Monday, October 31, 2016

Cleaning house

Cleaning out stuff from my parents' house I came across this manuscript, which I wrote in (I think) 1979. I'd gone to see Timothy Findley, then the writer in residence at the University of Toronto where I was in my last undergraduate year. Tiff (as his friends called him) read a short story manuscript of mine called "Vienna Street" that was loosely based on the street I grew up on until the age of about twelve. He liked it and suggested that I turn it into a script for the CBC. I had my doubts but didn't see any harm in trying. This is the manuscript, which I haven't seen or thought of in decades. Someone at the CBC did read it and say nice things but, of course, passed on it. Timothy Findley, however, continued to be kind in several ways. He introduced me to his agent (who ignored my attempts to get in touch) and later praised my work during a television interview, based on a small chapbook that I'd self-published (100 or so copies). I used that quote on my first books before finally retiring it. Of course I was hardly the only young writer Tiff helped. He was a generous and warm-hearted person who believed it his duty to give the next generation a lift up whenever possible. Timothy Findley was a fine writer and a fine man.

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