OUT
OF CLASS AND SAYS AS ALWAYS
GETTING OUT OF CLASS SWENSON
FEELS LIKE AN INNOCENT MAN
SENTENCED TO LIFE AND HIS
JAIL TERM HAS JUST BEEN
COMMUTED.
WHY IS HE SO DISHEARTENED,
WHY IS IT SO TOUGH.

Francine says HE HAS BEEN DOING IT A LONG TIME.
HE IS QUITE BURNT OUT.
HE IS BORED AND HIS STUDENTS
AS IS CLEAR IN THE NOVEL ARE
NOT THE MOST GIFTED STUDENTS
IN THE WORLD.
YOU KNOW, HE JUST READS THE
FIRST -- IN THE FIRST
CHAPTER OF THE NOVEL THERE
IS A STUDENT WHO HAS WRITTEN
A STORY ABOUT A YOUNG KID
HAVING SEX WITH A DEAD
CHICKEN.
AND HE HAS GOT TO SIT IN
THIS CLASSROOM FOR AN HOUR
TALKING ABOUT HOW TO IMPROVE
THIS, YOU KNOW, REWRITE IT
FROM THE CHICKEN'S POINT OF
VIEW SO THAT CAN GET PRETTY
DEMORALIZING AFTER A WHILE.

Tina says YOU TAUGHT
CREATIVE WRITING, IS IT AS
MUCH FUN AS IT SEEMS TO BE
IN THE BOOK.

Francine says WELL, THE TRUTH IS, IT IS
NEVER QUITE THAT BAD.
I MEAN THIS IS JUST THE
WORST CASE SCENARIO.
I TOOK EVERY BAD STUDENT HI
EVER 2K3W09EN, EVERY BAD
STORY AND JUST PUT THEM
TOGETHER TO MAKE THE
CLASSROOM HELL.
I MEAN IT CAN BE PRETTY
HAIRY BUT NEVER QUITE THIS
NIGHTMARISH.

Tina says NOW TED HAS
THIS -- I WILL CALL IT
ALMOST AFFAIR.
HE HAS THIS KIND OF BOTCHED
SEXUAL LIAISON WITH ONE OF
HIS STUDENTS AND EVERYBODY
KNOWS THESE DAYS THAT THAT
IS A COMPLETE NO-NO ON
CAMPUS AND YET YOUR
SYMPATHIES LIE WITH TED.
WHY IS THAT.

Francine says THAT IS JUST HOW IT
WORKED OUT.
I MEAN, I LIKED TED AND AS
EVOLVED AS A CHARACTER I GOT
TO LIKE HIM MORE AND MORE.
I NEVER SET OUT TO DO A
NOVEL ABOUT POLITICAL
CORRECTNESS OR SEXUAL
HARASSMENT.
I SET OUT TO DO THIS KIND OF
TWISTED LOVE STORY BASED ON
THE BLUE ANGELS.
SO TED, YOU KNOW,
CORRESPONDS TO THE PROFESSOR
AND THE BLUE ANGELS WHO IS A
SYMPATHETIC CHARACTER WHO
JUST GETS WAY IN OVER HIS
HEAD VERY QUICKLY.

Tina says AND HE SURE DOES.
BECAUSE THE GIRL THAT HE
GOES FOR, ANGELA, THIS IS A
GIRL THAT HE IS REALLY NOT
VERY PHYSICALLY ATTRACTED
TO.
HE GOES ON --

Francine says WHO WOULD BE.

Tina says SHE HAS MULTIPLE BODY
PIERCINGS, THAT PAIL SICKLY
SKIN THAT IS SO IN NOW AMONG
YOUNG PEOPLE.
SO WHAT IS IT IN HER THAT
ATTRACTS HIM.

Francine says WELL, HE THINKS SHE'S GOT
TALENT, AND THAT SHE IS
YOUNG AND ENERGETIC AND SHE
IS WRITING A NOVEL WHICH OF
COURSE THERE ARE BITS OF HER
NOVEL INTEREXPERIENCED
THROUGH THE NOVEL WHICH HE
THINKS IS A WONDERFUL NOVEL.
I'M NOT SO HEUER IT IS SUCH
A WONDERFUL NOVEL BUT ALL HE
NEEDS IS TO THINK THAT.
AND HE DOES.
SO YOU KNOW, IT IS REALLY
HER TALENT THAT HE IS
ATTRACTED -- OR THAT HE
TELLS HIMSELF HE IS
ATTRACTED TO.

Tina says YOU MENTIONED THE
BLUE ANGEL, IT COMES FROM
THE MOVIE, THE MARLENA MOVIE,
IS THIS A MOVIE YOU HAVE
LOVED FOREVER, YOU CAN TELL
ME ABOUT THAT.

Francine says YEAH, IT HAS BEEN ONE OF
MY FAVOURITE MOVIES ALTHOUGH
I HADN'T SEEN IT FOR QUITE A
LONG TIME WHEN I STARTED
WRITING THE NOVEL.
THE IDEA POPPED IN MY HEAD.
I WAS SITTING AT A LUNCH
WITH PEOPLE FROM MY PREVIOUS
PUBLISHER.
AND THEY SAID WHAT IS YOUR
NEW BOOK.
AND I HAD NO NEW BOOK.
AND I WASN'T WRITING AND I
SAID I WANT TO DO A NEW
VERSION OF THE BLUE ANGEL.
I HAD NO IDEA WHERE THAT
CAME FROM.
SO THEN I WENT HOME, I SAID
IT, SO HI NO OTHER IDEAS SO
IT SEEMED AS GOOD.
SO I WENT HOME AND RENTED
THE BLUE ANGEL AND IT IS
GREAT.
IT IS STILL GREAT.
IT IS STILL RIVETING.

Tina says AND THE PROFESSOR IS A
COMPLETE FOOL AT THE END.
HE IS MADE LITERALLY INTO A
CLOWN.

Francine says REALLY, COMPLETE
DEGRADATION.
AND WITH MARLENA YOU COULD
SEE HOW IT HAPPENED.
I REMEMBER ONE OF THE TIMES
WE WERE WATCHING IT MY
TWOSONS WHO WERE TEENAGERS
THEN, WHO HAVE NOT MUCH
INTEREST IN BLACK AND WHITE
VERY OLD MOVIES WITH
SUBTITLES KIND OF WANDERED
IN THE ROOM WHEN SHE WAS
SINGING HER FALLING IN LOVE
AGAIN.
AND THEY JUST SAT THERE.
THEY JUST SAT DOWN AND THEY
WERE PINNED TO THEIR CHAIRS.
THEIR JAWS DROPPED AND THEY
GOT IT.
SO IT STILL WORKS.

(music plays)
A black and white clip of a movie with Marlene Dietrich plays. In the clip Marlene sings to a man.

Tina says I WANT TO TALK TO
YOU ABOUT SOME THE STUFF YOU
WRITE ON POPULAR CULTURE.
YOU WRITE A LOT.
YOU HAVE WRITTEN MANY ESSAY,
ONE CALL THE ACCIDENT OF A
WOMEN'S INK.
AND YOU TALK ABOUT WOMEN
WRITERS, I THINK, NOT
GETTING THE SAME RESPECT
THAT MALE WRITERS DO.
WHY WOULD THAT BE, DO YOU
THINK.
AND WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS SO.

Francine says WELL, I THINK THERE IS
STILL A LOT OF PREJUDICES
ABOUT WHO WOMEN ARE AND YOU
KNOW, WHAT -- HOW OUR MINDS
WORK.
ONE OF THE THINGS I DID FOR
THIS PIECE WAS LOOK BACK TO
FIND THINGS THAT HAD BEEN
WRITTEN BY MALE AUTHORS AND
CRITICS JUST BEFORE EVERYONE
KNEW THAT YOU COULDN'T --
THAT YOU WEREN'T SUPPOSED TO
SAY THINGS LIKE THAT.
THAT IT WAS NO LONGER
CORRECT.
AND THERE IS NORMAL MAILER
SAYING WOMEN ARE SENTIMENTAL,
PIOS, NARROW MINDED,
HUMOURLESS, ON AND ON AND
ON.
AND I THINK -- I THINK THAT
THERE IS STILL SOME LINGERING
RES I DUE OF THAT.
PEOPLE READ A BOOK BY A
WOMAN OR DON'T EVEN READ A
BOOK BY A WOMAN, SEE A
WOMAN'S NAME ON THE COVER
AND THINK THIS GOING TO BE A
DREARY LITTLE FAMILY STORY
ABOUT, YOU KNOW, SOME WEEPER
ABOUT SOME HOUSEWIFE
SOMEWHERE.
AND I'M NOT INTERESTED.

Tina says YOU SAY THE MEN,
THOUGH, WHO DO THE BULK OF
THE SPORTS WRITER, THAT
THERE IS A RESPECT FOR
SPORTS WRITING THAT DOESN'T
EXIST FOR SAY FASHION
WRITING.

Francine says WHY A BUNCH OF GUYS
TOSSING A BALL AROUND WHY IS
IT ANY MORE SERIOUS OF WOMEN
WALKING DOWN THE RUNWAY IN
INTERESTING CLOTHES.

Tina says IT IS INTERESTING,
YOU ALSO TAKE ON IN ANOTHER
ESSAY YOU TAKE ON A WRITER
LIKE MAYA.
ANGELOU WHO IS AN ICON IN
AMERICAN LETTERS, SHE WROTE
THAT FAMOUS BOOK “I KNOW WHY
THE CAGED BIRD SINGS” AND
YOU SAY THAT IS THE KIND OF
LITERATURE WE SHOULD NOT BE
TEACHING OUR KIDS.

Francine says ANYONE CAN WRITE BADLY.
IT DOESN'T MATTER WHETHER
YOU ARE MALE OR FEMALE.
THE REASON I TALKED ABOUT
THAT BOOK WAS JUST, YOU KNOW,
JUST WORD BY WORD, SENTENCE
BY SENTENCE, IT IS NOT VERY
WELL WRITTEN.
BASICALLY IF A KID LEARNS TO
WRITE BY READING THAT, IT
WOULD BE A BIG DISASTER AND
I THINK IT IS A BIG DISASTER
THAT IS HAPPENING ALL OVER
THE PLACE.

Tina says THIS IS BECAUSE
YOU LOOKED AT THE SCHOOL
LIST, HIGH SCHOOL YOU DEALT
W BECAUSE THAT IS WHEN THEY
DEVELOP THEIR LOVE OF
LITERATURE.
WHAT DID YOU FIND WHEN YOU
LOOKED AT ALL THESE LISTS,
YOU WERE HORRIFIED.

Francine says I GOT 80 HIGH SCHOOL
LISTS AND IT TURNS OUT YOU
CAN'T GRADUATE FROM HIGH
SCHOOL WITHOUT READING MYO
ANGELO AND HARPER LEE -- TO
KILL A MOCKING BIRD.
THE THING THAT I WAS
SURPRISED, I THOUGHT THAT I
WAS ONLY GOING TO FIND SORT
OF MIDDLE BROU CLASSICS.
IN FACT THERE WERE TONS --
PEOPLE WERE STILL READING
SHAKESPEARE, GEORGE ORWELL
AND DICKENS, KIDS.
SO THEN I WENT AND I THOUGHT
OKAY, IF THEY ARE READING
THESE GREAT WORKS WHY AREN'T
THEY BEING -- YOU KNOW, WHY
AREN'T WE TRAINING LITERATE
KIDS WHO CAN WRITE AND READ
AND SO FORTH.
AND THAN WHAT I DID WAS I
WENT OUT ON THE INTERNET AND
FOUND TEACHING GUIDES AND
LESSON PLANS AND
INSTRUCTIONS HOW TO TEACH
THESE BOOKS AND IT WAS
APPALLING.
BECAUSE IT WAS ALL ABOUT
TEACHING CIVICS OR INSTEAD
OF LITERATURE.

Tina says WHAT DO YOU THINK
KIDS CAN LEARN FROM STUDYING
THE GREAT NOVELS.

Francine says WELL, SENTENCE STRUCTURE
FOR ONE THING.
I MEAN ONE OF THE THINGS I
TALK ABOUT IN THAT PIECE IS
MY SON READING WITHERING
HEIGHTS WHEN HE WAS IN THE
TENTH GRADE AND REALLY
HAVING A HARD TIME AT THE
BEGINNING BECAUSE THE
VOCABULARY AND IT IS A VERY,
VERY DIFFICULT BOOK.
IT SEEMS TO THOSE OF US WHO
HAVE READ IT NOW REMEMBER IT
AS BEING EASIER T IS A VERY
DIFFICULT BOOK.
BUT BY THE END HE WAS
INCREDIBLY MOVED BY IT,
INCREDIBLY MOVED.
AND YOU KNOW, THERE IS
SOMETHING ABOUT HUMAN NATURE,
OR PEOPLE'S LIVES, OR YOU
KNOW, IF ONLY TO LEARN THAT
THINGS DON'T CHANGE THAT
MUCH IN A CERTAIN WAY.

Tina says SO WHAT DO YOU
THINK ABOUT SOMETHING LIKE
THE OPRAH BOOK CLUB WHICH,
YOU KNOW, AS YOU KNOW, IF
YOU HAVE BEEN OPRAHD, HAVE
YOU EVER BEEN OPRAHD.

Francine says ARE YOU KIDDING.

Tina says IF YOU HAVE YOU
ARE A RECENT MILLIONAIRE
BECAUSE EVERYBODY RUNS OUT
AND BUYS YOUR BOOK.
BECAUSE LOT OF PEOPLE SAY
THE KIND OF BOOKS SHE DOES
ON YOUR BOOK CLUB ARE
PROBABLY THE KIND ARE YOU
TALKING ABOUT, PERSONAL
MEMOIR, SURVIVOR, VICTIM,
THAT KIND OF STUFF.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE
WHOLE IDEA THEN OF WHAT SHE
IS DOING.

Francine says WELL, AGAIN, YOU KNOW T
IS THOSE WHATEVER 800,000
PEOPLE THAT GO OUT AND BUY
THE OPRAH BOOK THE WEEK SHE
ANNOUNCES IT CERTAINLY SAID
GEE, I NEVER THOUGHT I LIKED
READING BEFORE, IN FACT I
HAVE BEEN WATCHING A LOT OF
TV THAT IS HOW I KNEW WHAT
OPRAH WAS CHOOSING, NOW I
LOVE READING.
THAT IS OKAY.
THERE IS ALWAYS THE PRAYER
THAT THEY WILL MOVE TO
SOMETHING BETTER.
AND SOME OF THE BOOKS
ACTUALLY ARE PRETTY GOOD.
I MEAN THE READER IS PRETTY
GOOD FROM THE JAME HAMILTON
NOVELS ARE QUITE GOOD.
AND THAN THERE ARE SOME
REALLY HORRIBLE BOOK ON THAT
LIST.

Tina says DO YOU GET A LOT OF FLACK
FOR THE STUFF YOU WRITE.
I KNOW THE LETTERS TO THE
EDITOR ARE ALWAYS -- WHEN
ONE OF YOUR PIECES COME OUT
THE LETTER TO ITS EDITOR ARE
FLYING IN THERE OR
ELECTRONICALLY ZINGING THEIR
WAY IN.

Francine says IT IS UNBELIEVABLE.
I MEAN, ESPECIALLY THE
READING LIST PIECE ON MYA
ANGELOU PIECE ATE UP MY LIFE
FOR SIX WEEKS AFTER IT CAME OUT.
I HAD SOME REALLY HORRIBLE
EXPERIENCE.
I WAS INVITED TO READ AND IT
JUST SO HAPPENED THAT THE
ENTIRE SCHOOL SYSTEM WAS ON
STRIKE THAT DAY.
SO THE WHOLE HIGH SCHOOL
ENGLISH DEPARTMENT FROM ALL
THE SCHOOLS CAME OUT TO TELL
ME HOW ENRAGED THEY WERE BY
MY PIECE.
I KNOW, IT WAS JUST
HORRIBLE.
BUT AGAIN, WHAT I WISHED I
HAD SAID AND WHAT I STARTED
SAYING IN INTERVIEWS ABOUT
THE PIECE IS THAT I THINK
TEACHERS SHOULD GET PAID
MORE THAN PLASTIC SURGEONS
SINCE THEY ARE MORE USEFUL,
AND CERTAINLY THEY ARE NOT.

Tina says YOUR REVIEWS FROM
WHAT I CAN SEE ARE VERY
GOOD.
PEOPLE REALLY LIKE YOUR
WRITING.
SO DO YOU FEEL THAT YOU'VE
HAD TO GET BACK TO THAT
WOMAN-MAN THING, DOW FEEL
YOU HAVE EVER BEEN REVIEWED
UNFAIRLY BECAUSE OF ARE A
WOMAN AND MAYBE BECAUSE YOU
ARE CONTROVERSY AS WELL.

Francine says HOW WOULD I KNOW.
HOW WOULD I KNOW, YOU KNOW,
HOW DIFFERENT THINGS MIGHT
HAVE BEEN IF THERE WEREN'T
GUY -- I HAVE NO WAY OF
KNOWING.

Tina says I'M SURPRISED YOU HAVEN'T TRIED.

Francine says GEORGE ELLIOTT.

Tina says THAT WOULD BE OUR
FIRST CLUE.
I THINK YOU ARE A WONDERFUL
WRITER.
I LOVE YOUR BOOK.
I LAUGHED ALL THE WAY
THROUGH IT VERY NICE TO TALK
TO YOU.

Francine says THANK YOU.

Tina says THANK YOU.
BLUE ANGEL BY FRANCINE PROSE
IS PUBLISHED BY
HARPERCOLLINS.

Now an animated slate reads “Writers on the worst sentence they’ve ever written.”

A clip plays in which James Laxer says
THE WORST SENTENCE I HAVE
EVER WRITTEN WAS A SENTENCE
IN WHICH I SAID THE
PROPORTION OF THE FEMALE
WORKFORCE IN CANADA
INCREASED FROM 26.9 percent IN 1960
TO 44 percent IN 1994, UNLIKE THE
CASE OF JAPAN WHERE THE
INCREASE WAS FROM 40.7 percent TO
40.9 percent.

Nicholas Sparks says I DON'T KNOW, SOMETHING
DORKY, SOMETHING STUPID.
WHO AM I.

James Laxer says BUT THIS IS QUITE
DIFFERENT FROM THE CASE OF
THE UNITED STATES WHERE THE
INCREASE WAS FROM 28 percent TO
45 percent.
AND THAN WE HAVE TO LOOK AT
THE CASE OF ITALY AS WELL
WHICH IS DIFFERENT TO SOME
DEGREE.

Francine Prose says OH, I HAVE HEARD SOME
HOWLERS, THE SAINTLY COPY
EDITORS HAVE SAVED ME FROM
PUBLISHING.
I WROTE A DESCRIPTION OF A
LITTLE GIRL SHAKING MARIMBAS
IN THE AIR ABOUT HER --
ABOVE HER HEAD AND THE COPY
EDITOR SAID I THINK YOU MEAN
MARACCAs.

Alan Twigg says I READ OUT IN AN ARTICLE
THAT PROMINENT CANADIAN
WRITER WAS DEAD AND IN FACT
I CONFUSED HER WITH SOMEBODY
ELSE.
I WAS THEN INFORMED THAT SHE
WAS, IN FACT, ALIVE.

Witold Rybczynski says I HAVE NO IDEA.
IT WOULD BE A LOT MORE THAN
A SENTENCE.
IT WOULD PROBABLY BE MORE
LIKE SEVERAL PAGES.

Emma Donoghue says OH, I COULD ADMIT TO A
CHILDHOOD POEM I WROTE WHICH
WENT SPRING IS HERE WITH
BUGS A BUSTING OUT FROM
EVERY BUSH AND TREE.
NOW THE BLUE BELLS DAISIES
DAV FILLS DAV THE SUNNY
FIELDS WITH GLEE.

Michèle Roberts says SHE pleasured HERSELF WITH
QUICK FINGERS.

Susan Musgrave says WELL, WHEN I WAS 14 I
WROTE A POEM AND I THINK IT
WAS CALLED ROWDY AND THE
LINE WAS LIFE IS LIKE A
CANDLE, BLOW IT AND IT IS GONE.
NOT IS THAT BAD.
SEE, YOU SAID YOUR WORSE.

Tina reappears in the studio and says AND NOW A WRITER
WHO HAS NO PROBLEM
WHATSOEVER WITH SENTENCE
STRUCTURE, JEANETTE
WINTERSON'S FANS CAN'T GET
ENOUGH OF HER BOOKS OR OF
HER READINGS.
THE BRITISH WRITER WHO GAVE
US THESE BOOKS THE FACIAL
AND SEXING THE CHERRY NEVER
FAILS TO PLAY TO PACKED
HOUSES.
500 PEOPLE CAME TO SEE HER
READ FROM HER NEW BOOK, THE
POWERBOOK AT HER LATEST STOP
IN TORONTO.

Clips show people settling in for Jeanette’s performance. Then, she stands on a stage and speaks into a microphone. She’s in her thirties, with short brown hair.

She says SO YOU ARE A WRITER, SHE SAID.
YEAH.
WHAT KIND OF THINGS DO
YOU WRITE.
FICTION, MOSTLY.
STUFF YOU MAKE UP?
YEAH.
I PREFER REAL LIFE.
OH, WHY IS THAT.
NO SURPRISES.
DON'T YOU LIKE SURPRISES.
NOT SINCE MY FIFTH BIRTHDAY
WHEN I WAS GIVEN AN
EXPLODING CAKE.
COULD YOU EAT IT.
THE CANDLES WERE LITTLE
STICKS OF DYNAMITE AND THEY
BLEW THE CREAM AND SPONGE
ALL OVER THE ROOM.
TO ME THAT IS LIFE, A CAKE
WITH LITTLE STICKS OF
DYNAMITE ON THE TOP.

Now she speaks in an interview.
A caption reads “Jeanette Winterson. The PowerBook.”

Jeanette says I PRACTICE A LOT.
I STAND UP IN THE BATHROOM
AND I PRACTICE.
BECAUSE WHEN I GET HERE IT
IS SHOW TIME, NOBODY WANTS
TO SEE ME MUMBLING AND
STUMBLING.
THEY WANT TO HAVE A SMOOTH
PERFORMANCE THAT THEY CAN
FEEL COMFORTABLE AND SAFE
WITH AND THEREFORE ENTER
INTO.
IF THE PERFORMER IS INSECURE
THAN THE AUDIENCE GET
ANXIOUS AND IMMEDIATELY THAT
SETS UP A BARRIER BETWEEN
YOU, AND YOU CAN'T HAVE THAT
SEAMLESS FLOW WHICH IS WHAT
I WANT.
YOU CAN'T HAVE THAT
CLOSENESS.

Back in her performance, she reads
ARE YOU USUALLY SO
FRIENDLY WITH STRANGERS?
ALWAYS.
ANY PARTICULAR REASON?
A STRANGER IS A SAFE
PLACE.
YOU CAN TELL A STRANGER
ANYTHING.
SUPPOSE I PUT YOU IN MY BOOK.
YOU WRITE FICTION.
SO.
SO YOU WON'T LASH ME TO THE FACTS.
BUT I MIGHT TELL THE TRUTH.

After the performance, a woman in her early thirties says SHE WRITES WITHOUT ANY
TIES TO TRADITIONAL, YOU
KNOW, DEPIKS OF WHAT PEOPLE
ARE, WHAT PEOPLE SHOULD BE.
SHE'S AMAZING.

Another woman in her early thirties says SHE THINKS OF THINGS THAT
YOU WOULD NEVER THINK OF
SAYING.
THE MIND GOES PLACES, FOR ME
ANYWAY, THAT I WOULDN'T
OTHERWISE GO.
SO THAT IS WHAT I APPRECIATE
ABOUT HER.

Back in her performance, Jeanette says
HAS MY WRITING COST ME
ANYTHING?
IN TERMS OF FRIENDS, NO, I
MEAN IT HAS BROUGHT ME
EVERYTHING.
I MEAN IT IS WHAT I'M FOR.
IT'S MY LIFE.
AND I DON'T -- I DON'T HAVE
ANY REGRETS ABOUT IT I MEAN
THERE HAVE BEEN LOTS OF
PAINFUL THINGS TO DO WITH IT.
BUT NOT IN ITSELF.
IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN A SOURCE
OF ENORMOUS RICHNESS TO ME
AND A GREAT JOY TO ME TO DO IT.
I MEAN I KNOW THAT WRITERS
HAVE TO SUFFER FOR THEIR
WORK AND NATURALLY I DO, AS
YOU CAN SEE.
I SUFFER.
BUT I THINK AS WELL AS THAT,
NOT ENOUGH IS TALKED ABOUT
THE GREAT PLEASURES, GREAT
BENEFITS, THE REAL RICHNESS
YOU GET FROM DOING CREATIVE
WORK AND HAVING THAT WORK
SPEAK BACK TO YOU IN THE
KIND OF DIALOGUE WAY THAT IT
DOES IT IS WONDERFUL.
IS A GREAT PRIVILEGE T IS
THE BEST THING EVER.

Fast clips show Jeanette signing books.

Then, a man in his late twenties says I THINK HER HONESTY IS
WHAT MAKES PEOPLE LAUGH.
LIKE JUST THE FACT SHE WILL
GET RIGHT DOWN TO WHAT
PEOPLE ARE THINKING.
THAT GETS PEOPLE TO REACT.
DOESN'T COVER A LOT OF
THINGS.

On stage, Jeanette says I SUPPOSE I TRUST THE HEART.
I TRUST IT AS A GUIDE.
AND I HAVE ALWAYS FOLLOWED
IT IN A WAY WHICH IS QUITE
OFTEN BEEN DISASTROUS.
BUT YOU HAVE TO HAVE SOME
KIND OF GUARD.
AND IT IS BETTER TO BE GUIDE
BY YOURSELF THAN THINGS IN
THE OUTSIDE WORLD WHICH ARE
ALWAYS UNRELIABLE.
AND USUALLY HAVE AN AGENDA
WHICH IS UNLIKELY TO BE IN
YOUR INTEREST.
I HAVE BEEN IN A
RELATIONSHIP FOR 11 YEARS
WHICH IS GREAT BUT IT IS ONE
I HAVE TO RENEW EVERY DAY.
IT IS NOT SOMETHING I TAKE
FOR GRANTED IT IS NOT
SOMETHING THAT HAS BECOME A
FORM OF HABIT.
IT IS SOMETHING WHICH ALWAYS
HAS TO BE FRESH FOR ME,
OTHERWISE I WOULD WALK OUT
THE DOOR.
I HAVE NO TO KNOW I LOVE AND
KNOW WHY AND THAT IT IS REAL
EVERY SINGLE MORNING.
I CANNOT TAKE IT FOR
GRANTED.
AND THAT IS WHAT KEEPS IT
MOVING FOR ME.
IT IS ABOUT HAFINGD THE
EMOTIONAL EXTRAVAGANCE TO
STAY IN 1 PLACE.
AND THAT IS SOMETHING THAT I
HAVE DISCOVERED I CAN DO
WHICH IS GREAT.
BECAUSE A LOT OF TEMPTATION
APPROXIMATES IN THIS JOB, OH, YES.

The audience bursts out in laughter.

Jeanette says I MEAN, THERE ARE 450 TONIGHT, SO.

Later, she reads
I FELT AS IF I HAVE
BLUNDERED INTO SOMEONE
ELSE'S LIFE BY CHANCE.
DISCOVERED I WANTED TO STAY.
AND THAN BLUNDERED BACK INTO
MY OWN, WITHOUT A CLUE, A
HINT, OR A WAY OF FINISHING
THE STORY.
WHO WAS I LAST NIGHT.
WHO WAS SHE.

She pauses and concludes
THANK YOU.

[Cheers, Applause]

People rise in ovation.

Jeanette says WHAT CAN I SAY. THANK YOU.

Back in the studio, Tina says THE POWERBOOK IS
THE LATEST NOVEL BY
JEANETTE WINTERSON, IT'S
PUBLISHED BY KNOPF CANADA.
THAT IS OUR SHOW FOR
TONIGHT.
COMEBACK NEXT WEEK AND MEET
SANDRA GULLAND.
AND POETRY CANADIAN STYLE,
NEW BOOKS FROM THREE OF OUR
BESTS, JOY KOGAWA, JANE
URQUHART AND PATRICK LANE IT
THAT IS NEXT WEEK ON “IMPRINT.”

Theme music plays as the end credits roll.

Special Thanks, International Festival of Authors, John Goddard, Waddington’s, Young Peoples Theatre.

Imprint. C/O TVOntario. P.O. Box 200. Station Q, Toronto, Ontario. M4T 2T1.

Fax: 416-484-2780.

E-mail: imprint@tvo.org.

Website: www.tvo.org/imprint

A production of TVOntario. Copyright 2001, The Ontario Educational Communications Authority.

Watch: Imprint season 12 episode 16