Transcript: Imprint season 13 episode 15 | Jan 02, 2002

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 rounded glasses and a maroon sweater.

Tina says HELLO THERE ARE,
TINA SREBOTNJAK.
WELCOME TO A BRAND-NEW
EDITION OF “IMPRINT.”

Piano music plays. In animation, the title “Imprint” appears against a waving background in orange hues.

Then a clip shows a book, “Dolce Agonia” standing on a table, surrounded by yellow squash.

Tina says TONIGHT, DOLCE AGONIA, and NANCY
HUSBANDTON'S LATEST BOOK
ABOUT THE TRUTH ABOUT DINNER PARTIES.

In a snippet of the interview, Nancy says IT IS TRUE THE WOMEN
STILL TEND TO GET TOGETHER
TO CHAT IN THE KITCHEN WHILE
THE MEN ARE TALKING ABOUT
SERIOUS THINGS IN THE OTHER
ROOM.

Tina says AND WE KNOW EXACTLY WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT.

Nancy says WE KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT.

Now a clip shows several book covers: John Updike’s “Licks of Love” ,”True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey and lastly “Cheese Monkeys” by Chip King.

Tina says FROM COVER DESIGN
TO PUBLISHED OFFER, CHIP
KID TRIES HIS HAND AT THE
WRITING LIFE.

Chip says IT'S DEFINITELY A SCARY
PROSPECT.
SOMEBODY COULD EASILY JUST
SAY WELL, HE SHOULD STICK TO
DOING THE COVERS.
AND DON'T BOTHER -- DON'T
BOTHER WITH THE TEXT.

A clip shows several hands typing on different types of typewriters over the centuries.

Tina says AND WANT TO BE A WRITER?
SOME CAUTIONARY WORDS FROM
THE PEOPLE WITHOUT DO IT FOR
A LIVING.

Rosemary says MY FIRST REACTION IS YOU
HAVE TO BE CRAZY AND YOU
SHOULD KEEP YOUR DAY JOB.

Woman says ANYONE WHO WANTS TO BE
WRITING SHOULD BE WRITING.
AND IT IS A VERY, VERY LONG
APPRENTICESHIP SO THE SOONER
THEY GET STARTED, THE
BETTER.

Dennis says DO IT BUT BE PREPARED NOT
TO MAKE ANY MONEY AND BE
REALLY, REALLY LONELY AND
FRUSTRATE FORD A LONG, LONG
TIME.

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

Then Tina reappears and says TAKE AN ECLECTIC
GROUP OF PEOPLE, COLLEAGUES,
FRIENDS, EX-LOVERS AND THEIR
SPOUSES AND PUT THEM
TOGETHER IN A ROOM FOR
THANKSGIVING DINNER.
THAT IS THE SETTING FOR
DOLCE AGONIA THE LATEST NOVEL BY EXPAT CANADIAN WRITER NANCY
HUUSTON, THE HOST OF THE DINNER PARTY IS A HARD
DRINKING POET NAMED SEAN AND
THE BOOK'S NARRATOR IS SOMEONE WHO'S
REALLY GOT THE GOODS ON ALL
THE GUESTS, GOD.
WE'LL HAVE LIGHT CONVERSATIONS WITH
WITH NANCY HUTON IN A MINUTE,
FIRST A LITTLE SETTUP FROM
THE ALMIGHTY.

Nancy stands behind a podium in a library and reads from her book.

Nancy reads WHY THIS PARTICULAR
STORY?
WHY THESE PEOPLE?
WHY THIS PLACE AND TIME?
THE FACT THAT I'VE READ MY
OWN WORK BACKWARD AND
FORWARD AND INCALCULABLE
NUMBER OF TIMES BY NO MEANS
IMPLIES I DON'T HAVE MY
FAVOURITE EPISODES, MY
PRIZED MOMENTS IN THE
HISTORY OF MAN KIND.
THE HUNDREDS YEAR WAR,
FOR EXAMPLE, THE DEATH
OF CLEOPATRA, THANKSGIVING
DINNER AT SEAN FARRELL,
CIRKA 2000, THERE IS NO
POINT LOOKING FOR REASONS.
ALL I CAN SAY IS A MULTITUDE
OF MINOR COINCIDENCES AND
UNEXPECTED UNDERCURRENTS IN
THE CONVERSATION MADE THIS
DINNER PARTY INTO A POEM,
SUDDENLY BEAUTY, SUDDENLY
DRAMA.
FLAMES OF FURRY, GALES OF
LAUGHTER.

The interview plays. Tina and Nancy sit in big armchairs in a living room. Nancy is in her fifties and she has shoulder length light brown hair. She wears earrings, a black scarf draped around her neck and a golden jacket with blue trousers.

Tina says THE PREMISE --
PREMISE OF THIS BOOK IS A
GREAT ONE, 12 FRIENDS OVER FOR
THANKSGIVING DINNER, WHY
THE DINNER PARTY AND WHY
THANKSGIVING.

The caption changes to “Nancy Huston. Dolce Agonia.”

Nancy says A DINNER PARTY I THINK
SIMPLY BECAUSE THAT'S OFTEN
A TIME WHEN I LOOK AROUND
THE TABLE AND I THINK ABOUT
HOW INCREDIBLY COMPLEX THE
SITUATION IS WHEREAS WE ARE
JUST HAVING A NORMAL
CONVERSATION.
BUT THERE ARE THESE HEADS
THAT CONTAIN HUGE AMOUNTS OF
INFORMATION AND EVERYBODY IS
PROCESSING THE WORDS
DIFFERENTLY AND ASSOCIATING
TO THEM DIFFERENTLY.
AND I JUST WANTED TO EXPLORE
SOME OF THAT WEALTH.
I THINK I CHOSE THANKSGIVING
BECAUSE IT'S A NONRELIGIOUS
FESTIVAL.
IT IS A PURELY PAGAN
FESTIVAL -- YOU KNOW,
CELEBRATION, HOLIDAY AND I
DIDN'T WANT IT TO BE
CONNECTED TO ANY PARTICULAR
RELIGEON.

Tina says SO NO CHRISTMAS,
BETTER NOT TO MAKE IT.

Nancy says NO ROSH HASHANAH.

Tina says STRAIGHT AHEAD, A
SECULAR DINNER.
WELL, GOD IS A CHARACTER HE IS
NOT ACTUALLY AT THE DINNER
PARTY OR SHE IS NOT ACTUALLY
AT THE DINNER PARTY BUT HE'S
VERY MUCH A PRESENCE.
AND WE FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS
TO EACH OF THE CHARACTERS
BECAUSE HE COMES IN AND SORT
OF GIVES US THEIR FINAL ACT,
TELLS US WHEN THEY COME TO
HIM.
WHAT WAS THE ATTRACTION OF
DOING THAT FOR YOU.

Nancy says WELL, THERE WAS THE
PROBLEM OF WHOSE POINT OF
VIEW I WAS GOING TO TELL THE
STORY FROM.
I WANTED TO BE ABLE TO DEAL
WITH THE ENTIRE RANGE OF
THEIR EXPERIENCES UP TO AND
INCLUDING THEIR DEATHS.
AND ONLY GOD COULD TALK
ABOUT THAT.
BECAUSE WHAT WAS REALLY
INTERESTING TO ME IS THE --
THIS QUESTION OF WHEN ARE WE
REALLY ALIVE, YOU KNOW.

Tina says WELL, SEAN RAISES
LET'S SAY THE MAIN
CHARACTER.

Nancy says THE HOST.

Tina says HE RAISES THIS
QUESTION, WHEN ARE WE
ACTUALLY LIVING OR WHEN ARE
WE KIND OF THINKING ABOUT
LIVING.

Nancy says INSTEAD OF GETTING READY
FOR IT AND IT'S TRUE THAT
WHEN YOU ARE A CHILD PEOPLE
ARE TELLING YOU LATER ON YOU
WILL HAVE WILL START YOUR
REAL LIFE AND SO ON.
THEN YOU GO TO COLLEGE AND
ARE YOU SORT OF -- YOUR
EXPECTATIONS ARE QUITE HIGH
FOR WHAT HAD HAPPEN WHEN YOU
GET OUT OF COLLEGE.
THEN AS SOON AS YOU GET OUT
OF COLLEGE YOU START MAKING
COMPRIMESES AND SAY THIS ISN'T
EXACTLY IT QUITE YET.
AND SO ON.
AND THEN AS TIME GOES ON YOU
REALIZE THAT THOSE
COMPROMISES ARE REALLY PART
OF WHAT THE REAL THING IS
GOING TO BE ABOUT.
AND IT'S NOT GOING TO
EVER -- A LOT OF PEOPLE
NEVER REALLY REALIZE IT HERE
AND NOW IS ALWAYS THE REAL
THING.
AND THE ONLY REAL THING.
AND THEN YOU START LOSING
YOUR MEMORY AND THEN YOU
START FADING OUT AND SO WHEN
IS THE TIME WHEN ARE YOU
SAYING WE ARE REALLY HERE.
AND IT WAS VERY MOVING TO ME
TO EXPLORE THAT 3ERD OF LIFE
AS YOU SAY, A NUMBER OF THEM
ARE MIDDLE-AGED, AND I THINK
IT'S A VERY MOVING PERIOD OF
LIFE PRECISELY BECAUSE YOU
REALIZE THAT A LOT OF YOUR
GOALS MAYBE ARE YOU NOT
GOING TO BE ABLE TO MEET
THEM.
YOUR PARENTS ARE STARTEN TO
WEAKEN AND DISAPPEAR.
YOUR CHILDREN ARE STARTING
TO GROW UP AND LEAVE HOME,
AND SO AROUND 50 A LOT OF
PEOPLE FIND THEMSELVES MUCH
MORE FRAGILE, MUCH MORE
VULNERABLE THAN THEY EVER
EXPECTED THEY WOULD BE AT
SUCH A RIPE AGE.

Tina says NO, IT IS EXACTLY
TRUE.
AND MOST OF THE CHARACTERS
HAVE EXPERIENCED SOME FORM
OF TRAGEDY.
THEY WOULD HAVE HAD FRIENDS
OR PARENTS OR LOVERS OR
SOMEBODY WHO WOULD HAVE
DIED.
SO YOU ARE RIGHT, IT IS A
TIME OF A REAL RECKONING.
GOD SAYS AT ONE POINT THAT
HE FINDS HUMANS VERY
ENDEARING BECAUSE ALTHOUGH
GOD HAS IT ALL PLANNED AND
KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT IS GOING
TO HAPPEN, HE SAYS HUMANS
JUST CAN'T HELP HANKERING
AFTER MEANING, YOU KNOW, AS
IF THEY HAVE, IN FACT, ANY
CONTROL OVER THEIR LIVES.
DO YOU THINK WE DON'T.
DO YOU THINK IT IS ALL
WRITTEN IN THE CARDS.

Nancy says NO, I WAS PLAYING AROUND
WITH THE IDEA AS GOD OF
AUTHOR OF ALL THINGS AND
THIS WHOLE QUESTION OF THE
FREEDOM OF OUR CHARACTERS,
OF COURSE.
BECAUSE --

Tina says WE THINK WE HAVE FREE
WILL, HE SAYS, THEY ARE SO
CHARMING, THEY THINK THEY
HAVE FREE WILL.

Nancy says THEY THINK THEY ARE
ENDOWED WITH AUTONOMY IT ME WHEREAS
I'M CONTROLLING THINGS FROM
UP HERE.
AND GOD ALSO VERY MUCH
ENJOYS THAT FEELING THAT
THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT THE
HUMAN RACE THAT MAKES THEM
UNPREDICTABLE.
AND WHAT IT IS, HE SURMISES,
IS LOVE.
AND HE SAYS YOU NEVER REALLY
CALCULATED THAT HE, HIMSELF
CANNOT LOVE BECAUSE HOW
COULD SOMEONE WHO IS
OMNIPOTENT HAVE THAT FEELING,
WHERE THAT FEELING COMES OUT
OF THE SENSE OF BEING
INCOMPLETE AND HAVING NEEDS
AND BEING IMPERFECT.
AND HE'S OF COURSE PERFECT
SO HE CAN'T REALLY LOVE.
AND HE'S RATHER JEALOUS OF
THIS CAPACITY OF HUMANS TO
REACH OUT TO EACH OTHER AND
HOLD EACH OTHER AND HELP
EACH OTHER, LOVE EACH OTHER.
AND THAT'S WHAT MAKES THEM
FREE IN HIS VIEW.

Nancy stands behind a podium in a library and reads from her book.

Nancy says WHAT A SPECIES.
AS I WATCH THEM LIVING OUT
THEIR DESTINIES UPON THE
EARTH I OFTEN GET CARRIED
AWAY ALMOST TO THE POINT OF
BELIEVING IN THEM.
YES THIS GIVE ME THE UNCANNY
IMPRESSION OF BEING ENDOWED
WITH AUTONOMY, FREE BOMB --
FREEDOM OF CHOICE, A WILL OF
THEIR OWN, I KNOW IT IS
PEERLY AN ILLUSION, A
PREPOSTEROUS NOTION, I'M THE
ONLY ONE WHO IS FREE.
EVERY TWIST AND TURN OF
THEIR FATES HAS BEEN DECIDED
ON IN ADVANCE.
I ALONE KNOW WHERE THEY ARE
HEADED AND WHAT PATHS THEY
WILL TAKE TO GET THERE.
I ALONE KNOW THEIR SECRET
HOPES AND FEARS, THEIR
GENETIC MAKEUPS, THE INNER
MOST WORKINGS OF THEIR
HEARTS.
AND YET -- AND YET THEY
NEVER CEASE TO AMAZE ME.

Tina says AT ONE POINT DURING
THE DINNER PARTY THE WOMEN
FIND THEMSELVES IN THE
KITCHEN, I THINK IT IS
BEFORE THEY SERVE DINNER,
THE WOMEN IN THE KITCHEN AND
THE MEN FIND THEM STEFS IN
THE LIVING ROOM, ONE OF THE
CHARACTERS OBSERVES, UH-HUH,
THIS IS THE WAY IT SHOULD BE
AND WE ONLY KID OURSELVES
AND WE PRETEND THAT WE WANT
IT ANY OTHER WAY.
THE POINT IS THERE IS
SOMETHING SO COMFORTING
ABOUT HAVING THE WORLD DIVIDE
YOU KNOW, THE WAY THAT
IT SHOULD BE.
IS THAT TRUE, A OLD OF
COMFORT IN THESE OLD CLICHES,
TRADITIONS.

Nancy says THERE S I NOTICE EVEN IN
MY OWN MILIEU WHICH IS VERY
PROGRESSIST, YOU KNOW, IT IS
TRUE THAT THE WOMEN STILL
TEND TO GET TOGETHER TO CHAT
IN THE KITCHEN WHILE THE MEN
ARE TALKING ABOUT SERIOUS
THINGS IN THE LIVING ROOM.

Tina says AND WE KNOW EXACTLY WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT.

Nancy says WE KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT. BUT
ANOTHER VERY FUN THING FOR
ME WRITING IT WAS PUTTING
MYSELF IN THE MIND OF A SORT
OF ORDINARY MACHO, I REALLY
ENJOYED THAT, LIKE SEAN.
SEAN IS FROM IRELAND AND
HE'S NEVER GOT ALONG WITH
THE POLITICALLY CORRECT
APPROACH TO MALE-FEMALE
RELATIONSHIPS IN THE UNITED
STATES.
HE JUST CAN'T STAND IT HE
LIVES IN AN AREA DENSELY
POPULATED WITH VIRULENT
FEMINISTS AND HE -- I
REALLY THOUGHT IT WAS FUN TO,
YOU KNOW, TO PUT MYSELF IN
HIS SKIN AND SEE HOW
ANNOYING WOMEN COULD ABOUT
BEING HELPFUL AND KIND AND
VIRTUOUS.

Tina says HE SAYS STOP – THERE IS A GREAT PART.

Nancy says STOP HELPING ME.

Tina says HE SAYS WOMEN HAVE THIS
TENDENCY TO GET RID OF
CREASES AND HE KEEPS SAYING
STOP IT, I LIKE MY CREASES.
I'M A CREASED GUY SO LEAVE
MY CREASES ALONE.

Nancy says SEAN CREASE FARRELL THAT’S MY
NAME.

Tina says I'M PROUD OF IT.
I'M INTERESTED IN HOW A
PERSON REINVENTS THEMSELVES,
YOU KNOW, MY OWN PARENTS DID
THIS WHO WERE IMMIGRANTS AND
CAME TO THIS COUNTRY AND
ESSENTIALLY HAD TO MAKE A
NEW LIFE FOR THEMSELVES.
AND I SUPPOSE YOU IN A WAY
HAVE DONE THAT, YOU LEFT
CANADA, WENT TO PARIS AT A
YOUNG AGE, WHAT 20 OR SO OR
19.

Nancy says UH-HUH.

Tina says AND HAD TO REINVENT
THEM SELVES.
HOW DO YOU DO THAT, HOW DOES
A PERSON TAKES ON A NEW LIFE.

Nancy says REINVENT IS A BIG WORD.
BUT THE ANSWER S OF COURSE,
YOU DO IT LITTLE BY LITTLE.
IT'S NOT SOMETHING THAT YOU
CAN DECIDE TO DO OVERNIGHT
AND ACHIEVE.
IN THE FIRST STAGE YOU ARE
TOTALLY IDENTIFY WITH
CULTURE, IF YOU'VE DECIDED
TO EMBRACE IT.
AND SO YOU ARE EUPHORIC AND
PROUD OF BEING ABLE TO SPEAK
THE LANGUAGE AND MASTER THE
COLDS AND GET ALONG FINE AND
YOU KNOW HOW EVERYTHING
WORKS AND UP VISIT ALL THE
TOURIST SITES AND YOU --
THEN YOU FEEL AS THOUGH YOU
HAVE BEEN BORN AGAIN AND ARE
YOU YOUR OWN PARENTS.
AND THAT LASTS MAYBE TEN
YEARS OR BETWEEN TEN AND 15
YEARS.
THIS IS A VERY COMMON
EXPERIENCE.
THEN THERE IS A SECOND PHASE
WHERE YOU ARE REPRESSED
MATERIAL COMES BACK IN YOUR
FACE.
AND THEN THERE IS A THIRD
PHASE THAT COMES AFTER THAT
WHICH MY HUSBAND CALLS,
BECAUSE HE'S ALSO AN
EX-PATRIOT, SERENE DESPAIRS.
WHERE ARE YOU SORT OF
REALIZE THAT YEAH, THAT IS
THE WAY IT IS, YOU WILL
ALWAYS BELONG TO BOTH AND
NEITHER COMPLETELY -- NEVER
COMPLETELY TO EITHER.

Tina says AND OFTEN MORE THAN
ONCE.I MEAN PEOPLE WILL OFTEN
CHANGE COUNTRIES MORE THEN TWICE NOW
AS WE'VE SEEN OFTEN,
ESPECIALLY WITH REFUGEES
COMING IN WHAT GO TO ONE
COUNTRY AND TO ANOTHER
COUNTRY.
I MEAN WHEN I LOOK AT MY
PARENTS AND THE WORK THEY
MUST HAVE, YOU KNOW, HOW
DIFFICULT PSYCHOLOGICALLY
THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN, I'M
STUNNED, YOU KNOW, AT THE
EASE OF MY OWN LIFE I GUESS
IS WHAT I'M SAYING, OUR OWN
LIVES LOOK SO EASY.

Nancy says IF YOU JUST SAY OKAY,
THAT DOOR IS CLOSED, AND I'M
GOING TO DO AS WELL AS I CAN
IN THIS NEW ROOM, IT IS
HEALTHIER THAN TRYING TO
STRADDLE THE TWO.
WHICH I REALLY DO, I MEAN I
THINK I KEEP THE -- THE
SPLIT ALIVE IN MYSELF
BECAUSE, AS I SAY, IT IS A
SOURCE OF STIMULATION FOR MY
WORK.
BUT IT IS ALSO A SOURCE OF
PAIN.
IT WOULD BE EASIER, MY
HUSBAND HAS COMPLETELY CUT
OFF HIS CONNECTIONS TO
BULGARIA.
BUT I REALLY CARE ABOUT
KEEPING BOTH LANGUAGES
PRESENT IN MY BRAIN AND BOTH
CULTURES AND CONSTANTLY
GOING BACK AND FORTH IN MY
OWN HEAD BETWEEN THEM.

Tina says NOW I CAN ASK YOU
ABOUT BEING BEAUTIFUL?
YOU WROTE AN ESSAY I THINK
OH PROBABLY SIX YEARS AGO IN
FOR HARPERS MAGAZINE ABOUT
WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO BE BOTH
BEAUTIFUL AND INTELLIGENT.
AND I WAS SO STRUCK BY THAT
BECAUSE MOST PEOPLE MIGHT
SAY THIS TO THEMSELVES IN
THE BATHROOM, BUT DON'T
REALLY EVER SAY OUTLOUD I'M
BEAUTIFUL AND INTELLIGENT.
SO I WONDER WHY YOU WROTE
THAT AND WHAT THE REACTION
WAS TO YOUR ARTICLE.

Nancy says I WROTE IT EIGHT YEARS
AGO.

Tina says OH, EIGHT YEARS AGO,
WHEN YOU WERE EVEN MORE
BEAUTIFUL AND INTELLIGENT.

Nancy says EXACTLY, I WROTE IT
BECAUSE I KNEW THAT MY
BEAUTY WAS GOING TO START
DECLINING FROM THEN ON AND
IT HAS AND IT WILL.
AND I WANTED TO BE SURE TO
THINK ABOUT IT AND TALK
ABOUT THE INFLUENCE THAT
BEAUTY HAD HAD ON MY LIFE
BEFORE I LOST IT.
I WROTE THE ARTICLE BECAUSE
I HAD JUST SPENT A SEMESTER
TEACHING AT HARVARD AND I
HAD BEEN APPALLED BY THE
ANESTITIZED
RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN MEN
AND WOMEN IN THE HALLWAYS OF
THE UNIVERSITY, IN THE
STREETS, IN THE STORES, IN
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION.
AND I THINK IT IS A TENDENCY
THAT IS GETTING -- THAT IS
GETTING EXACERBATED IN THE
UNITED STATES AND POSSIBLY
IN CANADA AS WELL OF BEING
SO CAREFUL NOT TO BE
SEXIST THAT YOU ACTUALLY
PRETEND THERE IS NO BODY,
THERE IS -- YOU HAVE NO
REACTION.
YOU DON'T SEE THE PERSON.
AND AMERICANS DO BEHAVE IN
FOREIGN COUNTRIES AS THOUGH
NOBODY SEES THEM.
THEY ARE THE ONLY PEOPLE
THAT GO AROUND, FOR EXAMPLE,
IN THE MIDDLE OF PARIS WITH
SHORT, YOU KNOW, GUYS, BIG
BEEFY THIGHS, HAIRY THIGHS
AND HUGE RUNNING SHOES AND
THEY THINK THAT THIS IS FINE
TO HANG OUT LIKE THIS IN THE
PARIS STREETS.
AND IT REALLY ISN'T FINE.
THERE ARE SUCH THINGS AS
CODES AND DRESS CODES, AND
BODY LANGUAGE AND BEHAVIOUR
THAT YOU SORT OF CONFORM TO.
AND SO THAT WAS WHY, AND I
JUST DECIDED I AM -- YOU ARE
BEAUTIFUL IS A SENTENCE THAT
HAD HEARD THOUSANDS OF TIME
IN MY LIFE.
AND THAT IT WAS VERY AMUSING
TO THINK THAT IT WAS TABOO
FOR ME TO SAY, OKAY, I
BELIEVE YOU.
YEAH, OKAY, I AM BEAUTIFUL
ITS A TABOO SENTENCE AND I LOVE TRANSGRESSING
TABOO .

Tina says YOU SEEM THOUGH TO
WEAR YOUR BEAUTY VERY
COMFORTABLY, AND MAYBE THIS
IS A PRODUCT OF LIVING IN
FRANCE, WHERE WOMEN, I THINK
ON THE WHOLE TAKE A GREATER
INTEREST IN AESTHETICS.

Nancy says BUT I SEND NO TIME ON MY
BEAUTY, AND I'M SO OF
RESIGNED TO IT'S
DISAPPEARING NOW, I REALLY
AM, I THINK.
BECAUSE I THINK, YOU KNOW,
15 TO 45 THAT IS A LONG
TIME.
I WAS FINE, FROM 15 TO 45,
NOW I'M GETTING ON TO 50,
I'M READY TO -- I'M READY TO
STOP PAYING ATTENTION TO
THAT I MEAN I HAPPEN TO HAVE
A GOOD GENE, YOU KNOW, THE
DICE TOSS WAS FINE AT BIRTH
AND THAT'S -- I DON'T SAY IT
IS A MERIT OR ANYTHING LIKE
THIS IT JUST WAS THE DICE
TOSS I GOT.
I THINK IN THE ARTICLE I
TALK ABOUT IT AS A HAND OF
CARD, THE HAND THAT YOU ARE
DEALT AT BIRTH.
AND THAT YOU CAN'T SAY --
YOU CAN'T PRETEND THAT
YOU PLAY YOUR HAND
DIFFERENTLY ACCORDING TO
WHAT YOU HAVE.
IF I HAD BEEN UGLY I WOULD HAVE
HAD TO YOU KNOW PLAY OTHER
CARDS AND BID IN A DIFFERENT
WAY ON MY HAND.

The book “Dulce Agonia” appears on a table.

Tina says DOLCE AGONIA BY
NANCY HUTON IS PUBLISHED BY
McARTHUR AND COMPANY.

A clip shows a book in a garden and in its centerfold writers typing on a typewriter.

Tina says UP NEXT, BUDDING
WRITERS BEWARE, THE WRITING
LIFE IS NO PICNIC.
AND LATER MEET CHIP KIDD,
COVER DESIGNER TURNED
PUBLISHED AUTHOR.

Tina says DO YOU HARBOUR A
SECRET DESIRE TO QUIT YOUR
DAY JOB AND BECOME A WRITER?
A LOT OF PEOPLE DO, BUT
BEFORE YOU SEND IN THAT
RESIGNATION LETTER HERE IS A
REALITY CHECK FROM SOME WITH
WE'VE MET THIS SEASON.

A screen shows books stacked up on the wording “Writers Advice to budding writers.” Then the following writers appear on screen in a hole surrounded by the outline of the sun.

The caption changes on screen. It reads “Dennis Bock.”

Dennis appears on screen. He is in his forties and has brown hair and a receding hairline. He wears a red shirt.

Dennis says ADVICE FOR PEOPLE WHO
WANT TO BECOME WRITERS, DO
IT BUT BE PREPARED NOT TO
MAKE ANY MONEY AND BE REALLY,
REALLY LONELY AND FRUSTRATED
FOR A LONG, LONG TIME.

The caption changes on screen. It reads “Lisa Scottline.”

Lisa appears on screen. in a hole surrounded by the outline of the sun. She is in her forties and has long blonde hair. She wears a black blazer and black blouse.

Lisa says JUST DO IT.
REALLY, IT'S JUST DO IT.
BECAUSE THE REAL TRUTH IS
THAT EVERYBODY WHO HAS
PUBLISHED NOW WAS
UNPUBLISHED AT ONE POINT.

The caption appears on screen. It reads “Robert. J. Sawyer.”

Robert appears on screen. He is in his forties and has short brown hair and is nearly balding. He has a brown goatee and wears a Hawaiian themed shirt.

Robert says DON'T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB.

The caption changes on screen. It reads “Robert Adams.”

Robert appears on screen. He is in his fifties and has a grey beard and grey hair and is partially balding. He wears a black shirt with a red, yellow, and blue printed tie.

Robert says IF YOU MUST WRITE THAN
YOU MUST WRITE, OF COURSE.
THEN IT BECOMES AN
IMPERATIVE BUT IF YOU CAN I
WOULD SAY THAT YOU WOULD DO
WELL TO GET A JOB THAT PAYS
THE RENT AND BUYS THE BREAD
AND BUTTER.

The caption changes on screen. It reads “Ridley Pearson.”

Ridley appears on screen. He is in his forties and has curly brown hair. He wears glasses, a black blazer and a blue shirt.

Ridley says IF YOU ARE DOING IT FOR A
CAREER CHANGE I WOULD
PROBABLY STICK ABOUT YOUR
CURRENT JOB BECAUSE YOU WILL
PROBABLY THINKING IN TERMS
OF DOLLARS.
AND THERE ARE NO DOLLARS IN
PUBLISHING.
I MEAN YOU KNOW WHEN A
COUPLE OF US BREAK OUT AND
GET LUCKY AND EARN THESE HUGE FIGURES
FOR WHAT WE DO TO WRITE
THESE BOOKS, IT'S A TINNY
PERCENT OF WRITERS,
SOMETHING LIKE ONE OR TWO
PERCENT OF ALL WRITERS.

The caption changes on screen. It reads “Rosemary Aubert.”

Rosemary is in her forties and she has blonde wavy hair that is half up and half down. She wears a black blouse and a necklace.

Rosemary says I THINK IF YOU ARE
PONDERING A CAREER CHANGE TO
BEING A WRITER, MY FIRST
REACTION IS YOU HAVE TO BE
CRAZY AND YOU SHOULD KEEP
YOUR DAY JOB.
BUT I THINK THE MAIN THING
YOU HAVE TO DO IS ASK
YOURSELF WHY.

The caption changes on screen. It reads “Ronald Wright.”

Ronald appears on screen. He is in his fifties and has grey hair and is slightly balding. He wears a black blazer and a red shirt.

Ronald says I SUPPOSE YOU SHOULD GIVE
IT FIVE YEARS, THAT WOULD BE
MY ADVICE.
I THINK IF YOU ARE NOT
PUBLISHED IN FIVE YEARS,
FROM WHEN YOU START
SERIOUSLY DOING IT, THEN
MAYBE YOU SHOULD BE DOING
SOMETHING ELSE.

The caption changes on screen. It reads “Peter Robinson.”

Peter appears on screen.

Peter says YOU REALLY HAVE TO PUT
YOUR BUM IN THE CHAIR AND
FINGERS ON THE KEYBOARD AND
WRITE.
AND A LOT OF PEOPLE WANT TO
BE WRITERS WITHOUT WRITING.
AND YOU CAN'T DO THAT.

The caption changes on screen. It reads “Oriah Mountain Dreamer.”

Oriah appears on screen. She is in her forties and has long blonde hair. She wears a turquoise sleeveless sweater with a turtleneck.

Oriah says THE BIGGEST ADVICE I GIVE
IS READ A LOT AND WRITE A
LOT, WRITE EVERYDAY EVEN IF
JUST FOR YOURSELF.
KEEP YOUR HAND MOVING.
KEEP WRITING.

The caption changes on screen. It reads “Pearl Luke.”

Pearl appears on screen. She is in her forties and has a pixie cut with brown hair. She wears a black blazer.

Pearl says ANYBODY WHO WANTS TO BE
WRITING SHOULD BE WRITING.
AND IT IS A VERY, VERY LONG
APPRENTICESHIP SO THE SOONER
THEY GET STARTED, THE
BETTER.

A clip shows different butterflies flapping its wings within a square outline and above the title of the show, “Imprint.”

Tina says OUR MAN GERALD LEC
WE A IS BACK WITH ANOTHER
STORY FROM THE BOOK WORLD,
HI, GERALD!

Gerald says

Tina says HELLO. WHAT YOU HAVE
GOT FOR US TODAY.

Gerald says WELL, THIS WEEK CHIP KIDD,
HE'S AN INTERNATIONALLY
RESPECTED BOOK COVER
DESIGNER, BEEN DESIGNING FOR
KNOPFF FOR 15 YEARS, ALL OF
MICHAEL CRICHTON’S BOOKS, EL
MORE LEONARD, HE DID PETER CAREY’S BOOK THAT ONE THE BOOK OF THIS YEAR.
AND HE HAS DECIDED TO WRITE HIS FIRST
NOVEL, HEAR IT IS “THE
CHEESE MONKEYS.”

Tina says NOW WHY WOULD HE LEAVE
SOMETHING HE DOES
EXTRAORDINARILY WELL FOR THE
VERY FRAUGHT EXERCISE OF
PUBLISHING A BOOK.

Gerald says I THINK HE WANTED TO SEE
IF HE COULD DO WITH WORDS
WHAT HE DOES WITH IMAGES AND
I THINK HE PULLED IT OFF
REALLY, REALLY WELL.

Tina says THE BOOK IS
ABOUT -- DOES IT TAKE PLACE
IN THE WORLD OF GRAPHIC
DESIGN.

Gerald says YES, ITS ABOUT HIS FIRST YEAR
STUDYING GRAPHIC DESIGN AT A
STATE UNIVERSITY, IT'S
HILARIOUS, IT'S FUNNY,
INSIGHTFUL.
AND IF YOU NEVER -- IF YOU
HAVE EVER THOUGHT ABOUT
GRAPHIC DESIGN YOU WILL
THINK ABOUT IT IN A WHOLE
NEW WAY AFTER READING THIS
BOOK.

Tina says OKAY, THATS A GOOD REVIEW
FROM OUR MAN, LETS MEET
CHIP KIDD NOW DESIGNER AND AUTHOR HERE ON
HIS FIRST BOOK TOUR TO
TORONTO.

Chipp's numerous book covers appear on screen.

The caption changes to “Chipp Kidd: The Cheese Monkeys.”

Chipp is in his forties and has short brown hair and wears sunglasses, a pageboy hat, a blue blazer and a white shirt.

Chipp says I STARTED DESIGNING BOOK
COVERS OFFICIALLY IN 1986.
MY VIEW IS THAT GRAPHIC
DESIGN CAN BE POWER
DEPENDING ON HOW IT IS USED
AND WHAT ITS USED FOR.
WE PERCEIVE THE WORLD
THROUGH IMAGES, LIKE NEVER
BEFORE.
ANYTHING ON THE WEB,
ANYTHING MAN-MADE HAS TO BE
FIGURED OUT BY PEOPLE.
A MORE INTENSE WAY THAN
EVER.
THE RECENT EVENTS, YOU KNOW,
EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD KNOWS
ABOUT THAT.
BUT NOT MANY PEOPLE WERE
ACTUALLY THERE, SO YOU ARE
EXPERIENCING IT THROUGH
ESSENTIALLY DESIGN.
AND CAMERA ANGLES AND
CROPPING AND REPETITION
AND --

Gerald says ALL ELEMENTS OF GRAPHIC
DESIGN.

Chipp says YES.
SO YOU KNOW, YOU KNOW, I
DON'T WANT TO GET TOO
TOPICAL TO CURRENT EVENTS
WITH IT, BUT THE WAY BIN
LADEN HAS BEEN PRESENTED TO
US EITHER BY CNN OR BY
HIMSELF, HE IS STANDING
THERE IN THAT LATEST FILM
WARRING A TIMEX WATCH.

A clip shows Bin Laden speaking in camouflage, wearing a Timex watch in a cave, with captions in Arabic.

Chipp continues NOW IF HE HATES AMERICA SO
MUCH, WHY IS HE WEARING A
TIMEEX WATCH?
SO THAT'S A DECISION THAT HE
EITHER MADE OR DIDN'T MAKE
BUT IT IS A POWERFUL GRAPHIC
IMAGE OF THIS WEIRD MIXED
MESSAGE, ULTIMATELY DESPITE
WHAT HE IS SAYING WITH.

Gerald says AND YOU SEE THAT THROUGH A
DESIGNERS' EYES.

Chipp says OH, YEAH, COMPLETELY.

Gerald says “THE CHEESE MONKEYS” IS A
STORY THAT DEALS WITH THE
TEACHING OF GRAPHIC DESIGN.
IN A SENSE YOU DID GO BACK
TO THE TERRAIN THAT YOU
KNOW.
WHAT DID YOU DISCOVER ALONG
THE WAY?

Chipp says WELL, I TRIED TO DISCOVER
HOW TO LEARN HOW TO WRITE.
BECAUSE IT'S SOMETHING I'VE
ALWAYS BEEN INTERESTED IN
AND IT'S FUNNY, GRAPHIC
DESIGN CAN EITHER HAVE A LOT
TO DO WITH WRITING OR NOT
VERY MUCH.
AND BUT THE DESIGNING BOOK
COVERS CERTAINLY HAS A LOT
TO DO WITH READING.
AND IF YOU LEARN HOW TO BE
AN ASTUTE READER I
THINK -- ASTUTE READER I
THINK IT WILL BECOME
REVEALED TO YOU IN TIME WHAT
IT MEANS TO BE AN ASTUTE
WRITER.

Gerald says YOU BEING A GRAPHIC
DESIGNER FOR SO MANY YEARS,
WHAT HESITATIONS DID YOU
HAVE GOING INTO THE WORLD
WHERE YOU ARE NOW GOING TO
BE JUDGED AS A WRITER, DO YOU
FEEL PEOPLE ARE RELUCTANT TO
SAY OH, HE CAN'T DO BOTH
THINGS WELL.

Chipp says WELL, FIRST OF ALL, WHO
KNOWS WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
BEHIND MY BACK.
CAN'T BE EVERYWHERE.
BUT YEAH, IT IS DEFINITELY A
SCARY PROSPECT.
SOMEBODY COULD EASILY JUST
SAY WELL, HE SHOULD STICK TO
DOING THE COVERS AND DON'T
BOTHER WITH THE TEXT.
YOU KNOW, I WORKED LONG AND
HARD ON IT TO TRY AND MAKE
IT INTO A WELL-WRITTEN
THING.
AND YOU KNOW, IF PEOPLE LIKE
IT FINE.
IF THEY DON'T THERE IS NOT
MUCH I CAN DO ABOUT IT.

Gerald says LET'S TALK ABOUT THIS
COVER.

Chipp says LOOK AT THE LADDY BUG.

Gerald says OH THERE SAY LADY BUG,
NOW THAT IS SOMETHING THAT
YOU WOULD APPRECIATE AS A
DESIGNER.

Chipp says DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH THAT
COST TO GET THAT LADY BUG ON
THERE.

Gerald says YOU KNOW WHAT, I HAVE
OFTEN THOUGHT ABOUT LADY
BUGS AS BEING BRILLIANTLY
DESIGNED.

Chipp says THEY ARE, THEY ARE.
IT IS UNUSUAL FOR SOMETHING
LIKE A BUG TO LOOK SO
SWEET AND BENIGN, EVEN UP
CLOSE.

Gerald says WELL SO, WE HAVE AN
UNINVITED GUEST TO THE COVER
OF YOUR BOOK.

Chipp says BLENDS IN BEAUTIFULLY.

Gerald says IT DOES BLEND IN, THE COLOURS, THE
WHOLE BIT.
BUT TALK ABOUT THIS, I SORT
OF WANT TO DEMONSTRATE THIS
COVER.

Gerald shows how the book cover has a removable sleeve.

Chipp says I WANTED TO DO SOMETHING
THAT I HADN'T DONE ON A BOOK
BEFORE WHICH AFTER 15 YEARS
IS GETTING HARDER AND HARDER
BUT IN THIS CASE IT WAS
DOING NOT A CONVENTIONAL
JACKET BUT A SORT OF
VERTICAL SLEEVE.
I HAD BEEN -- ONCE I HAD THE
TITLE DOWN AND EVERYBODY
APPROVED IT I HAD BEEN
FIGHTING THE IMPULSE TO DO
SOMETHING THAT WAS NOT
TYPOGRAPHICAL, THAT WAS
STRICTLY IMAGES.
AND FOR A WHILE I THOUGHT
LET'S JUST DO THIS AS THE
JACKET, PERIOD.
AND THEN I GOT COLD FEET.
AND THIS IS ALL PURELY MY
DECISION, NOT THE PUBLISHER
WAS REALLY GREAT ABOUT GOING
ALONG WITH WHATEVER I WANTED
TO DO AND FINALLY I DECIDED
IF THIS WAS DISPOSABLE,
BASICALLY, LIKE A CANDY
WRAPPER OR SOMETHING LIKE
THAT GAVE YOU A LITTLE
BIT OF INFORMATION ON THE
OTHER SIDE ABOUT IT, THAT
THAT WAS THE WAY TO GO.
AND THAT THE TITLE IS SO
WEIRD THAT TO JUST SORT OF
PRESENT IT IN A
STRAIGHTFORWARD MANNER
SEEMED TO BE ENOUGH.

Gerald says NOW I DON'T WANT TO GIVE
AWAY THE STORY SO I CAN'T
GIVE AWAY TOO MUCH.

Chipp says SURPRISED BY THE EDGE?

Gerald says YEA. BUT I THINK, I HOPE THAT I
HAVE ALREADY PLAYED WITH
THIS SO MUCH, I HAD FUN
PLAYING WITH YOUR BOOK AND
READING IT BUT WELL GO AHEAD-

[Laughter]

Chipp says THE IDEA IS THAT FIRST OF ALL I
THINK WHEN WE -- WHEN I WAS
IN HIGH SCHOOL, COLLEGE YOU
ALWAYS WRITE ON THE EDGES OF
YOUR BOOK.
WHAT YOU WRITE IS UP TO YOU.
IS WHEN IT IS CLOSED IT IS
REALLY KIND OF A MISHMASH.
AS YOU START TO READ IT YOU
WILL BEND THIS PART LIKE
THIS SO THE INITIAL MESSAGE
IS DO YOU SEE?
NOW AS YOU GO THROUGH IT,
YOU WILL IN ESSENCE PAGE BY
PAGE BE BUILDING ANOTHER
SLOGAN OVER HERE SO THAT
WHEN YOU GET TO THE END YOU
GET THE SLOGAN “GOOD IS DEAD.”

Gerald says NOW WE DON'T WANT TO SAY WHAT
GOOD IS DEAD MEANS.

Chipp says IT DOESN'T GIVE ANYTHING
AWAY BECAUSE IT IS ON THE
SPINE TOO.
AND THEY WILL FIGURE IT OUT.

Gerald says THE BOOK IS REALLY FUNNY.

Chipp says THANK YOU:.

Gerald says AND ARE YOU PROUD OF THAT,
TALK ABOUT THAT.

Chipp says UM I -- UM, I HAVE A LOT
OF GOALS THAT I WANTED TO
TO BE WRITING THIS.
BUT ONE OF THEM DEFINITELY
WAS THAT IF I DON'T MAKE IT
ENTERTAINING IT IS NOT GOING
TO BE AS MEMORABLE AND IT
MIGHT NOT EVEN BE READ.
I MEAN THIS IS A CULTURAL
THAT DOES WANT TO BE
ENTERTAINED.
I DON'T NECESSARILY THINK THATS A BAD THING AS
LONG AS IT’S NOT
ENTERTAINMENT FOR ITS OWN
SAKE.
AND I THINK NOT THAT I HAVE
LIKE YOU KNOW, A GREAT
MESSAGE THAT I WANT TO
IMPART TO THE WORLD BUT YOU
KNOW, IF IT GETS PEOPLE WHO
DIDN'T REALLY THINK ABOUT
DESIGN AND HOW IT IS MADE TO
START DOING THAT, YOU KNOW,
AND IF I GIVE THEM A LAUGH
AT THE SAME TIME IT'S WORTH
IT.

Tina says THE CHEESE MONKEYS “BY
CHIP KIDD IS PUBLISHED BY
SCRIBNER.
THAT IS OUR SHOW FOR THIS
WEEK.
THANKS FOR WATCHING.
TONIGHT'S LAST WORD GOES TO
WRITER AND AVID READER
ROBERT ADAMS,HE’S THE MONTREAL
TEACHER WHO PACKS HOUSES
WITH HIS LECTURES ABOUT
CONTEMPORARY NOVELS.
WE ASKED ADAMS IF TODAY'S
WRITERS GET THE RECOGNITION
THEY DESERVE.
HERE'S WHAT HE SAID.
GOOD NIGHT.

The caption changes to “Robert Adams: A Love of Reading.”

Robert says I THINK GEORGE LUCAS AN
STEPHEN SPIELBERG AND PEOPLE
LIKE THAT HAVE TAKEN OVER
WHERE WRITERS ONCE HELD SWAY,
THE SHAPERS OF OUR NATIONAL
CONVERSATION.
NO, I DON'T THINK WRITERS
GET THE RECOGNITION THAT
THEY DESERVE.
I DON'T INCLUDE MYSELF
BECAUSE I'M A CRITIC MUCH
MORE THAN I'M A WRITER.
BUT I THINK OUR FINE WRITERS
ARE NOT ADMIRED ENOUGH, NO.
I THINK THEY SHOULD BE
FOLLOWED BY CROWDS, ROSES
STREWN IN THEIR PATH BECAUSE
THEY HOLD THE MIRROR UP TO
US.
AND THEY INSPIRE OUR DREAMS
AND OUR IMAGINATION OR THEY
SHOULD.
NO, I SAY HAIL MORDECHAI
RICHALREADY AND ALICE MONEY
ROW AND ALICER McLEOD, THEY
DON'T GO RECOGNITION THEY
DESERVE

The end credits roll.

Special thanks to International Festival of Authors. Hart House Library.

“Imprint.” c/o TV Ontario P.O. Box 200 Station Q Toronto, On M4T 2T1.

Fax: (416) 484-2780

e-mail: imprint@tvo.org

website:
www.tvo.org/imprint

A production of TV Ontario. Copyright 2002, The Ontario Educational Communications Authority.

Watch: Imprint season 13 episode 15