The Word This Week
5-18
(Theme plays: Driving rock music)
♪
Kim: ON THE WORD THIS WEEK: THE BRILLIANCE OF V FOR VENDETTA.
Man: I SUDDENLY HAD THIS FEELING THAT EVERYTHING WAS CONNECTED. WE'RE ALL A
PART OF IT.
Kim: FLYING DOWN TO AFRICA WITH SCOTT GRIFFIN.
Scott: YOU HAVE TO HIT THE AZORES, WHICH ARE VERY SMALL ISLANDS IN THE MIDDLE
OF THE ATLANTIC. SO THERE'S A FAIR AMOUNT OF TENSION, A LOT OF ADRENALINE.
♪
Kim: AND JAY McINERNEY'S NEW YORK.
Jay: I THINK THAT EXTREMELY AMBITIOUS PEOPLE IN MANY DIFFERENT FIELDS ARE
DRAWN TO NEW YORK, AND AS A RESULT IT BECOMES, TO SOME EXTENT, THE CENTRE OF
THE WORLD. THERE IS A SORT OF FIERCE DARWINIAN SOCIAL ORDER IN NEW YORK WHICH
CAN BE VERY UNFORGIVING.
♪
[ Caption: The Word This Week ]
[ Caption: Kim Clarke Champniss ]
Kim: HELLO THERE, AND WELCOME TO THE SHOW. I'M KIM CLARKE CHAMPNISS. I HAD
THE WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE RECENTLY OF GOING TO THE MOVIES WITH MY 15-YEAROLD SON. THAT IN ITSELF WAS KIND OF GOOD, BUT AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT, WE ENDED
UP AT A RESTRICTED MOVIE, V FOR VENDETTA. WE DIDN'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT IT, BUT
YOU KNOW WHAT? NOT ONLY WAS IT A GREAT MOVIE, BUT ITS THEMES RESONATED
BEAUTIFULLY WITH BOTH OF US, PARTICULARLY A 15-YEAR-OLD.
IT WAS LIKE READING GEORGE ORWELL'S 1984 FOR THE FIRST TIME: BIG BROTHER,
FASCISM, WORLD OF IDEAS. AND THEN WE BOTH DISCOVERED THAT IT CAME FROM A
GRAPHIC NOVEL, V FOR VENDETTA. HERE'S A LOOK.
(Rhythmic instrumental music)
♪
[ Caption: V for Vendetta courtesy of Warner Bros. ]
Man: THOSE CAUGHT IN VIOLATION OF CURFEW WILL BE PROSECUTED WITHOUT
LENIENCY OR EXCEPTION.
(Resounding bang)
Man 2: IT'S PAST CURFEW, YOU KNOW.
(Resounding bang)
Woman: (Shouts) HELP ME!
[ Caption: Joel Silver - Producer, V for Vendetta ]
Joel: THE ORIGINAL COMIC BOOK WAS A POLITICAL THRILLER. I MEAN, BUT IT WAS A
COMIC BOOK WITH A SUPERHERO. I MEAN, V IS A SUPERHERO. HE'S AN ABHORRENT
SUPERHERO, BUT HE IS A SUPERHERO.
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V: PEOPLE SHOULD NOT BE AFRAID OF THEIR GOVERNMENTS.
(Resounding bang)
V: GOVERNMENTS SHOULD BE AFRAID OF THEIR PEOPLE.
(Metallic clang)
(Explosions)
(Fireworks whistling)
[ Caption: Hugo Weaving - Actor, V for Vendetta ]
Hugo: HE'S A VERY COMPLEX CHARACTER. HE IS A HUMAN BEING BUT HE ALSO
ULTIMATELY REPRESENTS CERTAIN IDEAS THAT ARE AT THE HEART OF THE FILM.
Man: (Whimpering) HAVE MERCY.
V: OH, NOT TONIGHT.
(Whoosh)
[ Caption: Natalie Portman - Actor, V for Vendetta ]
Natalie: HUGO IS IN A MASK THE WHOLE MOVIE OBVIOUSLY, THAT DOESN'T MOVE, THAT
DOESN'T COME OFF. AND FOR ACTORS, WE RELY SO MUCH ON OUR FACES, ESPECIALLY IN
FILM BECAUSE THE CAMERA IS, LIKE, RIGHT HERE, THAT NOT TO HAVE THAT AS A TOOL IS
SO, I WOULD THINK, LIMITING. AND FOR HIM IT JUST SEEMED TO, LIKE, RELEASE THIS
CREATIVE ENERGY WITH THE WAY HE COULD USE HIS BODY AND HIS VOICE TO EXPRESS
THE CHARACTER.
V: DISDAINING FORTUNE WITH HIS BRANDISHED STEEL WHICH SPOKE WITH BLOODY
EXECUTION.
Man: YOU'RE A FIGMENT, PAL.
(Whoosh and clanging)
(Thud and groan)
Hugo: THERE'S ONLY SO MUCH THAT YOU CAN GET FROM THIS. SO YOU NEED TO CONVEY
A LOT THROUGH THE VOICE AS WELL. BUT THERE ARE SMALL MOVEMENTS THAT YOU CAN
USE WITH THIS SOMETIMES THAT WORK VERY WELL. SMALL, LITTLE FLUID MOVEMENTS
SOMEHOW KEEP IT-- GIVE IT A LIFE THAT IT MAY NOT OTHERWISE HAVE. IF I LOOK LIKE
THIS, THE MASK LOOKS LIKES IT'S LOOKING LIKE THAT.
[ Caption: James McTeigue - Director, V for Vendetta ]
James: IT'S VERY SORT OF COMPLEX, THE STORY OF V FOR VENDETTA, BECAUSE ON ONE
HAND, YOU HAVE THE LEAD CHARACTER WHO IS VERY ALTRUISTIC AND THINKS HE CAN
BRING ABOUT GREAT CHANGE, YOU KNOW, WITHIN THE GOVERNMENT. ON THE OTHER
HAND, HE HAS THIS MURDEROUS VENDETTA ABOUT EVERYONE WHO'S EVER DONE
ANYTHING WRONG TO HIM.
Man: KILL HIM.
(Rapid gunfire)
(Metallic clang)
V: MY TURN.
(Whooshing)
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Natalie: YOU KNOW, USUALLY WITH ACTION FILMS BASED ON CARTOONS OR, YOU KNOW,
GRAPHIC NOVELS, YOU DON'T REALLY GET THE SENSE OF THOUGHT BEHIND IT THAT YOU
FIND IN THIS SCRIPT. AND SO I READ IT AND I WAS JUST SO EXCITED BY IT.
Man: ERIC FINCH?
Man: YEAH.
♪
Man: BLOODY HELL!
James: HOPEFULLY, YOU KNOW, PEOPLE WILL WALK OUT AND, YOU KNOW, THEY'LL HAVE
SEEN IT AS A PIECE OF ENTERTAINMENT THAT THEY MIGHT ALSO ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT,
YOU KNOW, WHAT WAS IN THE FILM OR IT WILL PROMOTE A DISCUSSION WITH THEIR
FRIENDS.
Man: GENTLEMEN, I WANT THIS TERRORIST FOUND, AND I WANT HIM TO UNDERSTAND WHAT
TERROR REALLY IS.
Joel: IT IS AN ACTION FILM AND IT DOES HAVE A LOT OF ACTION ELEMENTS, BUT IT ISN'T A
PURE ACTION FILM. THERE'S A LOT OF IDEAS THAT TAKE IT ABOVE THAT. BUT WHAT WE
LEARNED WHEN WE MADE THE MATRIX IS THAT PEOPLE ARE NOT LOOKING JUST FOR
ACTION. I MEAN, THEY WANT MORE. THEY WANT SOMETHING MORE. THEY WANT IDEAS.
Man: I SUDDENLY HAD THIS FEELING THAT EVERYTHING WAS CONNECTED. WE'RE ALL A
PART OF IT.
(Dramatic crescendo)
(Explosions)
Man: ARE WE READY FOR IT?
(Metallic clang)
♪
Kim: THEY SAY THAT SUCCESS IS, IN FACT, THE BEST REVENGE. A PERFECT EXAMPLE IS
"RELENTLESS AARON." AFTER SPENDING SEVEN YEARS IN PRISON FOR FRAUD, HE TURNED
THAT EXPERIENCE INTO A SIX-FIGURE PUBLISHING DEAL WITH ST. MARTIN'S PRESS. WE
CAUGHT UP WITH HIM IN NEW YORK CITY.
(Frenetic techno music)
♪
(Sirens wailing)
♪
Aaron: HOW YOU DOING? THESE ARE THE BOOKS I WROTE. NICE TO MEET YOU. I'M
RELENTLESS AARON. WHEN I FIRST STARTED I PRINTED 50 BOOKS AND IT WAS THIS BOOK,
PUSH. AND I GOT RID OF THEM RIGHT AWAY. I THINK IT WAS A DAY OR TWO, THEY WERE
GONE. I WENT TO THE STREETS AND I HAD A BACKPACK AND I WENT UP TO PEOPLE. AND
GOING UP TO PEOPLE, I ENJOY AT THIS POINT OF MY LIFE BECAUSE, I MEAN, REMEMBER, I
WAS LOCKED AWAY FOR SEVEN YEARS, SO THAT'S KIND OF THERAPEUTIC.
[ Caption: Monique Patterson - Senior Editor, St. Martin's Press ]
Monique: WE AT ST. MARTIN'S PRESS SIGNED RELENTLESS AARON BECAUSE WE THINK
THAT THIS GUY IS BESTSELLER MATERIAL. HE'S LIKE A DRIVING FORCE. HE SEES THIS AS
A BUSINESS. HE'S GOT THE PERSONALITY THAT ALLOWS HIM TO PUT HIMSELF OUT THERE.
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WE WANTED THE BEST AND WE WANTED THE HOTTEST. SO RELENTLESS WAS, LIKE, JUST
OBVIOUS.
♪
[ Caption: Relentless Aaron - Author ]
Aaron: I WROTE THIS (Laughs) TO SHOW PEOPLE HOW I BECAME A BEST-SELLING AUTHOR.
BUT I WOULDN'T WISH THIS ON MY WORST ENEMY (Laughs) 'CAUSE IT WAS A STRUGGLE. I
THINK WHAT MAKES A WRITER IS HIS LEVEL OF AWARENESS. AND I THINK WHAT MAKES A
PERSON'S LEVEL OF AWARENESS IS THEIR LEVEL OF EXPERIENCE. AND SO I'VE
EXPERIENCED SOMETHING LIKE NINE LIVES. (Laughs)
EVERYTHING FROM THE EXPERIENCE WHEN I WAS YOUNGER, TO THE MARINES, TO
HEARTACHE, AND ALSO BEING STRIPPED OF MY FREEDOM. AND TO THE PRISON-- THE
SEVEN- YEAR PRISON STRETCH AND THE THREATS AND THE VIOLENCE IN THERE. I WOULD
NOT GIVE IT UP FOR THE WORLD BECAUSE THAT'S ALL SERVED TO CREATED THIS TEFLON
THAT YOU KIND OF NEED IN LIFE. AND IF YOU DON'T HAVE THIS TEFLON, LIFE WILL
SWALLOW YOU UP.
THIS IS ABOUT A THUG NAMED "PUSH" FROM HARLEM WHO BECOMES A REAL ESTATE
DEVELOPER. IT'S A VERY GRITTY HARLEM STORY. YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS ONE. THIS ONE'S
ABOUT A WOMAN WHO'S A SERIAL KILLER. SHE'S GOT ISSUES WITH MEN.
Monique: IT'S JUST, LIKE, EXPLODED. STREET LIT, HIP HOP FICTION, UM, URBAN FICTION.
YOU KNOW, THERE'S A BUNCH OF NAMES OUT THERE FOR IT. TRICK OF THE GAME WAS
THE FIRST ONE, BY TERI WOODS, THEN YOU HAD B-MORE CAREFUL BY SHANNON HOLMES,
AND THEN LET THAT BE THE REASON BY VICKIE STRINGER. AND HIS WAS, YOU KNOW, ONE
OF THOSE BOOKS.
Aaron: THEY'RE INCREDIBLE BOOKS. AND I DON'T SAY THAT JUST TO BE --YOU KNOW, JUST
TO BE SELLING THE SIZZLE. THEY'RE INCREDIBLE BOOKS BECAUSE I FOCUSED ON
MASTERING MY CRAFT. AND I WAS ALWAYS TAUGHT THAT THE MORE YOU MASTER YOUR
CRAFT THE BETTER YOU BECOME AT SOMETHING. AND I HAD SEVEN YEARS TO BE THE
BEST AT WRITING BOOKS.
♪
Kim: COMING UP: FLYING DOWN TO AFRICA.
Scott: YOU'RE RELYING ON INSTRUMENTS, AND AT A CERTAIN POINT THERE'S NO
RETURNING BECAUSE YOU DON'T HAVE ENOUGH FUEL.
(Theme plays: Funky techno music)
[ Caption: The Word This Week ]
[ BREAK ]
(Theme plays: Funky techno music)
[ Caption: The Word This Week ]
[ Caption: Kim Clarke Chapniss ]
Kim: SCOTT GRIFFIN IS A WELL-KNOWN MAN OF LETTERS. HE FOUNDED HOUSE OF ANANSI
PRESS, PLUS THE PRESTIGIOUS GRIFFIN POETRY PRIZE. WHAT'S NOT SO WELL KNOWN IS
THAT SCOTT TOOK TWO YEARS OFF, FLYING HIS OWN PLANE, EMBARKING FROM TORONTO
ISLAND AIRPORT, AND HE FLEW IT DOWN TO AFRICA TO VOLUNTEER FOR THE FLYING
DOCTORS. THE RESULT NOT ONLY CHANGED HIS LIFE, BUT HE ALSO WROTE A BOOK, MY
HEART IS AFRICA.
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The Word This Week
5-18
(Upbeat jazz music)
♪
[ Caption: Scott Griffin - Author, My Heart Is Africa ]
Scott: IT'S IMPORTANT, I THINK, TO CHANGE ONE'S CAREER A NUMBER OF TIMES AND, IF
POSSIBLE, TAKE A RISK. WE LIVE IN A SOCIETY THAT IS SO RISK-AVERSE. AND IF YOU TAKE
A RISK I THINK IT'S INFINITELY REWARDING TO YOU.
(Soft vocalizing)
Scott: (Reading): "I STARTED THINKING ABOUT AFRICA AND WHAT I COULD DO THERE,
SOMETHING WORTHWHILE AND ADVENTUROUS. I HAD VISITED AFRICA ONCE AND I
ALWAYS SAID THAT I WOULD RETURN.
(Percussive drumming)
(Lively world beat music)
Scott: I CAME ACROSS AMREF, AFRICAN MEDICAL AND RESEARCH FOUNDATION. THEY
NEEDED SOMEONE TO HELP REORGANIZE THEIR FLYING DOCTORS SERVICE DIVISION.
THEY THOUGHT I COULD DO IT. I THOUGHT IT WAS IMPORTANT. I TOLD THEM I WOULD FLY
MY SINGLE ENGINE CESSNA 180 FROM TORONTO TO NAIROBI. THEY WERE CONCERNED...
AND THEY HAD EVERY RIGHT TO BE."
(Engine buzzing)
Scott: FLYING ACROSS THE ATLANTIC, FIRST OF ALL, YOU'RE BOUND TO GET INTO ALL
KINDS OF DIFFERENT WEATHER. SO, FIRST OF ALL, FLYING THROUGH DIFFICULT WEATHER
WHERE YOU CAN'T SEE YOUR WING TIPS. YOU'RE RELYING ON INSTRUMENTS. AND AT A
CERTAIN POINT, THERE'S NO RETURNING BECAUSE YOU DON'T HAVE ENOUGH FUEL.
(Engine buzzing)
Scott: YOU HAVE TO HIT THE AZORES, WHICH ARE VERY SMALL ISLANDS IN THE MIDDLE
OF THE ATLANTIC. SO THERE'S A FAIR AMOUNT OF TENSION, A LOT OF ADRENALINE.
(Unclear radio communication)
Man: (On radio) GANDER, GANDER, THIS IS CHARLIE FOXTROT, WHISKY, MIKE, UNION. DO YOU
READ?
Scott: TO HAVE A PLANE IN AFRICA, FLYING AROUND AFRICA IS VERY SPECIAL BECAUSE
WE GOT INTO ALL KINDS OF PLACES THAT YOU WOULD NEVER GET TO IF YOU DIDN'T HAVE
A SMALL PLANE. I ALWAYS WAS INTERESTED IN AFRICA AND, OF COURSE, FLYING HAD
BECOME PART OF MY LIFE, SO THE TWO SEEMED TO COME TOGETHER. AND TO LEAVE
BUSINESS AND DO SOMETHING FOR TWO YEARS THAT WAS ADVENTURESOME SEEMED TO
FIT WITH THE FLYING DOCTORS.
(Percussive world beat music)
Scott: MEDICINE IN AFRICA IS VERY DIFFICULT BECAUSE PEOPLE CAN'T EITHER GET TO
HOSPITALS AND DOCTORS CAN'T GET TO THE OUTREACH CLINICS THAT ARE ALL OVER IN
THE OUTLYING AREAS. AND SO PLANES ARE THE ANSWER. YOU HAVE TO LEARN, REALLY,
HOW TO FLY. THIS IS REAL, REAL FLYING.
♪
Scott: THE GREAT THING ABOUT AFRICA IS THE CHARACTERS THAT ARE THERE: YOUR
MECHANIC, TO PILOTS, TO NURSES, WHO DO INCREDIBLE WORK WHERE THEY LITERALLY
ARE DOING THE WORK THAT DOCTORS WOULD DO IN OUTREACH CLINICS. AND IT'S ALL-IT'S QUITE INSPIRING REALLY.
5
The Word This Week
5-18
(Engine buzzing)
Kim: WELL, FROM THE MALE POINT OF VIEW TO THE FEMALE POINT OF VIEW. ALICE
MUNRO IS ONE OF CANADA'S LITERARY TREASURES. BUT UP TILL NOW SHE'S BEEN
RELUCTANT TO DISCUSS HER PERSONAL LIFE AND HER WRITING STYLE. BUT A NEW
BIOGRAPHY ABOUT ALICE MUNRO HAS BEEN RELEASED BY ROBERT THACKER. WE GET A
PEEK AT ALICE MUNRO.
♪
[ Caption: Alice Munro - Author ]
Alice: WHEN I WAS A YOUNG WRITER, THIS IS WHAT WOULD HAPPEN TO ME: I'D HAVE A
WONDERFUL IDEA, I'D BE VERY HAPPY. I'D SIT DOWN, I'D BEGIN TO WRITE IT. PROBABLY
THE FIRST PAGE I'D STICK WITH THIS EXHILARATION AND THEN EVERYTHING WOULD
BEGIN TO GO DOWNHILL. I WOULD THINK, "OH, MY GOD, WHAT DROSS THIS IS." AND I
WOULD TEAR IT UP AND THEN I WOULD START AGAIN, AND THEN I WOULD TEAR IT UP,
THEN I WOULD START AGAIN, AND THEN I WOULD TEAR IT UP. AND THEN I WOULD LET GO
OF THE WHOLE IDEA AND I WOULD GO FOR LONG, DISCOURAGED WALKS AND I WOULD
TRY TO GET ANOTHER IDEA. WHEN DOES THE EXHILARATION COME BACK? I'M TRYING TO
REMEMBER IF IT EVER DOES.
[ Caption: Robert Thacker - Author, Alice Munro: Writing Her Lives ]
Robert: SHE'S A VERY INTUITIVE WRITER. UM, SHE WORKS EXTREMELY HARD ON HER
STORIES GETTING THEM JUST TO WHERE SHE WANTS THEM BEFORE SHE LETS THEM GO.
[ Caption: Alice Munro - 1931-1949 - Lower Town, Ontario ]
Alice: WHEN I FIRST DECIDED THAT I WANTED TO BE A WRITER I WAS ABOUT 11 YEARS
OLD, I GUESS. AND FROM THEN ON TILL 18 I WAS NOT COMMITTING THE STORIES TO
PAPER, I WAS SIMPLY MAKING THEM UP. AND THAT, I MUST SAY, WAS THE HAPPIEST
PERIOD OF MY WRITING LIFE, BUT SOMETIME I HAD TO START WRITING THEM DOWN.
Robert: AS A READER AND AS A CRITIC, I'M STRUCK MY HER ABILITY TO GET ON THE PAGE,
A FEELING WHICH HAS ME REACT BY SAYING, "YOU KNOW, THAT'S WHAT IT REALLY FEELS
LIKE TO BE ALIVE." AND SHE SEEMS TO BE ABLE TO DO THAT AND TO GET AT THAT SO
THAT, YOU KNOW, YOU, UM, YOU REACH THE END OF THE STORY AND YOU KNOW THAT
SOME REVELATION IS COMING, BUT YOU DON'T' KNOW EXACTLY WHICH PART OF THE
STORY IT'S GOING TO COME FROM. AND OFTEN SHE SURPRISES, RIGHT, SO THAT THERE'S
A... THERE'S A DELICIOUSNESS BOTH IN THE REVELATION AND IN THE WAY IN WHICH SHE
GETS TO THE REVELATION.
(Lively jazz music)
Alice: I KNOW WHERE THE EMOTIONAL HEART OF THE STORY IS AND I HAVE USUALLY
KNOWN THIS FROM THE BEGINNING. IT'S A MATTER OF GETTING IT RIGHT, AND WHEN I
MYSELF AM DOING THE WRITING, I DO NOT HAVE TEARS IN MY EYES. I KNOW THAT I'VE
GOT TO-- I'VE GOT TO MANAGE IT IN ORDER THAT IT WILL BE IMPORTANT, NOT
SENTIMENTAL AND, UM... AS OVERWHELMING AS I CAN MAKE IT.
Kim: UP NEXT, JAY McINERNEY'S NEW YORK.
Jay: I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS THAT THIS BOOK IS ABOUT IS ABOUT THESE PEOPLE
REALIZING THAT THEY'VE MADE CHOICES WHICH PROFOUNDLY AFFECT THE AMOUNT OF
FREEDOM THAT THEY HAVE NOW TO MOVE FORWARD.
(Theme plays: Funky techno music)
[ Caption: The Word This Week ]
6
The Word This Week
5-18
[ BREAK ]
(Theme plays: Funky techno music)
[ Caption: The Word This Week ]
[ Caption: Kim Clarke Chapniss ]
Kim: WELCOME BACK, EVERYBODY. DO YOU REMEMBER BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY, A
MOVIE STARRING MICHAEL J. FOX? A STORY ABOUT DRUG ADDICTION AND LIFE IN THE BIG
APPLE. IT CAME FROM THE NOVEL BY JAY McINERNEY. JAY'S BACK WITH THE GOOD LIFE.
HE'S STILL FASCINATED BY DRUGS, STILL FASCINATED BY NEW YORK AND FAST LIVING.
THE EVENTS, THOUGH, TAKE PLACE ROUND ABOUT 9/11.
♪
Jay: I THINK THAT EXTREMELY AMBITIOUS PEOPLE IN MANY DIFFERENT FIELDS ARE
DRAWN TO NEW YORK, AND AS A RESULT IT BECOMES, TO SOME EXTENT, THE CENTRE OF
THE WORLD, THE CENTRE OF THE FASHION WORLD, THE CENTRE OF THE ART WORLD. I
MEAN, AT LEAST IN OUR COUNTRY, THE CENTRE OF THE MEDIA WORLD. THERE IS A SORT
OF FIERCE DARWINIAN SOCIAL ORDER IN NEW YORK WHICH CAN BE VERY UNFORGIVING.
(Lively big band music)
[ Caption: Jay McInerney - Author, The Good Life ]
Jay: ONE OF THE PROMISES OF NEW YORK CITY IS THE POSSIBILITY OF REINVENTION. YOU
KNOW, PEOPLE GO THERE TO START FROM SCRATCH, TO MAKE THEMSELVES OVER. AND
WHEN YOU'RE IN YOUR 20's AND EVEN IN YOUR 30's, THAT'S MORE POSSIBLE THAN IT IS
WHEN YOU HIT 40, WHEN YOU HAVE CHILDREN, WHEN YOU FIND YOURSELF IN THE
MIDDLE OF A CAREER. I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS THAT THIS BOOK IS ABOUT IS THESE
PEOPLE REALIZING THAT THEY'VE MADE CHOICES WHICH PROFOUNDLY AFFECT THE
AMOUNT OF FREEDOM THAT THEY HAVE NOW TO MOVE FORWARD.
(Street din)
Jay: THE BOOKS REALLY JUST DEALS WITH THE SORT OF EMOTIONAL FALLOUT OF
SEPTEMBER 11th, AND I DON'T DEPICT THE DAY ITSELF. BUT I THINK THAT, YOU KNOW,
FOR A LONG TIME AFTER THAT DAY, I JUST COULDN'T IMAGINE WRITING ANY FICTION. IT
SEEMED SORT OF IRRELEVANT AND FRIVOLOUS. AND THEN EVENTUALLY I JUST FELT, AS
SOMEONE WHO WRITES ABOUT NEW YORK CITY, THAT I HAD TO, IN SOME WAY, DEAL WITH
WHAT WAS A REALLY EXTRAORDINARY TIME. WE CAN'T PRETEND IT NEVER HAPPENED. WE
CAN'T BE SO REVERENTIAL AS TO TIPTOE AROUND THE SUBJECT. I DON'T THINK THAT
DOES ANY OF US ANY GOOD. BUT, YEAH, I WAS NERVOUS ABOUT IT. UM, I WAS AFRAID IT
WOULD OVERWHELM THE FICTIONAL UNIVERSE I WAS TRYING TO CREATE. AND I WAS
AFRAID THAT CERTAIN PEOPLE WOULD OBJECT.
♪
Jay: THERE ARE A NUMBER OF CRITICS, I THINK, WHO JUST FEEL THAT MY EARLY
SUCCESS, THAT THE LARGE SUCCESS OF BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY WAS JUST TOO MUCH
TOO SOON AND WHO HAVE BEEN TRYING TO REDRESS THE BALANCE EVER SINCE, AS IT
WERE. (Chuckles) IT SEEMS LIKE I'M ALWAYS GOING TO BE A LITTLE CONTROVERSIAL.
THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO DON'T-- THERE ARE SOME CRITICS WHO DON'T LIKE
THE KINDS OF PEOPLE THAT I WRITE ABOUT AND WHO FEEL THAT THEY'RE NOT THE
SUBJECTS OF SERIOUS FICTION.
[ Caption: Bright Lights, Big City - Screenplay by Jay McInerney - Courtesy, United Artists ]
Jamie: (Thinking) HOW DID YOU GET HERE? ALL MIGHT COME CLEAR IF YOU COULD JUST
SLIP INTO THE BATHROOM AND DO A LITTLE MORE BOLIVIAN MARCHING POWDER. BUT
7
The Word This Week
5-18
THEN AGAIN, THIS EPIDEMIC LACK OF CLARITY IS A RESULT OF TOO MUCH OF THAT
ALREADY.
(Loud sniffing)
(Footsteps)
(Loud sniffing continues)
(Door squeaks)
Woman: HI. GOT SOME BLOW?
Jay: WHEN I WAS WRITING ABOUT NEW YORK IN THE '80s, COCAINE WAS A SORT OF A
TRENDY DRUG. IT WAS A PART OF THE DOWNTOWN NIGHTCLUB SCENE. IT WAS-- IT WAS
CONSIDERED VERY COOL. AT THE TIME, FRANKLY, WE DIDN'T REALIZE HOW DANGEROUS
IT WAS. AND, UM, IT SEEMED TO FIT IN VERY NICELY WITH THE SORT OF, UM, 24-HOUR
LIFESTYLE. YOU KNOW, WORK HARD, PLAY HARD, (Coughs) IT WAS ONLY LATER THAT IT
BECAME CLEAR WHAT AN INSIDIOUS DRUG IT MIGHT BE.
(Soft music in background)
(Loud sniffing)
Jay: IN THE END I WASN'T TERRIBLY HAPPY WITH THE MOVIE OF BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY.
AND I HAVE TO TAKE SOME BLAME BECAUSE I WROTE THE SCREENPLAY.
Jamie: (Whispers) YOU'RE TOO HIGH.
Jay: FILM IS A VISUAL MEDIUM. AND AS SUCH IT REQUIRES, YOU KNOW, A DIFFERENT,
UM... YOU KNOW, A WHOLE DIFFERENT VOCABULARY AND SYNTAX WHEN YOU'RE TALKING
ABOUT ADAPTING A NOVEL. AND I THINK THAT WE FAILED TO FIND THE VISUAL
EQUIVALENT FOR THE-- YOU KNOW, FOR THE PROSE, FOR THE VOICE OF BRIGHT LIGHTS,
BIG CITY, THE NOVEL. I HOPE SOMEDAY I WRITE THE NOVEL THAT ALL OF THE CRITICS
LOVE. AND AT THE SAME TIME THERE'S A PART OF ME THAT BELIEVES THAT IF I DON'T
MAKE SOMEBODY MAD THEN I MUST NOT BE DOING THE RIGHT THING. (Laughs)
Kim: THERE'S QUITE THE BUZZ ABOUT THIS GUY: NATHAN SELLYN. HE'S 23 YEARS OF AGE.
HE'S A PRINCETON GRAD. HE WRITES GRITTY SHORT STORIES THAT REALLY FOCUS ON
VIOLENT THEMES. HIS DEBUT NOVEL IS INDIGENOUS BEASTS. WE CAUGHT UP WITH HIM IN
VANCOUVER.
(Smooth jazz music)
Male Interviewer: WITH ME NOW FOR THE RAINCOAST BROADCAST IS NATHAN SELLYN. AND
WELCOME.
Nathan: THANK YOU.
Interviewer: THESE CHARACTERS OF YOURS, I HAVE NO IDEA HOW YOU DRAW THEM. I'D
IMAGINE THAT YOU'RE WALKING DOWN THE STREET OR SITTING ON A BUS AND YOU SEE
SOMEONE AND SUDDENLY A STORY BUILDS AROUND THEM.
[ Caption: Nathan Sellyn - Author, Indigenous Beasts ]
Nathan: YEAH, I MEAN, I GUESS THEY ARE-- I DO KIND OF IDENTIFY WITH THEM AS
EVERYDAY PEOPLE. SOME OF THEM, YOU KNOW, THEIR LITTLE NUGGETS AND ANECDOTES
THEY HAVE AND THEIR LITTLE IDIOSYNCRASIES ARE BUILT OUT OF, YOU KNOW, NONFICTION INCIDENTS. I'VE ALWAYS GOT MY EAR OPEN FOR A GREAT STORY WHEN
SOMEBODY TELLS IT. BUT CERTAINLY, AT THEIR CORE, I KIND OF THINK OF ALL OF THEM
AS THE EVERYMAN.
(Moody electronic music)
8
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Nathan: (Reading): "I'M TRYING TO SWITCH RADIO STATIONS AND DRIVE AND SMOKE ALL AT
THE SAME TIME. AND THE REALITY THAT THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE FINALLY DAWNS WHEN I
DROP A LIT CIGARETTE IN MY LAP. I SHOULD GRAB IT BEFORE IT BURNS THE SEAT OR MY
CROTCH, BUT INSTEAD I KEEP ON HAND ON THE WHEEL AND THE OTHER ON THE RADIO
DIAL BECAUSE I'M DESPERATE TO FIND JUST ONE DECENT SONG."
A LOT OF VERY GOOD FICTION DOESN'T HAVE HAPPY ENDINGS. YOU KNOW, HAPPY
ENDINGS ARE, I GUESS, A HALLMARK OF FICTION BECAUSE THAT'S NOT HOW REAL STUFF
OFTEN ENDS. UM, YOU KNOW, SOMETIMES PEOPLE WALK AWAY DISILLUSIONED AND
BROKEN, AND THAT'S THE END OF IT. NOT ALL THE CANDIDATES PASS.
(Reading): "THE BAT I USED, A WOODEN LOUISVILLE SLUGGER, A PRESENT FROM MY
GRANDFATHER, IS SITTING WRAPPED IN BLANKETS BETWEEN THE TWO FRONT SEATS OF
MY CAR. TONIGHT I WILL USE IT TO SHATTER EVERY BONE IN DANNY MARCONI'S BODY. I
WILL BEAT HIM UNTIL HIS FLESH TURNS TO PASTE, UNTIL EVERY BONE IN HIS BODY
CRACKS LIKE A DOUBLE TOWARDS CENTRE FIELD, UNTIL I AM SO COVERED IN HIS BLOOD
THAT IT MIXES WITH MY OWN. I WILL BEAT HIM UNTIL I NO LONGER HAVE THE STRENGTH
TO RAISE THE BAT ABOVE MY HEAD, AND THEN IT WILL BE OVER."
(Smooth jazz music)
Nathan: I MEAN, I DON'T HAVE A LOT OF PURELY GOOD CHARACTERS. ALL MY CHARACTERS
KIND OF EXIST IN THE GREY, I GUESS YOU COULD SAY. UM, SO, YOU KNOW, WHEN THEY
TRIUMPH, IT'S NOT A TRIUMPH FOR HUMANITY OR FOR THE FORCES OF LIGHT, IT'S A
PERSONAL TRIUMPH, REGARDLESS OF THE IMPACT IT HAS ON OTHERS. SORRY, I KNOW IT'S
FREEZING OUT HERE.
♪
[ Caption: Jonathon Ames - Author, I Love You More Than You Know ]
Jonathon: HELLO, MY NAME IS JONATHON AMES. I'M A WRITER. I LIVE IN NEW YORK CITY,
BROOKLYN, TO BE EXACT. I WRITE NOVELS AND I'M 41 YEARS OLD. I'M OFTEN CONFUSED. I
OFTEN FEEL A BIT LOST. I GET A LITTLE BIT DEPRESSED THINKING ABOUT THE STATE OF
THE WORLD.
Kim: NOVELIST, COMEDIAN, EX-BOXER, THIS MULTI-TALENTED ENTERTAINER'S NEW BOOK
IS A COLLECTION OF ESSAYS HE GATHERED FROM OBSERVING HIS OWN ADVENTURES,
NEUROSES, HEARTACHES AND JOYS.
Jonathon: SOMETIMES PEOPLE WILL MEET ME AND SOMEONE NEXT TO ME WILL BE LIKE,
"OH, THIS IS JONATHON AMES. HE'S A REALLY FUNNY PERFORMER." AND THEN THEY LOOK
AT ME (Laughs) AND MAYBE I LOOK LIKE I'M READY TO CRY OR I LOOK DULL OR I LOOK
INVISIBLE. AND I HAVE TO EXPLAIN TO THEM, "YES, I'M NOT FUNNY RIGHT NOW I'M MAY BE
A LITTLE BORING RIGHT NOW, BUT ONSTAGE I'LL BE FUNNY, I HOPE."
I WAS AT A REAL CROSSROADS IN LIFE. YOU KNOW, ONE OF THOSE MOMENTS THAT'S
ALMOST LIKE A WISHBONE. YOU EITHER GO TO THE LEFT OR THE RIGHT. IN THIS CASE DO
I GO TO THE BEAUTIFUL GIRL, CONDESCENDING, SNEERING, EVERYTHING YOU LOOK FOR
IN A WOMAN-- BLONDE HAIR! MY FRIEND UP IN THE TREE READY TO HUMP. WHAT TO DO?
IT WAS LIKE A DANTE MOMENT. DANTE ALWAYS SAYS GO TO THE LEFT, BUT I'M LOOKING
AT HER. I'M LOOKING AT THEM AND THEN I MADE A CHOICE WHICH, YOU KNOW, SHAPED
THE REST OF MY LIFE. AND SO THEN I WENT, (Loud extended scream) AND I HUMPED THE
TREE AND I LOST THE GIRL. SO THAT'S THE STORY OF THE HAIRY CALL.
(Laughter and applause)
Jonathon: I OFTEN INCORPORATE SLAPSTICK IN MY WRITING, YOU KNOW, COMEDY OF
ERRORS. MY STORIES COME FROM LIFE, FROM THE THINGS THAT HAPPEN TO ME, THE
THINGS I DO, THE PEOPLE I SEE, THE PEOPLE I MEET. BEING VULNERABLE AND BEING
HONEST IN YOUR WRITING OR WITH WHAT YOU SAY IS WHAT THE READER IDENTIFIES
9
The Word This Week
5-18
WITH AND THEY FEEL LESS ALONE. "OH, THERE'S SOMEONE LIKE ME. I'M NOT ALONE, YOU
KNOW, A KINDRED SPIRIT." AND I THINK THAT'S VERY MUCH ONE OF THE THINGS WE LOOK
FOR IN BOOKS AND LOOK FOR IN WRITERS.
Kim: DON'T FORGET, IF YOU'VE GOT A WELL-INFORMED AND MATURE TEENAGER AND YOU
WANT TO GO AND SEE A MOVIE, OR EVEN READ A BOOK THAT INCITES DISCUSSION, V FOR
VENDETTA. GO TO OUR WEBSITE: www.booktelevision.com GIVE US SOME FEEDBACK. TILL
NEXT TIME, I'M K.C.C. FOR THE WORD THIS WEEK.
[ Caption: www.booktelevision.com ]
(Theme plays: Driving rock music)
♪
[ CREDITS ]
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10
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Word Transcripts for Show #5-18