Transcript: Barry Callaghan reads from his book of essays, "Raise You Fi | Nov 19, 2005

A picture of the book "Raise you five," from Barry Callaghan, appears on screen. The cover features a picture of male hands stacking poker cards.

Then, Barry appears on a podium addressing an unseen audience.
He's in his late fifties, clean-shaven, with gray salt and pepper hair. He's wearing glasses and a black shirt.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Barry Callaghan. Author, 'Raise you five.' Hart House Library. May 9, 2005."

Barry says LOOKING BACK
TO MY EXPERIENCE AS A STUDENT, I
NEVER HAVE FORGOTTEN GETTING AN
ESSAY BACK IN MY THIRD YEAR
UNDERGRADUATE.
AT WHICH, THE PROFESSOR TOOK ME
TO TASK WITH THE FOLLOWING
CRITICAL COMMENT:
DEAR BARRY,
THIS IS A VERY GOOD PAPER, BUT
I'M GIVING YOU A "B-PLUS."
INSTEAD OF AN "A" BECAUSE YOU
MUST REMEMBER THAT THIS IS THE
WRITTEN WORD, AND NOT THE SPOKEN
WORD.
IT'S TOO EASY TO READ.

(Audience Laughter)

Barry continues THAT IDIOT GOT PAID!

(Audience Laughter)

Barry continues GIVE ME A NEWSPAPER JOURNALIST
ANYTIME.
ANYWAY...
TRUE STORIES.
(Clearing throat)
I KNEW A MAN WHO WAS BORN IN A
PEASANT VILLAGE IN GALICIA,
CLOSE TO THE POLISH BORDER.
BY THE TIME HE WAS 19, HE HAD
WORKED HIS WAY TO VLADAVOSTOK
AND THEN TO SIBERIA.
UP THERE HE SAID, THE SNOW GOT
DEEP, MEN STOLE FOOD AND THEN
ONE MAN KILLED ANOTHER AND THE
POLICE LOCKED THE MURDERER IN
A CAGE WITH THE CORPSE.
THE STARVING MAN WENT SO CRAZY
HE ATE HIS DEAD MAN BEFORE HE
DIED TOO.
THE POLICE LEFT THE CAGE IN THE
FOREST.
IN THE SPRING, THE TREES WERE IN
FLOWER, BIRDS BUILT NESTS IN THE
BONES.
HE CAME HOME TO HIS VILLAGE AND
WORKED AS A STABLE HAND.
HE THOUGHT HE MIGHT JOIN THE
ARMY, BUT THEN HE SAW A SMALL
POSTER, A HAND BILL THAT SAID
COME TO SASKATCHEWAN.
HE TOLD ME, BECAUSE I DIDN'T
KNOW WHERE IT WAS, I WENT.

(Audience Laughter)

Barry continues HE SAILED FOR CANADA.
HE WORKED ON THE PRAIRIES AND
FOR A WHILE HE LIVED WITH FOUR
OTHER FARM LABOURERS IN A ONE
ROOM BOURDAIS, A SAWED HUT HALF
UNDERGROUND.
HE WAS STRANGE, HE SAID.
LIKE LIVING TOGETHER IN YOUR
GRAVE.
AT THE SAME TIME, A YOUNG
UKRAINIAN GIRL ARRIVED BY BOAT
IN MONTREAL.
IN HER HOME VILLAGE, AN OLD
PRIEST HAD MADE HER SISTER
PREGNANT.
SHE THOUGHT HE WAS GOING TO MAKE
HER PREGNANT TOO.
SHE HAD COME TO MONTREAL TO
MARRY A SHOE MAKER.
IT WAS AN ARRANGED MARRIAGE.
THE SHOEMAKER WASN'T THERE.
HE DIDN'T SHOW UP, SOMEONE TOOK
HER FROM THE DOCKS AND GAVE HER
A BAG OF SANDWICHES AND PUT HER
ON A TRAIN FOR SASKATCHEWAN.
FIVE DAYS ALONE BY TRAIN, 2,000
MILES, A GIRL WHO COULDN'T SPEAK
ENGLISH.
THE GALICIAN WAS WORKING THERE
ON A FARM, SHE WENT TO WORK ON
THE SAME FARM.
AND HE HEARD HIS BOSS SING,
WORKS LIKE DONKEY, LOOKS LIKE
MONKEY, MUST BE HONKY.

(Audience Laughter)

Barry continues THEY CAME TO TORONTO, GOT
MARRIED AND HAD A DAUGHTER.
WE MADE A NEST, HE SAID.
HE WAS A MAN OF STAMINA, OF STOW
COURAGE.
HE WORKED AS A PLUMMER, HE
PRESSED PANTS, HE SET PINS IN
BOWLING ALLEYS, HE WAS A BARBER,
HE LAID COBBLE STONES BETWEEN
THE CITY STREETCAR TRACKS.
HE SAVED HIS MONEY AND BOUGHT A
SMALL HOUSE.
AND HE GOT SICK.
A TERRIBLE ARTHRITIS IN HIS
SPINE.
DOCTORS FUSED HIS VERTEBRAE
TOGETHER TO EASE THE PAIN.
HE COULDN'T
TURN HIS HEAD.
IT DOESN'T MATTER, HE SAID.
I NEVER LOOK BACK.

(Audience Laughter)

Barry continues OVER THE NEXT 40 YEARS, IN PAIN
HE OFTEN COULD NOT WORK.
HE HAD TO STAY HOME SITTING
UPRIGHT IN HIS CHAIR, AND HE
READ BOOKS, NOVELS IN RUSSIAN
ORDERED BY SURFACE MAIL FROM
MOSCOW, A PEOPLE'S PRESS.
NEWSPRINT PAGES AND CARDBOARD
COVERS.
HE SAID HE LIKED TALL STORY, HE
FELT TALL STORY WAS TALKING
MUSIC TO HIM.
HE DIDN'T LIKE SOLJENITSIN,
SOLJENITSIN WAS JUST TALKING,
TALKING.
HIS WIFE KEPT A CAT AND KEPT A
CANARY IN A CAGE.
IT MADE HER SMILE WATCHING THE
CAT WATCH THE BIRD.
SHE WAS AMUSED BY THE STEADFAST
STILLNESS OF THE CAT'S YEARNING.
SHE WAS PLEASED BY THE BIRD'S
CHIRPING, SHE TALKED TO THE
BIRD.
THE DAUGHTER GOT MARRIED.
IN THE YEAR, HIS DAUGHTER GAVE
HIM A GRANDSON.
TWO OF HIS FARM LABOUR FRIENDS
FROM THE OLD COUNTRY WHO HAD
LIVED WITH HIM IN THE SAWED HUT
IN SASKATCHEWAN DIED.
THEIR NAMES WERE IN THE LOCAL
UKRAINIAN NEWSPAPER.
HIS WIFE HAD CATARACTS IN HER
EYES, SO HE READ THE DEATH
NOTICES ALOUD TO HER.
SHE WAS STRONG, BUT SHE COULD
HARDLY SEE AND DIDN'T REALIZE
THAT SHE HAD LEFT THE CANARY
CAGE DOOR OPEN.
THE BIRD FLEW AROUND THE HOUSE
AND THEN OUT THE BACK DOOR.
A BIRD FLYING IN THE HOUSE HE
SAID, MEANS DEATH.
BUT, HE GREW OLDER AND OLDER.
HE ALSO GREW FEEBLE, AND HARDLY
SLEPT.
A DEEPER PAIN HAD NESTED IN HIS
BONES AS HE SAT UPRIGHT STARING
STRAIGHT AHEAD.
I KNOW HOW TO DO 100 THINGS, HE
SAID.
BUT, I DON'T KNOW HOW TO DIE.
TWO WEEKS LATER, HE DIED.
THOUGH HE STILL DIDN'T KNOW HOW
TO DIE, BECAUSE HE DIED IN HIS
SLEEP.

(Audience Laughter)

Barry continues HE HAD ALMOST NEVER TALKED ABOUT
HIS LIFE, HE HAD NEVER LOOKED
BACK, HE CERTAINLY DIDN'T KNOW
HOW TO TELL HIS STORY.
I HAVE TOLD HIS STORY, THE STORY
OF HOW HE WILL BE REMEMBERED.
IT IS WHO HE WILL BE.
IS IT WHO HE WAS?
I DON'T KNOW.
DETAILS MAY BE WRONG, BUT WHAT
IS WORTH KNOWING IN THE STORY
IS ENTIRELY TRUE.
IF DETAILS ARE WRONG, THEN THEY
ARE LIES ONLY IN THE WAY TRUE
LOVERS GIVE EACH OTHER THE LIE
WHEN THEY SAY, I LOVE YOU 'TILL
THE DAY I DIE.
THE MORE LAYERED SUCH LIES, THE
MORE BITING THE TRUTH.
SUCH IS ART.
SUCH WAS A MAN CALLED PAUL
RAMCHUCK.
THIS IS HOW I KNOW HIM, NOW YOU
KNOW HIM TOO.
BUT, WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS
OF THIS STORY?
THAT A STORY BEGINS IN MEMORY,
AND MEMORY IS NOT THE END, BUT
THE BEGINNING OF A STORY.
AND WHAT'S THIS TO SAY ABOUT
HISTORY?
IT SAYS,
SOMETHING AS OLD AS ARISTOTLE,
THAT HISTORY IS AN ASSEMBLAGE OF
FACTS.
THE BITS AND PIECES OF TIME
PAST, WITH A TINGE OF THE
PRESENT AND A LITTLE MORE.
A STORY,
THOUGH IS A SHAPING OF THE
FACTS.
A MOULDING ACT OF THE
IMAGINATION.
AND THE IMAGINATION SAID,
JACQUES MARITA APPROACHES
METAPHYSICS.
THAT IS, IT APPROACHES FIRST
TRUTHS.
WHERE DOES THE IMAGINATION
BEGIN?
IN MEMORY WITH THE STORY.
LET ME PUT WHAT I MEAN IN
ANOTHER WAY BY SAYING SOMETHING
ABOUT ONE OF THE GREATEST
STORIES EVER TOLD.
I WAS BRED IN THE BONE AS A
CATHOLIC.
I WENT TO A PAROCHIAL SCHOOL, I
STUDIED THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS,
I SANG IN THE CHOIR AND LEARNED
TO SING IN LATIN, BUT DID NOT
LEARN WHAT LATIN MEANT.
I LEARNED THE LITURGY AND WHAT
ALL THE COLOURS OF THE
MASS VESTMENT SIGNIFIED FROM
DEATH TO RESURRECTION.
BUT, I DID NOT READ THE OLD AND
NEW TESTAMENTS.
CATHOLICS DID NOT READ THE BIBLE
STORIES.
THAT'S HOW ALL THE PROTESTANTS
LIKE LUTHER AND KELVIN HAD GOT
INTO TROUBLE, BY READING THE
BIBLE STORIES FOR THEMSELVES.

(Audience Laughter)

Barry continues I DID NOT GET INTO TROUBLE,
UNTIL LATE IN LIFE.
I SAT DOWN AND READ THE GENESIS
STORY.
I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT, SO
I READ ALL THE LITTLE CHAPTERS
OF THE STORY AS IF IT WERE THE
MEMOIRS OF THE JEWS.
AND WITH THE FIRST CHAPTER, I
KNEW SOMETHING UNEXPECTED WAS
AFOOT.
I HAD ALWAYS BEEN TOLD THAT THE
GREAT BEGINNING HAD BEGUN WITH
THE LIGHT, AND THEN THERE WAS
THE GARDEN AND ADAM AND EVE, AND
THE FIRST TEMPTATION.
THE APPLE, THE SNAKE, SIN,
SHAME AND THE EXPULSION FROM
EDEN.
AND WE WERE THE CHILDREN OF THE
EXPELLED TRYING TO SHED SIN AND
SHAME IN THIS VEIL OF TEARS SO
THAT WE COULD GO BACK OVER THE
GARDEN WALL, WHICH IS DEATH AND
GET INTO THE GARDEN AGAIN.
IT'S A GOOD STORY AND CHRISTIANS
HAVE STUCK TO IT.
AS IN ALL GOOD STORIES HOWEVER,
THERE IS ANOTHER WOMAN.

(Audience Laughter)

Barry continues THERE IS AN EXTRAORDINARY TWIST
TO THE JEWISH STORY BECAUSE THE
OTHER WOMAN DOES NOT WEASEL HER
WAY AND BREAK UP THE MARRIAGE.
SHE WAS THERE FIRST, SHE WAS
THERE BEFORE EVE.
AND SHE WASN'T BORN FROM ADAM'S
RIB, SHE WASN'T BORN INTO HIM BY
THE BONE, SHE WAS HER OWN WOMAN,
EQUAL.
AND SHE LOOKED AROUND AND SAID,
THIS PLACE IS FOR THE BIRDS.

(Audience Laughter)

Barry continues DISMISSING ADAM, HIS GOD OF
LIGHT AND LIGHTNING BOLTS, AND
THE GARDEN.
SHE WENT OVER THE WALL AND TOOK
THE NAME, LILITH.
THEN THE STORY STARTS ALL OVER
AGAIN.
CHECK IT OUT, YOU'LL FIND THIS
IS TRUE.

(Audience Laughter)

Barry continues THIS TIME WITH THE RIB AND EVE,
THIS TIME EVERYTHING AND
EVERYONE IN THE STORY IS UNDER
CONTROL.
BUT, WHERE DID THAT WOMAN LILITH
GO?
WHO WAS SHE?
IS SHE STILL OUT THERE
INDIFFERENT TO ALL THE
PATRIARCHAL PRATING THAT GOES ON
THROUGH ALL THE STORIES IN THE
BIBLE?
DID SHE
BREAK OUT OF BONDAGE OF DEATH
FOREVER?
THE IDEA OF BREAKING OUT OF
BONDAGE OF PASSING OVER, LEAD ME
TO READ THE EXODUS STORY.
EVERY YEAR,
JEWS CELEBRATE PASSOVER, THE
COMING OUT OF EGYPT.
THE CELEBRATE THE STORY AS A
TRUTH THAT LIES AT THE CORE OF
THEIR BEING JEWS.
BUT, WHAT IS THE STORY?
PEOPLE OF A HISTORICAL BEND WHO
NEED TO BELIEVE IN FACTS BEFORE
THEY CAN BELIEVE IN BELIEF
ITSELF HAVE A HARD TIME WITH
THIS PASSING OVER STORY.
WERE THE JEWS REALLY IN EGYPT?
WHERE AND WHEN DID THE RED SEA
PART?
WHERE IS THE MOUNTAIN WHERE
MOSES TALKED TO GOD?
WHAT IS MANNA?
AND WAS IT A GIFT FROM GOD?
THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF BIBLE COPS
OUT THERE ON THE BEAT SAYING,
JUST THE FACTS MA'AM, JUST THE
FACTS.

(Audience Laughter)

Barry continues SUCH A MAN WROTE A BOOK CALLED,
THE BIBLE IS HISTORY.
IT WAS A BEST SELLER BECAUSE HE
HAD LINED UP ALL THE FACTS LIKE
LITTLE DUCKS AND HE HAD WORKED
OUT ALL THE ANSWERS, EVEN FOR
THE MYSTERY OF MANNA.
MANNA HE SAID, WAS THE PURE
WHITE SWEET TASTING EXCREMENT
THAT CERTAIN DESERT INSECTS
LEFT, AND STILL LEAVE ON
FOLIAGE DURING THE NIGHT.
THAT HE SAID, AS IF HE HAD
PROVEN SOMETHING TRIUMPHANT AND
PROFOUND, SOMETHING TO BOLSTER
THE FAITH WAS WHAT THE WANDERING
ISRAELITES ATE FOR BREAKFAST.
INSECT SHIT!
SWEET TO THE TONGUE AND FULL OF
PROTEIN TOO!

(Audience Laughter)

Barry continues HE LIKE OTHER FUNDAMENTALISTS
AND CREATIONISTS PILED UP
LITERAL FACTS TO JUSTIFY A
LITERAL READING OF THE STORY.
INSISTING HE COULD PROVE THAT
MOSES HAD ACTUALLY CROSSED OVER
IN A CERTAIN YEAR.
THAT MOSES AND HIS SEVERAL
THOUSANDS OF MEN, WOMEN AND
CHILDREN HAD ACTUALLY MARCHED
AROUND SINAI FOR 40 YEARS.
THAT THE SUN HAD ACTUALLY STOOD
STILL AND TRUMPETS HAD ACTUALLY
BLOWN DOWN THE WALLS AROUND
JERICHO.
BUT, WAIT A MINUTE.

(Audience Laughter)

Barry continues THE EGYPTIANS WERE EXTRAORDINARY
BOOK KEEPERS.
AND WE KNOW HOW TO READ ALL
THEIR HIEROGLYPHIC RECORDS.
THEY KEPT TRACK OF EVERY CAMEL
HERDER WHO CROSSED THE SINAI
DESERT.
THERE'S NO MENTION OF MOSES OR
HIS ARMY PREPPING FOR PITCH
BATTLE AROUND JERICHO.
AS A MATTER OF FACT, THE CHOSEN
PEOPLE ARE SINGLED OUT FROM
MENTION ONLY ONCE IN THE WHOLE
MASS OF EGYPTIAN RECORDS.
A PASSING REFERENCE TO THE
MOUNTAIN TOWN OF JERUSALEM.
AND AS I READ THIS STORY FOR THE
FIRST TIME I ASKED MYSELF, 40
YEARS?
HOW BIG IS THE SINAI?
THE FACT IS, THE SINAI IS SO
SMALL, YOU CAN WALK ACROSS IT IN
FOUR DAYS.
SO, WHAT WERE THEY DOING OUT
THERE FOR 40 YEARS?

(Audience Laughter)

Barry continues WHERE WERE THEY HIDING?
WERE THEY THE GREATEST VANISHING
ACT IN HISTORY?
WAS MOSES SOME KIND OF FAUX
BISMARCK WERE THEY EVER ACTUALLY
THERE?
IN ASKING THESE QUESTIONS, AM I
INVITING A LAUGHTER THAT
BELITTLES THE STORY?
ABSOLUTELY NOT.
THE STORY IS INTACT IN MY
IMAGINATION.
IT IS INTACT IN THE IMAGINATION
OF THE JEWS.
BUT, I AM BELITTLING THE
FUNDAMENTALISTS WHO INSIST THAT
A STORY MUST BE LITERALLY TRUE
IN IT'S FACTUAL DETAILS IF IT'S
GREAT TRUTH IS TO BE TRUSTED.
ARISTOTLE HAD THEIR NUMBER.
CHRONOLOGICAL DETAIL, HE SAID IS
A LOW LEVEL OF AWARENESS.
TELEPHONE BOOKS HAVE CHRONOLOGY.
BUT, THE IMAGINATION GIVES SHAPE
TO THE EXPERIENCE THAT IS
INHERENT IN THE FORM OF THE
STORY.
LIKE A BEE, A STORY BECOMES
ITSELF.
LIKE A BEE, THE STORY GETS IN
YOUR BONNET.
IT BECOMES WHAT IT IS IN YOUR
MEMORY.
THE MEMORY OF PASSING OUT OF
BONDAGE IS CENTRAL TO THE BEING
OF ALL JEWS.
THEY DID NOT KNOW WHO THEY WERE
UNTIL THEY HAD GOT THEIR STORY
STRAIGHT.
EVERY YEAR AT PASSOVER, BY
ENTERING INTO MEMORY THEY BEGIN
AGAIN.
THAT'S WHAT PASSOVER IS.
A STORY RENOVATED THROUGH RITUAL
FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION.
AND THE DETAILS MAY BE
HISTORICALLY TRUE TO PASTIME,
OR NOT.
AND BORROWED FROM OTHER PASS
TRIBES OR NOT.
BUT, WHO THE JEWS ARE IS AND THE
WAY THEY DISCOVER WHO THEY ARE
AND AFFIRM WHO THEY ARE DOES NOT
END WITH A MEMORY, BUT BEGINS IN
MEMORY.
THAT'S THEIR GREAT STORY AS THEY
REMEMBER IT AND THEY ARE
STICKING TO IT.
TO THE TRUTH IN IT.
THE COMING OUT OF BONDAGE INTO
FREEDOM.
IN MY OWN MEMORY, THAT IS PAUL
RAMCHUCK'S STORY.
COMING OUT OF THE BONDAGE OF
RUSSIA INTO THE OPEN EXPANSE OF
SASKATCHEWAN.
GOING THERE BECAUSE HE DIDN'T
KNOW WHERE THERE WAS.
PAUL RAMCHUCK TOLD ME THE STORY
OF HIS FOUR FRIENDS.
HARD WORKING MEN WHO HAD
PROMISED EACH OTHER IN THE DANK
LIGHT OF A PRAIRIE BOURDAIS THAT
THEY WOULD BE MILLIONAIRES.
YEARS PASSED, TWO OF THE MEN
DIED AS MILLIONAIRES, THEIR
CHILDREN BECAME CHIROPRACTORS.
PAUL WORKED HARD, BUT HE ALSO
STAYED HOME A LOT, WEEK AFTER
WEEK LOCKED IN PAIN STARING
STRAIGHT AHEAD.
HE WAS WELL OFF, BUT HE WAS NOT
RICH.
HE HAD NOTHING TO DO, SO HE READ
BOOKS.
(Speaking Russian)
WHEN HE WASN'T READING, HE WENT
FOR LONG WALKS IN THE GREAT PARK
THAT WAS ACROSS FROM HIS HOUSE,
HIGH PARK.
THEN HIS TWO LIVING FRIENDS
RETIRED.
PAUL BECAUSE HE WAS NOT A
MILLIONAIRE, READ BOOKS AND WENT
FOR WALKS.
MONTHS PASSED AND HE DID NOT
HEAR FROM HIS FRIENDS, PAUL
SAID HE FELT VERY ALONE.
AND THEN HE TOLD ME THIS STORY.
HE GOT A PHONE CALL.
LEONARD HAD TRIED TO KILL
HIMSELF, AND BORIS WAS ON THE
VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN.
THEY MET IN THE PARK, PAUL WAS
ASTONISHED.
HIS FRIENDS LOOKED HAGGARD AND
BROKEN LIKE HOMELESS MEN.
HOW THEY ASKED, HOW WHAT?
HOW ARE YOU
SO CALM?
HE GAVE THEM TALL STORIES.
OVER THE MONTHS THEY SAT ON A
LONG BENCH BY GRENADIER POND IN
THE SOUTH END OF THE PARK WHERE
SEVERAL SWANS SWAM IN THE WATER.
THEY FED
BREAD CRUSTS TO THE SWANS.
BORIS WAS READING BABO AND
LEONARD WAS READING DOSTOEVSKY
EVEN THE LETTERS.
THEY READ FOR HOURS WITHOUT
STOPPING.
LEONARD KISSED PAUL ON THE
CHEEK.
I OWE YOU, HE SAID.
YOU CAN PUNCH ME!

(Audience Laughter)

Barry continues WHY WOULD I PUNCH YOU, PAUL
ASKED.
IF YOU MEET A STUPID MAN, BORIS
SAID, BEAT HIM.
HE WILL KNOW THE REASON WHY.

(Audience Laughter)

Barry continues THEY KEPT ON TALKING, WEEK AFTER
WEEK TELLING EACH OTHER THE
STORIES THEY HAD READ.
THAT WAS GOOD, I TELL YOU TRUE.
THEN ONE DAY BORIS SAID, I'LL
TELL YOU A STORY ABOUT MY FATHER
AND SOME OTHER MEN WHO HAD BEEN
ARRESTED BY SOMEONE'S COMMAND.
AND THEY MADE ONE MAN UNDRESS,
AND HE WAS MISSING A LEG.
SO, THEY TOOK HIS CRUTCH.
HOW DO YOU KNOW THIS?
BECAUSE THE MOTHER OF ONE OF THE
MEN KEPT A WHORE HOUSE IN
MINSKEN, I USED TO GO THERE.
AND THEY TOOK HIS CRUTCH.
AND ANOTHER MAN HAD LOST AN ARM,
AND THEY TOOK HIS ARTIFICIAL
LIMB.
THE BASTARDS.
AND THEY TOLD HIM THEY WOULDN'T
FEED THEM IF HE COMPLAINED.
DIDN'T SOMEONE HAVE TO SIGN FOR
THE ARM?
MY FATHER, HE SIGNED.
AND HE SAID TO THEM, SOMEBODY
TURNS IN A LEG, ANOTHER AN ARM,
SO I'LL GIVE YOU AN EYE.
AND HE GAVE HIM HIS PORCELAIN
RIGHT EYE.
YOUR FATHER HAD A PORCELAIN
EYE?
EVEN I COULDN'T TELL 'TILL HE
TOLD ME.
THE EYE WAS SUCH A GOOD MATCH.
PAUL THOUGHT, MAYBE THIS WAS A
TRUE STORY, AND MAYBE IT WAS
MADE UP, OR MAYBE IT WAS
BORROWED.
BUT, HE DIDN'T WANT TO SAY
ANYTHING BECAUSE HE DIDN'T WANT
TO OFFEND HIS FRIEND.
BORIS WENT ON AND SAID, FATHER
STANDING NAKED TOLD THEM, PRETTY
SOON YOU'LL HAVE ALL THE BODY
PARTS YOU NEED.
AND THEY SAID, WHAT IS THERE YOU
WON'T GIVE UP?
AND HE SAID, MY SOUL, YOU CAN'T
HAVE MY SOUL.
AND YOUR FATHER'S HOLDING THAT
STORY, LEONARD ASKED.
TRUE, I THINK I READ A STORY
LIKE THAT SOMEWHERE, PAUL TOLD
THEM.

(Audience Laughter)

Barry continues GOOD, BORIS SAID.
IF SOMEONE ELSE TOLD THE SAME
STORY, THEN IT MUST BE EVEN MORE
TRUE.

(Audience Laughter)

Barry continues THEY SAT ON THE BENCH IN SILENCE
TOSSING BREAD TO THE SWANS WHO
HONKED WAITING TO BE FED.
AFTER PAUL DIED AND WAS
CREMATED, I TOLD MY FATHER HIS
STORY.
HE WAS SITTING FACES ME AND HIS
EYES WERE ALIVE LIKE A CHILD'S
BECAUSE HE WAS NOT ONLY
LISTENING TO THE STORY, BUT WAS
BEGINNING TO SEE IT IN HIS OWN
WAY.
BUT, WHAT WAS HIS WAY?
AND HOW WILL
HE MAKE IT HIS OWN AND YET KEEP
IT TRUE TO WHAT I HAD TOLD HIM?
AND TRUE TO WHAT PAUL HAD TOLD
ME, AND TO WHAT BORIS HAD TOLD
PAUL SO THAT SOMEONE HEARING THE
STORY WOULD SAY, HOW TRUE.

(Audience Laughter)

Barry continues
Barry says TO MAKE ANY
STORY LIKE THIS INTO A TRUE
STORY DEMANDS A CURIOUS EYE, A
COLD EYE.
NOT RUTHLESS, BUT A LENS EYE
UNMOVED BY THE IMPEDIMENT OF
EMOTION.
THE KIND OF EYE THAT MORLEY HAD.
HE COULD LOOK AT ME THAT WAY,
AND OFTEN DID, AND AT MY
MOTHER.
THAT OF COURSE WAS THE DISTANCE
I ALWAYS FELT IN HIM.
THE DISTANCE THAT ALLOWED HIM TO
TAKE OUR INTIMATE, PRIVATE
MOMENTS AND PUT THEM IN HIS
STORIES ON THE PUBLIC PAGE FOR
HIS OWN PURPOSES.
HE LOOKED AT HIMSELF THAT WAY,
UNFLINCHING BY TEMPERAMENT.
THERE IS AN ASTONISHING SCENE IN
HIS STORY, A PASSION IN ROME.
ASTONISHING TO ANYONE WHO KNEW
MY MOTHER, WHO SUFFERED FOR
YEARS FROM A TERRIFICALLY
PAINFUL DISEASE, TIC-AL-AROO.
THE MOST PAINFUL OF ALL
NEUROLOGICAL AFFLICTIONS.
AND IT IS A SCENE IN WHICH THE
LOVERS ARE IN ROME IN A RENTED
FLAT OVER A SHOP AND THEY HAVE
BEEN THROUGH A NIGHT OF SEXUAL
ECSTASY.
A NIGHT OF CRIES AND MOANS, THE
SAME KIND OF CRIES AND MOANS
THAT MY MOTHER MADE IN HER
AGONIES.
FOLLOWED BY A FIERCE WRANGLING
AND LOUD RECRIMINATION.
IN THE MORNING, IN THE STORY,
DERMOIDAL LANDLADY...
THE MAN TELLS HIS LOVER WHAT TO
WRITE IN A NOTE.
WE ARE SURE YOU WERE ALARMED BY
THE CRY OF PAIN YOU MUST HAVE
HEARD LAST NIGHT.
I HAVE A NEURALGIA OF THE FACE,
AN OLD DISEASE.
PERHAPS YOU HAVE HEARD OF IT,
IT'S CALLED TIC-AL-ROO.
IT STRIKES ME SUDDENLY, THE PAIN
AS DOCTORS NOTE IS UNBEARABLE.
I AM ASHAMED THAT I CRY OUT.
WHAT I WONDERED, DID MY MOTHER
THINK OF THAT?

(Audience Laughter)

Barry continues NOT ONLY A LITTLE LIE TOLD BY
THE CHARACTERS, BUT HER PAIN
MASKED AS SEXUAL ECSTASY.
THIS WAS A WORLD WHERE THE LENS
EYE OF THE WRITER, YOUR HUSBAND
COULD STEAL YOUR THOUGHTS, YOUR
SHAME, YOUR SOUL.
THEN IN THE YEAR AFTER I
RETURNED HOME FROM MY HONEYMOON,
I HAD A CASUAL CONVERSATION WITH
MY FATHER IN WHICH I TOLD HIM
ABOUT THE FIRST LITTLE FIGHTS I
HAD ON THE ROAD WITH MY NEW WIFE
NINA RAMCHUCK, PAUL'S DAUGHTER.
LATER IN MORLEY'S STORY, A FINE
AND PRIVATE PLACE I READ, HE HAD
HER ARM AND FELT HER SHOULDER GO
UP STIFFLY.
THEN HE KNEW THAT SHE FELT
NEGLECTED, AND HE TREMBLED WITH
RESENTMENT.
ROME WAS THE LOVELIEST OF ALL
THE CITIES, AND HERE SHE WAS
WANTING TO BE TREATED AS THE
ONLY REALLY LOVELY THING IN
ROME.
FROM THEN ON, HE WAS AWARE OF
OTHER SURPRISING LITTLE
OPPOSITIONS.
HE LIKED WANDERING AT LOOSE
ENDS, UNEXPECTED RUINS,
RESTAURANTS, BOUTIQUES, TIE
SHOPS AMD CHURCHES.
THEY ALL DELIGHTED HIM.
THEN, IF HE SUDDENLY WANTED TO
CROSS THE ROAD, SHE ARGUED.
IT WASN'T WHERE THEY HAD PLANNED
TO CROSS.
IN CHRIST'S NAME, WHAT DOES IT
MATTER?
AND HE WAS HARSH WITH HER, FOR
THERE SEEMED TO BE A MAP IN HER
HEAD WHICH ONLY SHE KNEW AND HE
COULDN'T KNOW.
IF THEY DIDN'T FOLLOW THE SECRET
MAP, EVERYTHING WOULD GO TO
PIECES.
I REMEMBER THINKING, WHAT A
REMARKABLE MEMORY.
WHAT REMARKABLE REPORTING OF
WHAT I HAD SAID TO HIM.
BUT, HE KNEW
AND I KNEW, AND PERHAPS NINA
KNEW TOO THAT A PRIVATE MOMENT
IN MY MARRIAGE HAD BEEN SEEN
THROUGH THE LENS OF HIS EYE AND
THEN LAID BARE ON THE PAGE.
YET, I NEVER SAID A WORD.
HE STARED AT
ME, I STARED AT HIM.
IT IS DANGEROUS TO STARE, TO
LOOK UPON YOUR FATHER.
AND EVEN MORE DANGEROUS TO GO
INTO HIS TENT, TO PLUNGE INTO
HIS PRIVACY AND SEE HIM IN HIS
ALONENESS, IN ALL HIS DARK
NAKEDNESS.
I DID.
I LOOKED AT HIM WITH MY OWN
CURIOUS EYE AND IT WAS AT THE
WORST OF MOMENTS WHEN WE BOTH
THOUGHT HE WAS ABOUT TO BE TOLD
HE HAD CANCER.
A CURIOUS EYE, UNMOVED BY THE
IMPEDIMENT OF EMOTION.
MORLEY SAT DOWN ONE DAY AND READ
IN MY STORY, THE WAY THE ANGEL
SPREADS HER WINGS.
ABOUT THE AFTERNOON WE WENT
TOGETHER TO WELLESLEY HOSPITAL
TO SEE IF HE HAD CANCER.
THE CHARACTER IN MY NOVEL IS
CALLED ADAM, AND HE GOES WITH
HIS FATHER WHO'S CALLED WEB.
AND AS HIS FATHER UNDRESSED IN
THE CUBICLE IN THE HOSPITAL'S
EMERGENCY ROOM, HE THOUGHT I
DON'T WANT TO SEE HIM STRIP
DOWN, DEFENCELESS.
YEARS AGO I WANTED HIM DEAD, BUT
NOW I DON'T WANT HIM
DEFENCELESS.
HIS FATHER STOOD BAREFOOT ON THE
GREY MARBLE FLOOR, NAKED TALKING
ABOUT BASEBALL AS IF NOTHING
WERE THE MATTER, AS IF THEY WERE
IN NEUTRAL SPACE.
ALL EMOTION NEUTERED, AND
NEITHER SPOKE OF A SILENT,
UNSEEN TUMOUR, NOR SAID THE
DREADED WORD, CANCER.
THE BIG "C."
BUT, ONLY STARED AT THE YELLOW,
PURPLE, PINK, SEPIA BLOOD IN
RIPPLED LAYERS, A RELIEF MAP
UNDER HIS TRANSLUCENT SKIN.
ALL THE PLACES HE'D BEEN, THE
ALTITUDES.
BUT, THE DOCTOR, A YOUNG MAN
WEARING STEEL RIMMED GLASSES
SHROUDED AND SMILED AS WEB SAT
UP ON THE BROWN RUBBER SHEET OF
THE EXAMINING TABLE, HIS
SLIGHTLY BOWED LEGS.
AND ADAM THOUGHT, AND HIS PENIS
IS SO SMALL.
REMEMBERING WHEN HE WAS A CHILD
IN THE BATHROOM, HIS FATHER
STANDING OVER THE TOILET, HIS
PENIS BETWEEN TWO FINGERS.
THICK, SO BIG, SO HEAVY.
AND NOW IT LOOKED LIKE THE
MEMORY OF HIS OWN CHILDHOOD
PENIS.
SMALL, HOODED, SHRIVELLED BY
FEAR.
HIS ONLY SIGN OF FEAR.
AND WHY AM I LOOKING AT HIS
PENIS WHEN IT IS ACTUALLY HIS
BONEY FEET, THE LONG BONEY
YELLOW TOES AND TOENAILS THAT
APPAL ME.
THE HARD YELLOW NAILS AND THE
THIN SHINS, AND CRINKLED BLUE
VEINS.
AND THE FLESH HANGING LOOSE
UNDER HIS ARM LIKE A WOMAN'S.
THE LITTLE WOMANLY TITS WITH
TUFTS OF HAIR AROUND THE SMALL
NIPPLES.
WHY DO MEN HAVE NIPPLES?
WHAT TAUNTING SIGN OF
INEFFECTUALITY, LOST POWER, SIGN
OF THE LOST RIB.
AND LAUGHING LIGHTLY ADAM SAID,
GOD DAMN, YOU SURE LOOK LIKE THE
RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD TO ME.

(Audience Laughter)

Barry continues MORLEY NEVER SAID A WORD ABOUT
THAT PASSAGE.

(Audience Laughter)

Barry continues
Barry says HE NEVER
SAID WHETHER IT WAS ACCURATE OR
FALSE.
HE ONLY SAID THAT THE PROSE OF
THE NOVEL WAS VERY SENSUAL.
BUT, IT WAS NOT THE WAY HE
WROTE.
NO, NOT AT ALL.
AND IN THE
YEARS BEFORE HIS DEATH, WRITER
TO WRITER, STEALING FROM EACH
OTHER'S LIVES, STEALING AND
SHAPING LITTLE LIES TO TELL BIG
TRUTHS.
WE ENDED UP YIELDING IN A
COMPLETE AND SILENT TRUST OF OUR
PRIVATE MOMENTS TO EACH OTHER'S
STORY TELLING DEVICES AND PUBLIC
SCRUTINY.
PERHAPS THAT WAS A NAKEDNESS
BEYOND FACTS, BEYOND A KISS,
BEYOND SENSUALITY.
BEYOND EVEN TRUST, SINCE IT WAS
NEITHER ASKED FOR, NOR GIVEN.
PERHAPS THAT WAS OUR PASSING
OVER, OUR COMING OUT OF BONDAGE
INTO A LOVE.
THE TELLING OF LIES THAT TOLD A
STORY THAT ENHANCED THE TRUTH OF
HOW IT WAS WITH US.

(Sustained applause)

Watch: Barry Callaghan reads from his book of essays, "Raise You Fi