Writer in Residence

Writers on TV Survey: Emily M. Keeler

By Carey Toane

Next up in our ongoing series of asking-writers-what-they-watch is National Post Books Editor Emily M. Keeler.

Name: Emily M. Keeler

How much time do you spend watching TV in a week? Most weeks, maybe an couple hours or so. 

How much time do you spend watching TV in a week when the new Downton Abbey/Game of Thrones/etc comes out? Game of Thrones is the only show I try to watch along with the culture, as it's happening. Everything else I'll just wait 'till it hits Netflix or DVD. But yeah, still only two, maybe three hours a week, most weeks. Then, a couple times a year, there are weekend long binges where my partner and I will sit on the couch for 12 or more hours to kill a whole season of something in one groggy, unbecoming swoop.

How much time do you spend reading in a week? Hard to say. I want to say most days I spend two or more hours reading, plus a bigger chunk on the weekend, so probably between 16 and 24 hours. (Partially for and at work, I should add.)

Do you identify as a TV binge watcher?  

Do you stream shows online (legally or illegally)?
Yes—legally. (I don't know how to illegally stream anything, and when I tried to figure it out I got a bunch of mal- and spyware and learned my lesson.)

Do you post about TV on social media (be honest)?  
Yes, but not excessively, I hope. I was going to say no, but then remembered how I was tweeting about how hilariously bad the novelist on this season of House of Cards is. 

Favourite TV show (current/all-time): This is a tough one, but probably Homicide: Life on the Streets. (An adaptation of a book, I realize!) Or no, wait, I also love The Prisoner. 

Favourite Canadian book/short story TV adaptation: Are there lots of these? I actually can only name a couple, none of which I've actually seen. 

Worst book/short story TV adaptation of all time: Again, I feel like I don't know all that many examples of literature being adapted into television; do made for TV movies count? Also, I don't [watch] enough to know about worst. Like, the one that jumps to mind is Friday Night Lights, but I haven't read the book and really liked the show??? This is a lot of words when I could've used just one. Pass. 

Canadian book/short story you would like to see on TV:
I think Elisabeth de Mariaffi's The Devil You Know would make a great TV show, a vintage cop drama that's wholly aware of today’s politics, a Canadian version of Mad Men by way of The Fall or something. 

Graphic novel that you would like to see made into a TV series:
Walter Scott's episodic comic, Wendy, is an obvious candidate; a druggy Canadian Seinfeld for the art world! 

TV series that could be (mistakenly) based on a book:
Roseanne. A working-class opus with dynamic characters, hardened like Carver but with a warmer heart. Roseanne, if it were a book, would be like something a 1980s version of  Steinbeck could've written if a) was a feminist, and b) had a sense of humour! 

Are TV series the new novels?
No. TV can be good, can work well in the narrative mode, without being shoehorned into being like a novel. And novels aren't going anywhere, are in fact still pretty new themselves, all things considered. These things aren't in competition with each other.

Do you ever watch TV the old-fashioned way, y'know, on the television?
Yes. I watch Netflix on a boxy, early 2000s television set. 

How does that feel?
Fine! I also sometimes watch TV on my phone, which is also fine. 

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book.

Carey Toane is a librarian, journalist and poet. Her first collection of poems, The Crystal Palace, was published in 2011 by Mansfield Press. She lives in Toronto, where she is currently working on a collection of poems inspired by and dedicated to Twin Peaks. She is on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/careygrrl

You can contact Carey throughout the month of May at writer@openbooktoronto.com