Transcript: Imprint season 14 episode 19 | Feb 12, 2003

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 light gray blazer over a black blouse.

TINA says HELLO.
TONIGHT ON IMPRINT, LOVE IS IN THE AIR.

Piano music plays.
In animation, the title "Imprint" appears against a waving background in orange hues. A book cover shows a photo of the torso of a woman in a white blouse, lying on a bedcover.

Tina says THE ROMANTIC, BARBARA GOWDY
CELEBRATES THE MANY FACES OF LOVE.

A woman with straight blond hair pulled back and a fringe, in her fifties, wearing a dark red blouse, speaks for the camera

Barbara says I WANTED TO WRITE ABOUT,
YOU KNOW, PASSION AND ART AND
LOVE AND DIFFERENT KINDS OF
LOVE, SO SIMPLY BECAUSE I HAD
NOT DONE THAT.
I STARTED WRITING THIS AROUND
MY 50TH BIRTHDAY AND JUST HAD
PERSPECTIVE ON THAT SUBJECT.

Piano music plays.
In animation, the title "Imprint" appears against a waving background in orange hues. A book cover appears. Then photos show John Lennon and Yoko Ono, sitting together and then embracing.

Tina says "THE LIVES OF THE MUSE" IS A
BOOK ABOUT FAMOUS ARTISTS AND
THE WOMEN THAT INSPIRED THEM.

A dark-haired woman in her fifties wears a black coat over a white top.

Francine says THEY WERE ALL VERY
STRANGELY AMBITIOUS
CONSIDERING THEY WERE MUSES
AND A NUMBER OF THEM WERE SORT
OF OBSESSIVELY CONCERNED WITH
WHAT THEIR ARTISTS ATE.

A woman says IT WAS A GREAT BOOK.

Tina says AND THE GOOD WOMEN OF CHINA,
A BOOK THAT HAS THE RING OF
TRUTH TO CANADIAN WRITER JAN
WONG.

A yellow book cover appears. Chinese women wash clothes by a river bank. Then a woman carries two baskets on a pole on her shoulders in a Chinese street.

A woman in her fifties in red with straight dark hair down to her shoulders speaks for the camera.

Jan says I THINK A BOOK LIKE THIS,
THE GOOD WOMEN OF CHINA, REALLY
BRINGS HOME THE FACT THIS IS
AN ANCIENT CULTURE THAT STILL
HAS A VERY LONG WAY TO GO
BEFORE WOMEN BECOME PART OF
THE 21ST CENTURY.

Piano music plays.
In fast-clip animation, the title "Imprint" appears against a waving background in orange hues. The Imprint sun symbol and samples of modern art appear. A pair of speckled hands opens a blank book.

Tina says BARBARA GOWDY HAS MADE HER
NAME WRITING ABOUT THE
UNEXPECTED AND BIZARRE.
SHE'S GIVEN US STORIES ABOUT NECROPHILIACS, EXHIBITIONISTS AND
WOMEN WITH SPARE SEXUAL PARTS.

A red and blue book cover shows a cubist version of the upper part of a woman's body and her head.

Tina says IN HER NOMINATED NOVEL.
THE WHITE BONE EVEN INVENTED A
TRIBE OF TALKING ELEPHANTS BUT
THE LATEST BOOK, THE ROMANTIC
IS DIFFERENT.
IT READS LIKE AN OLD FASHIONED
LOVE STORY.
HERE WE MEET A YOUNG WOMAN
NAMED LOUISE THAT FALLS HEAD
OVER HEELS FOR THE BOY NEXT DOOR.
WHAT COULD BE MORE NORMAL
THAN THAT?

Blond Barbara sits facing Tina.

Tina says BARBARA, LOVELY TO SEE YOU.

Barbara says LOVELY TO SEE YOU.

A caption reads "Barbara Gowdy, The Romantic."

Tina says NOW IN THIS BOOK, THE
ROMANTIC, WHICH I THINK IS GREAT,
BY THE WAY,
PEOPLE SAY THAT YOU ARE
ABANDONING THE WEIRD AND
EMBRACING THE NORMAL.
CAN THIS BE TRUE?

Barbara says THAT COULD BE A LOGICAL
PERCEPTION BUT I ALWAYS FEEL
I'M DEALING WITH NORMAL.
AND I, I JUST THINK I DON'T
HAVE A FIX ON THE NORMAL. I
REALIZE THE SHORT STORIES ARE
A LITTLE ... AND TALKING ELEPHANTS
MIGHT BE NOT SO NORMAL BUT,
YOU KNOW, I JUST "WRITES IT AS
I SEES IT" AND I THINK I MAYBE
JUST REACHED AN AGE WHERE I'M
A LITTLE MORE SETTLED DOWN,
THAT COULD BE.

Tina says AND IN THIS BOOK YOU GIVE US
LOUISE, A PRETTY STRAIGHT AHEAD
AND IMMENSELY COMPLEX AND
INTERESTING WOMAN BUT, YOU KNOW, A PRETTY
STRAIGHT-AHEAD GIRL.
SO WHY -- WHAT COMPELLED YOU
TO TELL US THE STORY OF LOUISE?

Barbara says I HAD NEVER WRITTEN A LOVE
STORY, AND A NOVEL IN THE
FIRST PERSON WHICH IS HARD TO
DO, AND I WANTED TO WRITE ABOUT,
YOU KNOW, PASSION AND ART AND
LOVE AND DIFFERENT KINDS OF
LOVE, SO, SIMPLY BECAUSE I HAD
NOT DONE THAT, I -- I WAS
READY FOR IT.
I THINK -- I STARTED WRITING
THIS AROUND MY 50TH BIRTHDAY
AND I THINK I JUST HAD SOME
PERSPECTIVE ON THAT SUBJECT.

Tina says NOW SHE FALLS MADLY IN LOVE
WITH THE BOY NEXT DOOR, A BOY
CALLED ABEL, BUT BEFORE SHE
FALLS IN LOVE WITH HIM.
SHE FULLY FALLS IN LOVE WITH
HIS MOTHER.
AND PARTLY BECAUSE HER OWN
MOTHER HAS ABSCONDED, BUT TELL
ME ABOUT THAT RELATIONSHIP
BECAUSE IT'S BEAUTIFULY DONE.

Barbara says WELL, SHE'S ONLY NINE WHEN HER
MOTHER LEAVES AND SHE'S LONELY.
AND SHE, SHE HAS THIS HOLE IN
HER HEART, A MOTHER-SIZED HOLE
IN HER HEART THAT THIS
WONDERFUL GERMAN WOMAN ACROSS
THE STREET FILLS.
I THINK LITTLE GIRLS ESPECIALLY
DO FALL IN LOVE, YOU KNOW,
HAVE CRUSHES ON TEACHERS AND
CRUSHES ON EACH OTHER.
AND I WANTED TO NOT BE IRONICAL
ABOUT THAT.
I WANTED TO TREAT IT WITH THE
SERIOUSNESS THAT I THOUGHT IT
DESERVED.

Reading from the book, Barbara says
I FALL IN LOVE WITH
MS. RICHTER IMMEDIATELY AND
ABEL THE FOLLOWING SUMMER. I
KNOW HOW UNLIKELY THAT SOUNDS. A 10
YEAR-OLD GIRL FALLING IN LOVE AT
ALL, LET ALONE WITH A MIDDLE-AGED
WOMAN BUT TO SAY I BECAME INFATUATED
DOESN'T DESCRIBE THE GRAVITY AND
VOLUPTUOUSNESS OF MY FEELINGS.
I TRAIL AFTER HER TO THE
GROCERY STORE AND TOUCH THE
GRAPEFRUITS SHE HAS FONDLED.
I GAZE AT HER FLANNEL NIGHTGOWN
BILLOWING ON THE CLOTHESLINE AND AM
UPLIFTED AS IF BY MUSIC.
I WRITE LETTERS ADVERTISING MY
AVAILABILITY AND
QUALIFICATIONS AS A DAUGHTER.

Tina says THEN SHE FALLS FOR ABEL, WHO
IS THE CONSUMING PASSION OF HER LIFE.
AND WHEN YOU LOOK AT ABEL, YOU
KNOW, YOU THINK, YES HE'S A
COMPELLING GUY, BUT HE DOESN'T

- HE COMES WITH MANY, MANY PROBLEMS.
I MEAN, WHAT IS IT ABOUT HIM?

Barbara says, WELL, IT TURNS OUT HE'S A DRINKER,
SHE DOESN'T KNOW THAT AS A GIRL.
AND LOOK AT ALL OF THE GUYS THAT
ANYBODY I HAVE EVER KNOWN
FALLS IN LOVE WITH ... THEY'RE NOT
PERFECT AND YOU OFTEN SEE A
GREAT WOMAN, AND ASK WHAT IS SHE DOING
WITH HIM?
BUT ABEL IS VERY HANDSOME.
HE'S VERY SMART.
HE'S VERY RAPTUROUS ABOUT THE
NATURAL WORLD.
AND HE'S A MUSICIAN, AND HE'S
DEEPLY, DEEPLY KIND.
AND ONCE, ONCE SHE'S FOCUSED
HER LASER ON HIM, YOU KNOW,
HE'S IT.
I THINK THAT, VERY GENERALLY
SPEAKING, BUT GIRLS AND WOMEN
CAN DO THAT. YOU KNOW, "YOU AND
EVERYBODY ELSE GET OUT OF MY
WAY." WHEREAS MEN MAYBE HAVE A
MORE SCATTER-GUN APPROACH, OR
OLDER, TOO.
AND I MYSELF HAVE BEEN, I
GUESS A SERIAL MONOGAMIST.
IN A RELATIONSHIP FOR 13 YEARS
AND INTEND TO STAY IN IT, BUT I HAD
NEVER LOVED ANYONE FOR THE
BETTER PART OF MY LIFE, AND SHE
FALLS IN LOVE WITH HIM WHEN
SHE'S NINE UNTIL, WE KNOW, VERY
EARLY ON HE DIES AT 27, AND SHE
TRIES BUT THERE CAN BE NOBODY ELSE.

Barbara reads from the book and says ABEL DIED ON MY 26TH BIRTHDAY,
DRANK HIMSELF TO DEATH
EVERYONE SAYS, AND SO DO I
SOMETIMES, IT'S JUST SIMPLER.
PEOPLE KNOW WHAT YOU ARE
TELLING THEM, HE KILLED
HIMSELF, BUT HE DID IT SLOWLY
AND INDIRECTLY, MAYBE EVEN
UNINTENTIONALLY.
THEY UNDERSTAND THAT THERE'S
PROBABLY A LOT MORE TO THE
STORY THAN YOU WANT TO GET INTO.

Tina says PEOPLE SAY THAT YOU ARE A
PERFECTIONIST.

Barbara says WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?

Tina says YOU KNOW, PEOPLE, PEOPLE,
PEOPLE IN THE PRESS.
I WAS READING A GREAT STORY
ABOUT YOU AND YOUR PIANO
PLAYING. DID YOU PLAY THE
PIANO FOR SEVERAL YEARS
AND THEN QUIT LIKE THAT.

Barbara says OH, FOR MANY YEARS.

Tina says WHY WAS THAT?

Barbara says I WASN'T VERY GOOD.
TO SPARE MYSELF AND THE WORLD.
I COULD HAVE PROBABLY BEEN A
MEDIOCRE TEACHER OR
SOMEBODY PLAYING IN A PIANO
BAR THAT YOU WISH WOULD SHUT UP.
I HAVE VERY HIGH ASPIRATIONS, AND WHEN I
REALIZED I PLAYED BETWEEN FIVE
AND 8 HOURS A DAY FROM 1973 TO
1981, 23 TO 31.
AND BEFORE THAT, I HADN'T
PLAYED MUCH.
I HAD A GOOD EAR AND I EXTEMPORIZED, BUT I
HAD NO FORMAL TRAINING AND I
SUDDENLY DECIDED, YOU KNOW, "I AM GOING TO
BE A CONCERT PIANIST."
WELL, THE AMBITION WAS CRAZY, AND SO WAS MY
PRACTICING SCHEDULE, AND I
THINK IT RUINED MY FIRST MARRIAGE.
BUT I THOUGHT, YOU KNOW, "WHERE
THERE IS A WILL" -- AND I WAS WRONG.
WHERE THERE IS A WILL, THERE
ISN'T ALWAYS A WAY.

Tina says NOW, YOU ALSO
TOOK A SECURITIES TRAINING
COURSE. YOU COULD HAVE BEEN A
STOCKBROKER?

Barbara says I TOOK THE SECURITY COURSE
AND DID RATHER WELL, SO I HAD
THIS IDEA THAT I WOULD EARN A
LOT OF MONEY AS A WHEELER-DEALER
AND STUDY PIANO ON THE SIDE.
AND, BELIEVE ME, WORKING EIGHT
HOURS A DAY AND THEN
PRACTICING EIGHT HOURS A
DAY, I DON'T KNOW HOW I HAD
TIME TO DO ANYTHING, BUT I DID, AND IN
THOSE DAYS, YOU KNOW, I LOOKED
DOWN FROM MY AGE, I WAS 21 AND
LOOKED A LOT YOUNGER, AND THERE WAS NO
WAY THEY WERE GOING TO LET ME
TRADE, NOBODY WOULD HAVE
TRADED WITH ME ANYWAY.
SO I BECAME KIND OF A
GLORIFIED SECRETARY.

Tina says SO, INTERESTING WHEN YOU LOOK
AT YOUR RESUME REALLY, YOU
KNOW, COULD HAVE BEEN
STOCKBROKER, POSSIBLE CONCERT PIANIST.
WHEN DID THIS DESIRE THEN TO
WRITE COME TO YOU, OR HAD IT
ALWAYS BEEN THERE?

Barbara says NO. YOU KNOW, BELIEVE ME, THE
OTHER POSSIBILITIES WEREN'T POSSIBILITIES.
I WAS DRIVEN, DRIVEN TO THIS.
I WAS AN EDITOR FOR A WHILE, AND
I WAS REWRITING THE NONFICTION,
INVENTING CHARACTERS, YOU KNOW,
WHICH YOU DON'T DO IN NONFICTION.
I WANTED TO DO SOMETHING CREATIVE.
IT WAS MUCH ADMIRED IN MY
FAMILY IF YOU DID ANYTHING
CREATIVE, ESPECIALLY BY MY FATHER.
SO, I THOUGHT "MAYBE I'LL
TRY WRITING." AND FRANKLY, IT'S THE
ONLY THING THAT WORKED.

Tina says ARE YOU OBSESSIVE ABOUT
YOUR WRITING. THE KIND OF
PERFECTIONISM YOU BRING TO THE OTHER
PURSUITS IN YOUR LIFE, ARE YOU
LIKE THAT?

Barbara says YES, VERY MUCH SO.
AND IT IS A GOOD THING I LIVE ALONE.
I THINK I WOULD DRIVE ANYONE CRAZY.
AND I ALWAYS PLANNED TO BE I
MOTHER AND IT'S TOO LATE NOW AND I'M NOT.
I THINK JUSTICE WILL FOR THE
POOR CHILD BECAUSE I DON'T KNOW HOW I
WOULD TEAR MYSELF AWAY AND IT
DOESN'T MATTER TO ME IF I SIT
THERE LOOKING AT A SENTENCE
FOR FIVE HOURS, AND THAT'S WHAT
I THINK THE SENTENCE REQUIRES.
AND I HOPE IT DOESN'T SHOW.

Tina says YOU HAVE SAID ABOUT
YOURSELF, I THINK THAT YOU ARE
A VOYEUR.

Barbara says I AM.
NOT A SEXUAL VOYEUR.
IN FACT, NOT AT ALL.
IF I SEE PEOPLE HAVING SEX ON
TV, I SWITCH THE CHANNEL.
THAT DOESN'T GET ME. I AM A VOYEUR
ABOUT PEOPLE'S LIVES AND THEIR
HEARTS AND HOUSES AND WHERE
THEY HANG THEIR PICTURES AND
WHAT COLOR THEIR RUGS ARE AND
THAT KIND OF THING.
I THINK IT IS BECAUSE I AM SO
AMAZED THAT WE ALL MANAGE
I DON'T THINK IT'S SO EASY TO
EARN A LIVING AND HAVE A
RELATIONSHIP AND BE A
MOTHER OR BE A CHILD AND YOU
KNOW, HOW PEOPLE CAN DO IT, I FIND
IT INCREDIBLY TOUCHING.
AND I SUPPOSE I ROMANTICIZE IT.

Tina says THE BOOK STARTS WITH LOUISE
THINKING ABOUT THE PAST
AND ENDS WITH THE SENTENCE
THAT IS, "NOT THAT WE FORGET."
AND OF COURSE MEMORY IS A
FACTOR IN SO MANY WORKS OF
LITERATURE, BUT, I AM
WONDERING WHAT YOUR TAKE IS ON
ESPECIALLY CHILDHOOD MEMORY
AND HOW IMPORTANT THAT IS TO A
WORK LIKE THIS.

Barbara says WELL MEMORY, THE IDEA AND THE
DILEMMA OF MEMORY IS ALL
THROUGH THIS BOOK AND
CERTAINLY I STARTED THINKING
ABOUT IT A LOT WHEN I WROTE
ABOUT ELEPHANTS, BECAUSE THEY
REALLY DO HAVE MEMORIES,
THEY DON'T.
EVERYONE WHO WORKS WITH THEM
AND EVEN STUDY THEIR BRAIN
AND THEIR BIG TEMPORAL LOBES, THE
SCIENTISTS HAVE CONCLUDED THAT THEY
PROBABLY DON'T FORGET. AND WHAT
WOULD THAT MEAN ... NEVER TO FORGET?
WHAT WE DO, ODDLY THOUGH, WE
BELIEVE THAT WE REMEMBER, BUT
WE KNOW WE FORGET AND, WHO WE
ARE IS COMPLETELY DEPENDENT ON
OUR MEMORIES OF OURSELVES, HOW
WE DEFINE OURSELVES, OUR
LITTLE STORIES ABOUT OURSELVES,
GIVEN THAT THAT IS A
COMPLETELY UNRELIABLE METER,
YOU KNOW, I WONDER IF WE KNOW
WHO WE ARE?
I CONSTANTLY NEED TO BE TOLD
BY PEOPLE AROUND ME WHO I AM.
THAT'S PROBABLY ENORMOUS
INSECURITY, BUT ALSO, I AM
RATHER UNCERTAIN AND I COME
FROM A FAMILY, CLOSE FAMILY
AND CLOSE SISTERS AND BROTHERS
AND WE TALK A LOT, AND OUR
MEMORIES OF OUR PAST OFTEN
HAPPENS WITH THE MEMORIES OF
THE FAMILIES, COMPLETELY DIVERGENT.

Tina says YES, WE EACH HAVE DIFFERENT
MOTHERS AND FATHERS IF YOU ASK SIBLINGS.

Barbara agrees and says I ALSO WONDER HOW WE, HOW
WE THINK OF THE DEAD, YOU KNOW,
MY FATHER DIED SIX YEARS AGO.
IT WAS A BIG LOSS TO ME, TO
ANYONE THAT KNEW HIM, BUT TO ME.
AND I, I OFTEN WONDER IF I AM
REMEMBERING THE RIGHT MAN IN
MY MEMORIES AND WHETHER IT MATTERS.
AND HOW MUCH OF GETTING OVER
SOMEBODY THAT'S LOST OR DEAD
HAS TO DO WITH EXPUNGING YOUR
MEMORY, OR ON THE CONTRARY, YOU
KNOW, FILIGREEING YOUR MEMORY,
TARTING IT UP,
SO, SO THAT'S BEEN IN THE FRONT
OF MY MIND.

Tina says THIS IS A WONDERFUL BOOK.
IT WAS A GREAT READ.

Barbara says THANK YOU.

Tina says THE ROMANTIC, BY BARBARA GOWDY,
IS PUBLISHED BY HARPER FLAMINGO, CANADA.

(Lively music plays)
A stone sculpture of a reclining woman with a small head is seen in close-up. An orange box with the Imprint sun logo on the cover opens its lid to reveal a screen. A clip shows different book covers.

Tina says UP NEXT, THE LIVES OF THE
MUSES, A BOOK ABOUT FAMOUS
ARTISTS AND THE WOMEN THAT
FUELED THEIR IMAGINATIONS.
AND LATER, THE GOOD WOMEN OF CHINA.
A CHILLING PORTRAIT OF LIFE IN
COMMUNIST CHINA.
BEHIND EVERY GREAT MAN,
THEY SAY, IS A WOMAN, AND THAT
SEEMS ESPECIALLY TRUE IN THE
ART WORLD, WHERE WOULD JOHN
LENNON WOULD V BEEN WITHOUT YOKO
ONO? JAMES JOYCE WITHOUT NORA?
AND WOULD WE EVER HAVE HAD ALICE IN
WONDERLAND IF LEWIS CARROLL HADN'T MET
THE LITTLE GIRL NEXT DOOR.
IN THE LIVES OF THE MUSES, FRANCINE PROSE TAKES A
CLOSE LOOK AT NINE WOMEN AND
THE ARTISTS THEY INSPIRED.

Dark-haired Francine speaks for the camera. A caption reads "Francine Prose, The Lives of the Muses."

Francine says I BEGAN TO WRITE THE BOOK
BECAUSE I WAS CURIOUS ABOUT
WOMEN WHO WE KNOW WERE FAMOUS AS
MUSES THAT BECAME FAMOUS FOR
INSPIRING ARTISTS.
AND I REALIZED THAT WE KNEW IN
MANY CASES VERY LITTLE ABOUT
THEM AND I WANTED TO KNOW MORE
AND TO KIND OF RESCUE AND RESURRECT THESE
SHADOWED, HIDDEN
LIVES THAT WERE LED IN THE
SHADOW OF GREAT ARTISTS.

(Gentle classical music plays)
Beside a sculpture of a woman in a yellow and blue gown, a caption reads "MUSE ... a source of inspiration, a guiding light. Any of the nine sister goddesses in Greek mythology presiding over song, poetry and the arts and sciences."

Francine says WHEN I STARTED WRITING THE
BOOK, I THOUGHT I HAD A
DEFINITION OF THE WORD MUSE. I
THOUGHT IT WAS GOING TO BE A
WOMAN WHO INSPIRED IN AN
ARTIST IN SOME WAY. BUT AS I
BEGAN TO WRITE ON IT, IN THE
BOOK, I BEGAN TO NOTICE THAT
EVEN THOUGH THE WOMEN HAD
CERTAIN THINGS IN COMMON,
ACTUALLY, EACH STORY WAS SO
DIFFERENT FROM EVERY OTHER
STORY THAT IT BECAME HEARDER
AND HARDER.

A black and white photo shows a little girl wearing a wreath of holly leaves. A caption reads "Alice Liddell, Muse to Lewis Carroll."

Francine says WHAT THEY TURN OUT TO HAVE IN
COMMON IS THAT THEY WERE ALL
BEAUTIFUL, THEY WERE ALL VERY DRIVEN.

As Francine talks, other photos are captioned "Gala Dali, Muse to Salvador Dali, Lee Miller, Muse to Man Ray, Yoko ONo, Muse to John Lennon."

Francine continues THEY WERE ALL VERY STRANGELY
AMBITIOUS CONSIDERING THEY
WERE MUSES.
AND A NUMBER OF THEM WERE
OBSESSIVELY CONCERNED WITH
WHAT THEIR ARTISTS ATE.

A framed sculpture in relief hangs on a wall. Francine reads from a book.

Francine reads and continues NURTURE AND DIET.
UNDERSTANDING AND MIRROR.
THESE ATTRIBUTES ARE THE NEWS,
THE FAMILIAR ROLES THAT WOMEN
HAVE BEEN EXPECTED AND OBLIGED TO PLAY.
JUST AS THEY ARE ASPECTS OF A
SENSUALIST MALE-FEMALE
BEHAVIOR. AND YET NONE OF THESE
MUSES WAS A TRADITIONAL WOMAN,
ASSUMING SUCH A CREATURE EXISTS.
EVERY ONE OF THEM WAS
EXTRAORDINARY EITHER FOR WHO SHE WAS
OR WHAT SHE DID, OR FOR THE
UNIQUE AND HEROIC QUALITIES
WITH WHICH THE ARTIST ENDOWED HER.

(music plays)
Twin photos show Carroll and Liddell. A caption reads "Writer-photographer Lewis Carroll met his neighbour Alice Liddell in 1862. She was the inspiration behind Alice in Wonderland."

Talking to Tina, Francine says
SHE WAS 11 AND LEWIS CARROLL WAS
31 WHEN HER MOTHER ENLDED THE
RELATIONSHIP, FOR REASONS THAT
HAVE NEVER BECOME CLEAR. SHE
WAS THE MODEL FOR REALLY HIS
GREATEST PHOTOGRAPHS AND
THERE'S THAT ASTONISHING "THE
BEGGAR CHILD" PHOTOGRAPH IN
WHICH SHE'S, I THINK SHE'S 8
DURING THAT PHOTOGRAPH AND
SHE'S, YOU KNOW, WITH HAND OUTSTRETCHED
AND THE LITTLE DRESS
PULLED OVER HER SHOULDER AND
IT IS REALLY AN AMAZING
PHOTOGRAPH. YOU KNOW, THEY
HAVE THE PHOTOGRAPH IN THE NEW
YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY.
THEY HAVE THE ORIGINAL
PRESENTATION COPY THAT LEWIS
CAROL MADE TO GIVE ALICE.

(music plays)
Twin photos show Dali and Gala. A caption reads "Surrealist artist Salvador Dali met Gala in 1929. She became his muse, declaring "My little boy, we shall never leave each other."

Francine continues THE WAY THAT GALA AND
SALVADOR MET.
SALVADOR HAD MET HER HUSBAND AND HE WAS
DEALING SALVADOR'S ART. HE WAS
BEGINNING TO SELL IT. BUT HE
WAS A LITTLE WORRIED BECAUSE SALVADOR
WAS OBVIOUSLY SO CRAZY. (Famous crosseyed "cat's whiskers" photo) AND HE
WAS WORRIED THAT, YOU KNOW,
THE RICH ARISTOCRAT, SELLING
THE WORK MIGHT BE TURNED OFF
BY DALI'S SHRIEKING HYSTERICAL
INSANITY. SO GALA WAS KIND OF
DISPATCHED TO GO ON THIS DATE WITH SALVADOR
AND FIND OUT IF HE WAS REALLY
SO CRAZY AS HE SEEMED AND WHAT
SHE FOUND OUT WAS THAT, IN
FACT, HE WAS MUCH, MUCH
CRAZIER THAN HE SEEMED, AND
SHE REALIZED THAT IF HIS
CRAZINESS COULD UPSET THE
SURREALISTS WHO WAS SO OPEN AND LIBERATED
AND SO FREE, IT WOULD UPSET
THEM SO MUCH, IMAGINE WHAT IT
WOULD DO TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC
AND SHE KNEW THAT IF THE SURREALISTS
WERE ALL TALKING AND
GOSSIPING ABOUT SALVADOR, THE REST OF THE
WORLD WOULD AND SHE, SHE GOT
IT THAT THIS WAS THE TIME WHEN
ARTIST WOULD BE GETTING TO BE
COMMODIFIED AND PUBLICITY WAS A
GREAT HELP AND SHE KNEW SHE COULD
GET HIM A LOT OF PUBLICITY BY
MARKETING THE MOUSTACHE AND THE
WEIRDNESS AND THE KINKS SO
THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED.

A photo shows Lee Miller and Man Ray. A caption reads "Lee Miller and photographer Man Ray were together only 3 years, from 1929 to 1932. She remained his greatest inspiration."

Francine continues MAN RAY DID SOME OF THE
GREATEST PAINTINGS AFTER LEE
MILLER LEFT HIM.
IN FACT, THEY WORKED TOGETHER.
THEY WERE COLLABORATORS AND
SHE LEARNED A LOT ABOUT
PHOTOGRAPHY FROM HIM.

He appears in different photos, one with a bare torso holding a pistol to his head.

Francine continues AND THE ATTRIBUTION OF SOME OF THE
PHOTOGRAPHS IS STILL UNCLEAR
BECAUSE THEY DID WORK TOGETHER
AND MAN RAY TURNED HIS
PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS, HIS
PORTRAIT BUSINESS OVER TO LEE
MILLER BECAUSE HE THOUGHT IT
WAS BORING.
SO MANY OF THE PHOTOGRAPHS FOR
WHICH MAN RAY IS CREDITED WERE
ACTUALLY --

(Beatle music plays)
A photo shows John playing a guitar with Yoko beside him. A caption reads "John Lennon and Yoko Ono met in 1966 and stayed together until his death in 1980. John called Yoko his "soulmate, his double, his love, his female half ... me in drag."

Francine continues THE SMARTER MUSES WERE INTUITIVE
THAT THE ARTIST REALLY DOESN'T LIKE COMPETITION THAT MUCH,
AND WERE VERY CAREFUL TO STAY OUT OF THE ARTIST'S WAY.
YOU KNOW, THAT WAS A MAJOR
ISSUE FOR JOHN AND YOKO -- COMPETITION.

A photo shows them standing naked and turning to look at the camera. Another shows them wrapped in towels.

Francine continues AND THAT REALLY WAS WHY I
WANTED TO TELL THAT STORY.
YOKO WAS THE POST-FEMINIST
MUSE AND SHE AND JOHN WERE
ARGUING ALL THROUGH THEIR
LIVES TOGETHER AND AFTER THEIR
LIVES TOGETHER ABOUT WHICH ONE
WAS THE MUSE AND WHICH ONE WAS
THE ARTIST.
THE INSPIRATION IS SO MYSTERIOUS.
IT'S SO HARD TO FIND OUT WHERE
SOMETHING COMES FROM AND EVEN
FOR THE ARTIST HERSELF OR
HIMSELF, YOU KNOW, THE PROCESS
HAPPENS, YOU WRITE A NOVEL,
YOU PAINT A PICTURE AND YOU
YOURSELF CAN'T IMAGINE HOW YOU
GOT THAT IDEA.
PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS SAYING,
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR IDEAS?
WHERE DOES IT COME FROM. THERE'S NO
EXPLANATION.
IT REALLY SEEMS TO COME FROM
THE BLUE. SO CONSEQUENTLY, YOU
KNOW -- THE GREEKS OF COURSE
BELIEVED IT HAD TO BE DIVINE
INTERVENTION. NINE GODDESS FLY
IN THE WINDOW AND GIVE YOU
YOUR IDEAS.
ONCE WE STOPPED BELIEVING IN
THE GODDESSES AND THE GODS, WE
BEGAN TO LOOK AROUND FOR
SOMETHING ELSE TO INSPIRE AND
WE THOUGHT, THE ARTIST MUST BE
IN LOVE, THAT'S WHAT IT IS ABOUT.
SO LOVE BECAME THE OBVIOUS MUSE
AFTER THAT.

The book cover appears.

Tina says THE LIVES OF THE MUSES.
BY FRANCINE PROSE IS PUBLISHED BY HARPER
FLAMINGO CANADA.
AND WHAT FUELS THE IMAGINATION
OF TODAY'S WRITERS? WE ASKED
SEVERAL AUTHORS ABOUT THEIR MUSE.

Against an orange background, authors appear inside an Imprint sun symbol. A caption reads "Do you have a muse?"
(Lively music plays)

Long-haired Camilla Gibb, in her thirties, says I HAD A MUSE AS I WAS
GEARING UP TO WRITE THE FIRST
BOOK, IT WAS ACTUALLY MY SHRINK.

Bearded Will Ferguson in his thirties, says HE'S A HAGGARD OLD GUY,
DRINKS A LOT, SMOKES
A LOT, BASICALLY MY PUBLISHER.

African-Canadian Cecil Foster says AND THEY TELL ME MY MUSE
MUST BE SOME BLACK WOMAN WHO
COMES AND SITS OVER MY SHOULDER
AND THEN SOME ELDERLY OLD
BLACK WOMAN BECAUSE I'M TOLD
THAT I WRITE GOOD FEMALE CHARACTERS.

Edo Van Belkom, in his forties with a padlock beard, says
THE BELIEF THAT WRITERS
HAVE MUSES, THAT THEY TALK TO
AND GET INSPIRATION FROM IS CRAP.

White-haired and moustached Eric McCormack in his sixties says
I'M NOT A RELIGIOUS PERSON
IN A WAY, BUT I OFTEN FEEL THERE
MUST BE SOMETHING IN THERE
DRIVING A PERSON TO DO THIS.

Maxine Hong Kingston, with white hair and Oriental features in her seventies, says WELL, MY MOTHER WAS ALMOST
DICTATING THE STORIES TO ME
BUT SHE'S GONE NOW, SO I JUST
HAVE THE GENERIC MUSES.

Daniel Mason, with curly brown hair in his thirties, says
I THINK FOR THIS BOOK, MY
GRANDMOTHER, FOR MUCH OF THE
BOOK WAS A MUSE.
SHE HAS THIS INCREDIBLE "EYE FOR
THE WORLD."

Lauren B. Davis, with long blond hair in her fifties, says
I THINK YOUR LIFE BECOMES
YOUR OWN MUSE.
I THINK WHAT YOU SEE AROUND
YOU BECOMES A MUSE, I THINK
GETTING QUIET AND GIVING
YOURSELF ROOM TO WRITE IS A MUSE OF
A SORT.

Samrat Upadhyay, dark-haired in his forties, says
I DO BELIEVE THAT THERE ARE
A NUMBER OF SPIRITS THAT ARE
GUIDING ME AND THESE SPIRITS
DON'T HAVE ANY CONCRETE FORMS.

Wayne Johnston, blond in his fifties, says MUSES ARE SOMETHING THAT,
YOU KNOW, YOU SORT OF CALL
UPON IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT AND
MY EXPERIENCE IS THAT IF
MUSES ARE WOMEN, THEY DON'T
WANT TO BE CALLED UPON IN THE
DEAD OF THE NIGHT. (Laughter) SO, I CHOSE
ONE WHO IS MYTHICAL.

The Imprint logo appears over a clip of butterflies flapping their wings inside a cubist framework.

Tina says IT HAPPENS TO WRITERS ALL
OF THE TIME.
THEY ARE ASKED TO READ A BOOK
BY A FELLOW AUTHOR THEN
WRITE A CATCHY ENDORSEMENT FOR
THE BACK COVER.
THOSE RECOMMENDATIONS ARE
CALLED BLURBS. HERE WE HAVE
"THE GOOD WOMEN OF CHINA" BY EXPAT
CHINESE JOURNALIST XINRAN.
CANADA'S JAN WONG BLURBED THIS BOOK AND
THIS IS WHAT SHE WROTE.

Tina reads and says XINRAN HAS WRITTEN THE FIRST REALISTIC
IPORTRAYAL OF WOMEN IN CHINA.
READ IT AND WEEP.
WHEN XINRAN CAME TO TORONTO THE TWO WRITERS
MET AND SHARED STORIES OF WOMEN'S
LIVES IN MODERN CHINA.

(Chinese flute music plays)
Through a frame of tree trunks, flowers and a placid lake appear with green hills in the background. The camera shows people engaged in rural tasks, hoeing, washing clothes by the river and leading goats.

Jan's voice says WHEN I READ THE GOOD WOMEN OF CHINA.
I WAS REALLY SHOCKED.
I WAS VERY SURPRISED BECAUSE
THE STORIES THAT SHE TOLD WERE
SO VIVID AND SO COMPELLING AND SO SAD.
AND I REALLY FELT SHE HAD MADE
A REAL CONTRIBUTION TO THE
LITERATURE ABOUT CHINESE WOMEN.

Jan appears, wearing red, in her fifties, with straight dark hair to her shoulders. A caption reads "Jan Wong, Writer-Journalist."

Jan says WHEN I STARTED READING IT, I
COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN.
SO, I READ THROUGH IT AND THEN
I FELT I COULD WRITE A LITTLE
BLURB. I DON'T LIKE TO WRITE
IT UNLESS I MEAN IT.
AND I KNOW SOMETIMES AUTHORS
JUST, YOU KNOW, BLURB TO DEATH
EVERYTHING.
BUT I DON'T USUALLY BLURB
THINGS AND IN THIS CASE I
THOUGHT IT WAS A REALLY WORTHY BOOK.

Xinran comes in holding her book and shakes hands with Jan.

Xinran says OH, HELLO!

Jan says HI.
NICE TO MEET YOU.

Xinran says NICE TO MEET YOU.
THANK YOU FOR THE (points) -- ON THE BACK.

Jan says OH, YOU'RE WELCOME.
IT WAS A GREAT BOOK.

Sitting with Xinran, Jan says WHAT I FOUND INTERESTING IN
YOUR BOOK IS THAT MANY OF THE
STORIES SEEM TO COME FROM
THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO ... THAT
YOU CAN HARDLY BELIEVE THAT IT
IS HAPPENING IN MODERN CHINA.
IT SEEMS THAT THE STORIES
ABOUT THE WOMEN WHO ARE SHARED
BY BROTHERS, THAT SEEMS TO BE
SUCH A FEUDAL AND ANCIENT PRACTICE.

Xinran, seen in close-up, has short curly black hair and is in her forties. A caption reads "Xinran, The Good Women of China."

Xinran says BECAUSE CHINA IS HUGE, AS
YOU KNOW, WE HAVE 56 DIFFERENT
KINDS OF PEOPLE, DIFFERENT KINDS
OF PRONUNCIATION.
SO IN THE EAST PART OF CHINA,
WHICH IS VERY RICH AND DEVELOPED.
IF YOU WORK IN THE BIG CITY,
YOU COULDN'T FEEL WHAT THE BIG
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN, YOU KNOW,
THERE AND HERE IN THIS COUNTRY.
BUT IF YOU WALK OVER JUST PAST
THE MIDDLE --

Jan says CENTRAL CHINA.

Xinran says AND TO THE WEST, YOU FEEL
LIKE WALKING IN HISTORY.

Jan says I KNOW.

Xinran says THEY ARE LIVING LIKE 500
YEARS AGO.
OR A THOUSAND YEARS AGO.

In off, Jan says SHE'S TOLD STORIES ABOUT
INCEST, RAPE, GANG RAPE, AND
SOMETIMES THESE STORIES DO
APPEAR IN THE CHINESE PRESS
BUT NOT IN THE DETAIL THAT SHE
GAVE. SO SHE, TALKED ABOUT
THIS GIRL WHO WAS THE VICTIM
OF INCEST, WHO WAS BEING RAPED
BY HER FATHER OVER AND OVER
AND THE MOTHER WAS NOT GOING
TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT AND
NOBODY WANTED TO TO TALK ABOUT
IT BECAUSE, I MEAN, IN THE
WEST, INCEST IS A BIG ENOUGH
TABOO, BUT IN CHINA, WHERE
PEOPLE REALLY DON'T LIKE TO
TALK ABOUT ANY KIND OF SEX IN
PUBLIC, YOU KNOW, INCEST IS
COMPLETELY "BEYOND THE PALE."
IT GOES AGAINST THE WHOLE
FAMILY STRUCTURE, SO NOBODY
WANTS TO TALK ABOUT IT.

Xinran says I WAS A BROADCASTER BETWEEN
1989 TO 1997 DURING THE 8
YEARS, I READ, READ THEIR LETTERS
AND ANSWERED THEIR TELEPHONE CALLS
AND WENT TO LOTS OF COUNTRYSIDES IN DIFFERENT CITIES AS WELL,
SO I GOT THE STORIES.

Jan says SHE HAD A RADIO SHOW, WOMEN
STARTED CALLING, SHE GOT THE
LOTS OF LETTERS AND SHE WOULD
TELL THEIR STORIES.
SO IT WAS SORT OF A SNOWBALL EFFECT.
WHEN SHE STARTED BROADCASTING
THEIR STORIES AND MORE PEOPLE
WOULD COME TO HER, AND SHE WAS
ALSO QUITE ADVENTUROUS.
SHE WOULD BE DETERMINED TO GET
HER EDITORS TO LET HER REPORT
ON CERTAIN STORIES TO LET HER
TRAVEL TO CERTAIN REGIONS, SO
SHE WAS VERY DETERMINED.

Xinran says ACTUALLY, I DID RESEARCH IN
1995, ONE DAY I SENT MY
QUESTION TO THE AIR, I ASKED A
CHINESE MAN, I SAID, "COULD YOU
TELL ME HOW MANY GOOD WOMEN
HAVE YOU MET IN YOUR LIFE?"
THREE WEEKS LATER, I GOT
THOUSANDS OF LETTERS, 90
PERCENT, 99 PERCENT, THAT THEY
TOLD ME THEY NEVER HAD A GOOD
WOMAN IN THEIR LIFE.
THEN THEY GAVE ME THE "STANDARD
OF THE GOOD WOMAN."
AND I WAS VERY, VERY SHOCKED.
AND THE TIMES BROUGHT CHINA TO TODAY,
BUT TRADITION KEEPS PEOPLE'S MINDS
IN THE PAST.

A black and white photo shows a group of Chinese women standing in front of a pagoda. Chinese cadets march, led by drummers.

Jan says I THINK WOMEN ARE TREATED
POORLY IN DHIN CHINA BECAUSE
CHINA HAS NOT SHAKEN OFF THE
THOUSANDS OF YEARS OF FEUDALISM
WHICH CREATED CHINESE CULTURE.
CHAIRMAN MAO TRIED DURING THE
"CULTURAL REVOLUTION" TO
OVERTHROW THE FEUDAL SYSTEM.
BUT IT IS REALLY HARD TO
CHANGE PEOPLE'S VALUES AND
BEHAVIOR IN A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME.
SO WHAT YOU SEE IN CHINA
TODAY IS REALLY ALMOST A
MEDIAEVAL APPROACH TO WOMEN.
IT'S AS IF WE IN THE WEST
NEVER WENT THROUGH THE
INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION AND WE
WERE STILL IN THE DARK AGES
AND WOMEN WERE STILL BEING
TREATED LIKE CHATTELS.
THAT'S WHERE CHINA IS TODAY.
SO IT'S QUITE A SHOCK TO GO THERE
AND SEE THE COMPUTERS, THE
INTERNET, THE CELL PHONES, THE
MINI SKIRTS, THE OPENNESS AND
AT THE SAME TIME PEOPLE HAVE
THIS RESIDUAL ATTITUDE TOWARD WOMEN.
PEOPLE DON'T WANT FEMALE
BABIES, WOMEN WHO HAVE GIRLS
AND DON'T BEAR A SON ARE
CONSIDERED A FAILURE.
BUT I'M TALKING ABOUT RURAL CHINA.
THE CITIES HAVE MODERNIZED AND
THINKING HAS SLOWLY EVOLVED AND
BECOME MORE MODERN, MEANING
THAT WOMEN ARE MORE EQUAL IN
THE CITIES.

Xinran says AND I HOPE PEOPLE, AFTER READING THE
BOOK AND UNDERSTANDING WHERE THE
CHINESE WOMEN COME FROM.
AND THEY STILL TRYING TO AND
THEY'RE STILL GIVING AND
LAUGHING SO PLEASE NOTICE THE
WOMAN NEXT TO YOU IF SHE'S
CHINESE, JUST ASK HER OR GIVE
HER A HUG AND WORDS AND WARM.

Jan says I THINK A BOOK LIKE THIS,
"THE GOOD WOMEN OF CHINA," REALLY
BRINGS HOME THE FACT THAT THIS
IS AN ANCIENT CULTURE THAT
STILL HAS A VERY LONG WAY TO
GO BEFORE WOMEN BECOME PART OF
THE 21ST CENTURY.

A woman carries two heavy baskets balanced on a pole on her shoulders.

Tina says THE GOOD WOMEN OF CHINA
BY XINRAN IS PUBLISHED BY RANDOM HOUSE, CANADA.
AND THAT'S IT FOR IMPRINT THIS WEEK.
I AM TINA SREBOTNJAK, THANKS FOR WATCHING AND GOOD NIGHT.

Theme music plays as the end credits roll.

Special Thanks to Solo Restaurant, Lai Wan Heen at the Metropolitan Hotel, Paul Boisvert.

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 2003, The Ontario Educational Communications Authority.

Watch: Imprint season 14 episode 19