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A description of timothy findley in the wars

Two Interviews by Anne Nothof We can never forget. We must be aware that the apocalypse is not only imminent, it is happening now.

An Aurora Update

The bomb is not the only threat hanging over the human race. It includes our move towards the bomb. The dropping of the bomb has begun. Timothy Findley was generous and patient with interviewers.

He listened carefully, and responded thoughtfully. He arrived early and paid for his own breakfast, even when suffering through a bad cold on a dark morning of an Edmonton winter. He was a man of conviction - his novels and plays all warn against the proclivity of the human race to self-destructiveness. But he also celebrated creativity and kindness. In the worst of all possible worlds, there is still some hope of salvation.

My first conversation with Timothy Findley was about his early novel, The Wars, which I believe in many respects is his best work. My second interview was about The Telling of Lies, the first of several "metaphysical mysteries" in which the search for a murderer is an investigation of the human heart and mind.

The Telling of Truths

Findley returned to the scene of the crime in his last novel, Spadework, set in Stratford, Ontario, where he had worked as a young actor with the Shakespeare Festival, and where his play, Elizabeth Rex, premiered in 2000. But as the many testimonials of writers, actors, and friends made very clear when he died, "Tiff" was also a mentor and an inspiration to many writers in Canada. And he was also a collector of cats, when he lived on a farm in southern Ontario. The biblical flood he revisits in this novel will be only the first of many human catastrophes.

The Wars The Wars by Timothy Findley is a searing indictment of man's capacity to destroy the living creatures of his planet, to turn the basic elements of life-earth, air, fire, and water-into the engines of death. The book's graphic images of the holocaust of World War I burn into the imagination. All of Findley's works-short stories, plays, novels-confront uncompromisingly man's terrible capacity for self-destruction.

His novel, Not Wanted on the Voyage, which was nominated for a Governor General's Award, uses the biblical myth of the flood as an image of an inevitable cataclysmic Third World War. Many of Findley's works are set in times of war, and see human nature in terms of confrontation and conflict. I asked him to talk about how he perceives the role of the author in a society rapidly escalating towards global conflict.

What intrigued me about The Wars and Famous Last Words was that you used war as the backdrop, as the social and environmental setting for your characters. Although the story is cast far back in time, you really talk more about the possibility of another "flood" or the inevitability of it happening again.

Is that the way you see the book? I have to be careful when I am writing, not to fall into the trap of saying, a description of timothy findley in the wars is what I'm saying. The illustration asks, "Where does this come from? A careful reading would reveal that it passes through all of time. Yes, you create characters in terms of basic human impulses, kinds of behaviour, and ways of relating to others and to the world.

It seems to me you do a similar thing to the historical characters in your other novels. What I hope to do is to give a balance in the characters. There comes a moment when I think a character is entirely negative and what happens to this person is negative. I've got to find some positive aspect so that he remains human.

Disasters don't come from monsters or insane people. To believe so would be to provide ourselves with the wonderful excuse that monsters like Hitler create these situations, and therefore we can renege on our own responsibility for creating the atmosphere in which such events happen.

The theme of individual responsibility recurs in all your works.

To some extent we're all potential monsters and can actually become so under certain circumstances, especially circumstances such as war. Certainly, this is the case during the "flood" in Not Wanted on the Voyage, when at the end, Noah's wife is actually wishing the rain would continue and the flood would continue so that the whole pattern of repression and cruelty would not start all over again.

Your novels leave us with the feeling that inevitably, even if given another chance, people will do the same things all over again. I'm afraid I do believe that. I believe it out of desperation. I don't believe it willingly, and I don't believe it with a kind of sigh: At some point you've got to say that man hasn't changed and is not going to. If Noah's wife and her cat Mottyl were left at the end saying "Hallelujah," then the reader would conclude that we can survive, and everything will be just fine.

I would have reneged on what the whole book was about. There must be awareness that there can be change. That's the reason I chose World War I or huge political upheavals. Such events allow me to portray people, society, and the values that make people believe what they believe and society function the way it does.

As illustration for what you say about the human condition, these events are wonderful. I hate to say "wonderful," but it's quite true. I'm struck by the use of violent deaths, torture, terrible anguish, and suffering.

Is this a way of bringing readers to the point a description of timothy findley in the wars feeling in jeopardy, where they have to make choices? That is really a question of how easily we forget and how we want to forget. We'd rather not think about football stadiums in Chile with people being herded inside.

Why didn't we do something about Chili? Why did we behave in this appalling manner? It is manifest in everything from the Quebecer who said, "It wasn't our fault that 10,000 or 100,000 caribou got drowned," right through to David Suzuki saying on television that we've been caught with a sudden emergence of a famine in Africa. We haven't been caught by any sudden emergence. You graphically portray the stupidity, the futility, and the horror of the terrible losses of the First World War, and I sensed you were saying that we must never be allowed to forget the Jewish holocaust and other atrocities that went on in the Second World War.

Is one of your functions as a writer to remind people of historical facts-that they must never be allowed to be reinterpreted, glossed over, consigned to oblivion? Dead on, except I would change one word. It isn't that I see that as my role; it's that I have to accept that as my role.

When I sit down at the typewriter and think about what's going to come, I think, "Oh, no, not this again. It's something I must accept. I am personally appalled a description of timothy findley in the wars confused when I see writers in our time turn towards what I have to call the "Right", which is a particular kind of self-protection through the gaining of power.

Fascist writers, in other words. In Famous Last Words, the writer with integrity is the young Spanish poet, who wrote in the sky with the smoke of his plane a warning to the people below.

Yes indeed, and he was based on a very real Italian poet who died in that way over Rome. He's one of my heroes. He had to learn how to fly in order to make his flight.

He purchased an airplane and dropped leaflets over Rome. He came from a very wealthy publishing family in Italy and believed that Mussolini had brought the end of the world to his country. He felt it was like dropping bread on a starving city, because of the censorship in the papers and so on, to remind the people that everything was right wing. He knew his airplane didn't have enough fuel to get home to safety in the South of France. He had to parachute and knew he would perish. This was a great gesture by a writer.

He was a truly wonderful man. In your books there is also a search for a hero. In The Wars, the protagonist is seen as a hero because he cares for human and animal life, and then dies because of that conviction.

He died for life. The thing that moved me in writing that book was that Robert Ross believed above all else in life. If you couldn't save people, but you could save the horses, you were, in fact, saving life. You were making a statement about life. The whole point of life is that life itself is the embodiment of hope.

That is why the birth of a child is always so moving. In The Wars, you write of Robert Ross: And that to me is as good a definition of hero as you'll get. Even when the thing that's done is something of which you disapprove.

I've placed that there in an ironic sense because von Clauswitz's writing is a well-articulated poem on the wonders of war. He is the one who made the statement about war being the ultimate means of solving political problems. He speaks of the beauties of human beings within a war context, and the epigram is one of the more astonishing things that he said. In other words, he's saying, "You can bring about disaster by caring.

And you believe the exact opposite, that the only way we can prevent disaster or prevent another war is by loving life. I think it's quite obvious. You had a perfect example of von Clauswitz in Mr. Reagan who said we must give our backing to these "freedom fighters," when in effect if he believed in human life, in all the human things he says he believes in, he should have done something that was humanitarian.

Since he became President, his answer to Nicaragua were not compassion for the people, the human condition, or the condition under which they lived in that country, but to say, "We must get these bloody communists. He created an enemy by forcing them to take stances against his war-like stance because he accepted that war was the only way to solve that problem.