Unapologetically Canadian
Unapologetically Canadian

Episode 22 · 2 years ago

Roch Carrier: A Canadian Icon


Two years ago, I had the opportunity to interview Roch Carrier, a wonderful author who wrote a series of diverse works from La Guerre, Yes Sir to The Hockey Sweater to his latest novel “Demain, j’écrire un roman.

Most of our conversation focussed on The Hockey Sweater, which became a musical last winter in the latest of a multitude of diverse creations.

Roch turns 82 next month, on May 13. Happy birthday, Roch! A transcript and links will appear in the show notes that day at

My name is Traci Ario and I am an apologetically Canadian. Two years ago I had the opportunity to speak with Rock Cattie, the author of the hockey sweater, a fabulous book, and I thought Spring is a little bit slow in coming this year, it might be fun to hear that conversation again and talk about the wonderful story that is the hockey sweater, just to hear a little bit about rock art carrying here. Is An amazing author who has worked with everybody who wanted to adapt his book and he's just a wonderful person and I hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I did. So I guess the first thing I would like to say this congratulations. It seems like you're everywhere these days. Yes, there is a numbers things I don't happening and I'm very lucky. So basically, is this new excitement strategy on your part? Did someone reach out to you? No, no, there's no setters. You have round up there story, you know, just days. Had to remember stories, get they them more more on moble puter because I don't know why. Probably a good story. There was never a special strategy around around Dutch story or you know, just and they go that I turn it to a story and people keep connecting and they have been connecting for sometimes three generations. I hear. I wasn't in Calgarya some days ago and said they were grandparents as you need to sign the board that they had one day were kids. Wonderful, that's the grandmother, grandmother telling me all. I read that story what I was a red girl. I read that to read it to my kids that Sundays a there is no no Ma getting that can do that. You know, it just happened. And I'm very as a very pretty duch, you know, which I think the sentiment of a lot of people in that story. Yes, you know, when I go to schools, by example, and before reading the heart sweater, I asked the kid, did it happen to you that you had to wear something that you didn't want to wear? You wish old rand hands, you know, they race. Everybody add that tybe of experience at that said, because of that that the story is successful. Have you, and so that's just your question of you ever had to wear something you didn't want to wear? Big Boys, and now the thing is, what's interesting now is that you have so many. Mean you have been doing readings at schools and there is the NFB film project on that. Actually I have a copy of that. I think I still have a vhs in that film you have. So it's almost like every decade or so someone comes up with a new way to present it. Yes, and the big thing that's coming have the everything for for me is a big thing, you know, because everything, every activity, is like a... to me. I have this too of orchestras that I've been doing for now five years. Abigail Richard Sun composed music, symphonic music, around the story and it started very small. All. I think that first I was this, it a phone call asking me would you, would you be free for one evening to come read the story with the ship on the orchestra scars. I as yes, because I like a challenge. I like to do what the he I never did. Yet I'm ready to do anything that I never did. You know what I've taken by that. And finally, I take to you we were therefore in Toronto. I think we gave fourteen readings at the Roy Timpson Hall. So that really something and I'm very happy because I'm going back to Toronto in two or three weeks from now. We do. I'm sorry, what are you going to be doing? I would be doing the same thing, reading the her case water story with the Samphony Orchestra and it's wonderful. You know, people come and they were different persuaders the so for this the musician, you know, they put over their black outfit, they put on the their federal writers. There's competition. This such an atmosphere and all that. It's such in a good mood. You know, never, not once there was something like pants because of belong gay on that belong game to this theme. There is otherways, multiple pleasures. Kind of absurd in a way, you know, having this hockey mood at a symphony orchestra, but the music and the music is great and this times. I just two weeks ago I was in Kingston and, let's say the I think the all the the players in the same for the other musicians are symphony. I think they had an experience of how key so they were Arkey boys and arkey girls to play this music and having fun, having fun and at the same time, you know, I heard them parcade like musicians between musicians and talking about the quality of that music and happened. It's had a tenny and at the same time it's good music. But for me, for me it sounds the new and new experience because even if I listen to a lot of music and no musicians, you know, I don't have a such a return. I have nothing of your musicians. So for me to be to come into that universe, it's quite interesting. Now and now the single will be doing a musical. You're going to be the next. Yet you next, west side. Before touching that, I went to I like to tell you that after the reading in Tilgerin, after the dear the siphony was a plot...

...and all that, somebody came on the stage and I was made a member of the older of the black hat and a huge cowboy hat, what cowboy had, and I had to make some kind of statement about how I will wear the this hat, and I want to explain that it was like receiving giving the this hat was like giving the keys of the city, and I have to declare that Calgary is the Queen her out of the count towns. You have, yes, yes, but at first I had an objection. I said it was just in providing as if I say that and if another city is not, then I agree with that. They consume me. But how that was made with you, murder, with laughter. That's was. That's a great that sounds so much fun and of course you mentioned the musical that is coming. It is very special project and it's very exciting. I don't know much yet about it. I just received this morning the libreak up the text of the story, so I didn't have time to read it yet. That image sham did a lot of theater before that, a lot of books and I'm very confident. Well, and I'm sure you have comments and he will hide. You will be able to tell him. Yes, but I told him that I didn't want to get to involve, you know, because I want to keep a shuttin freshness, if it's a word, around around that story and I don't want to turn it upside down and know it's there. And it's amazing when now, it's many years ago, so over thirty five years ago, when they decided the publisher water to do a book, initiated book for this, I met Sheldon coan yeah, chemist will draw, the will make a drawing and he was asking me a lot of question and I was very impressed by the way this at the time you did you need aingual English speaking young man, will talk to my uni langual French speaking mother. Let's. I was there with them, you know, and I couldn't not talk with them. They are involving something, this guy saying the curtains in the dom child roam. anyways, it was a good encounter with Sheldon and at the end what we were talking about the book and under driving. I told them, let's, at the time I had a swimming pool and I had two young daughters and they were playing a lot in the swimming pool and using another diving board. And so when I said Shell that I...

...know, I know this story is your driving board, diving board. So use the story as you're diving board. And that's what you did. And is drawing. That just waterfall, free, inventive, fresh, a lot of action, a lot of humor, and I decided to give the same advice to understand attitude for a mail shares project. I told they live and I don't want to be involved. I might give you information if you want, but I don't want to be involved in the in the in the writing. This is your story. Use it as your diving board so they can bring their own creativity to yeah, yeah, that's a fabulous yeah, because I guess you would never have a mean he would never have so many versions of this, and so you wouldn't have so many versions of the hockey sweater if you had trying to keep control over everything. Yes, exactly, exactly. But again, it was at a strategy. It was just, let's say, what I was thinking at the moment I made the decision. So it was just a happy it was a strategy without knowing it. And and yes, strategy maybe. And what about the continual thoughts and popularity of the story? You talked about that. So in your obviously enjoy working in new ways to present this again. Yeah, like I'm going to new and Nice experience to celebrate Jana da and more photos on motorol Celeb Kinda anyway, in Thou, a small village I come from, the decided to let its erasm each other. Is One thousand eight hundred for pradation. You know, it's is very is very small, but there's a lot of dynamas and there there is a lot of creativity and a group of students and citizen get together and they made ps recal adaptation, adaptations for the theater of one of my book in France is called Leson found you've gone on down aline. It was trusted into engage by the hawkes weather and other stories. So they adapted about a garden of the stories for the stage and they will add a premier and all playing Saturday, this Saturday. So I'm going to my small town, a small relationships, and they will be this opening, you know, with twelve, twelve, I think I was stone actors on the stage, Oh my God. And I think they have music and the and it's supported by the case popular sand you stay. It's supported by they have a big, big De coompany there. It's Carlo, although back they do some mechemical arms, you know, like a like an arm that could take a big tree in the forest, clean the branches and put the tree in the back of a...

...truck. So that's why. That's what they can do. You and some kinds of claims. So they are they are producing that. It's an invention of gentlemen in the village. You know, he started in a small you, as you was repaying cars and suddenly we have engineers there. We have a designers. Yes, I think it would be wonderful. Them very, very, very curious to go and will make things happen. You know what they they are not waiting for somebody else who saved them right, they do the job. That's wonderful. And do you have you been back there very often? Yes, most of the time. I go for once a year. Now I must say that they most of the people I grew up with these appeal. I think I'm one of the last at surviving, so there is less unders people that I know, but I still have some family, sister blather. So I go at least once a year. Why? Fifty two? You don't that? I three that I will be eighty in two months, in May. Okay, well, happy and it doesn't hurt. That's good to know. It's nice to have to be talking to someone who is comfortable with their age and still having so many adventures. It's almost like a new world now, when that leads back letting, you've been living in Montreal for many years now. Yes, can you tell me a little bit about how you feel about the city and how it's changed and how those changes have influenced you? WHO's that? That that that's a good question. Yes, the city challenge on the let's say my wife and I, we have big walkers, you know, and both of us when we do our works in the morning, sometimes we explore the city and, by example, is square inter the thing to walk on Sherbrook street towards East. It's and we have to say that most of the building that we see now will not there when both of us arrived in Montreal. That's quite something. You have new areas that are developed very saying all read and if any, yeah, that they I know. I know very well because I sometimes I was working with theater company and we have our officers in sanely. So for three years we were I was with that company in sale is. So I know the place quite well and it's amazing now to go back to the same streets and to see what happened, the challenges that happened in terms of building, in terms of population. That's really that's really amazing. And can you tell me how that's affected you? Has An affected the project you take on? Has It? What do you think about Montreal these days? It's a very terting city. There's a lot happening. It's open, open minded, there's a lot of freedom and there is also but sick, and now I will not say... I like. I like Mont Real, but we have to decide what we want to do. You know, we are going. There is feeling that we are improvising without an objective. You know, it's a simpler way of putting your yet to know where you want to go and what you want to do, and this is never clear. Know, there's a lot of improvisation way for somebody else, even if there's a lot of Dananism. There is a feeling, what do we want to do? What? What do you want to do then, is from now. What do we want and how do we want to reach them? For me, it's missing, you know, it's it's sort of an ad hoc, a place of many orange cone. Yeah, and let's say I wrote the book. I spent thirteen years watter your book about more came wolves and those the end of what was that? The French all the SHAPENCY, some way of what we all Canada now. There was such a lack of political will and a lack of the wash corruption, and there was lack of imagination. What do we do with this territory on the other side of the ocean and when I see what's happening to the in Montreal, in Quebec, I feel that there is something like that and it's not a way of having success it. Yes, we need a vision, we division, we need a wheel and we need we need others strengths to to make it happen right, right. Having said that, I did some pretty Tis for my love and I take care. Yes, and what they wanted to see. No, Ivan said that. You know, want to all Quebec. It's and enjoyable, enjoyable. We have El kids, PRIJAPLE APP they have access to affordable education. You know what? I think that there is, as you know, to go to university. That result will be something in Fiftyzero and we have more and more and to see the conditions we ask you. I think we should be happy and dancer around those conditions and want to finish them, saying we have to work right. Well, and you seem to be doing your part. You're you certainly stay active. Yeah, you know, when I was something, I think I was fourteen years old, because and in those days, fourteen years old even man, and if you're man you have to work. So I was going to the bolish school at that time. But in during the summer time, I was sixteen, I was fourteen. I had to work like a man and I was working with a team of man and my job was like...

...yet a man. Was Too through with travels to gravel in trucks, for the trucks to bring this gravel to build the road. It was deep pleased. It was deeply see time and during any during the election time, actually campaign, they were building road and gravel. Now, Lady Ena. So I had my ner, James, I have grown working books and yes, I have plasters on my on my hands, and that was painful that. I remember. Once one of the workers was not very good to me because I missed my turn of throwing my shovel of gravel in the truck. And yes, three, what are you doing? Are you a man? Are you made of in men? Men's dog about them. Yeah, so I'm forte is no in Bristas is burning and all that. And the boss of the team took that guy and told him that he was a huge, big that nothing, with some sweat trying around that, and then the bus came to me and see, listen, you're working. Your job is to put gravel in the truck. If you don't put the gravel in the Rock, the gravel in the jump in the truck. That's been let's see, I studied Latin, I studied Greek, studying Spanish, big writers, but the principle that drove my life came from this man. If you don't put the gravel in the truck, the gravels in the chop in the truck. And this is amazing. I told that story last June, the receiver doctor's degree from University of Vancouver, and I was taking to something like two hundred towards graduate, the sciences being sciences master and sciences, Doctor and sciences, and I told them that story. You don't put the Grub in bits like the exather, don't jump into truck. And then you see, I know letters emails say thank you for this advantage. Wow, really. Yeah, that was repressed over why? And that many of those Dodos war from Japan, of China, you know, and I want to really have managed. You know, I want just to say and that they got and yeah, but the principal drove your high life. I mean, so it's so you were able to accomplish things because you always kept moving forward. Yes, yes, and and still today. I mean it's pretty impressive that we you. You were saying you were publishing a new book. Can you tell me a little bit about that? Yes, it's gone. It's in French. It's not yet frustrated, but I think it will be. It's called the name Jako. Ah, okay, they say it's a worrow. I will write a book. Yeah, and novel, and it can tell me about it. What isn't about? It's about me, after every stem more than thirteen years...

...writing his story, do when you research, checking documentation, checking your storybook? So they I finished with that and I'm going back to the fiction now. What happened in the bridge, in the head, the brain of a writer who goes back to fiction and is enjoying so much is freedom. Everything happened. That's Hilarious, that's wonderful. Everything happens. And what happens and there that doesn't happened to so appreciate your time and okay, thank you very much. It was a pleasure. Really, you've been listening to an apologetically Canadian. This episode was brought to you by thrive. Themes used try things to make your website look the way you wanted to.

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