I never wanted to be known for longevity
But for brilliant, tragically interrupted brevity.
Immortality is all about brevity, dear heart.
The Keillor Reader collects the full range of Garrison Keillor’s work: monologues from A Prairie Home Companion, stories from The New Yorker and The Atlantic, excerpts from novels, newspaper columns, and pieces never before published.
I started out with No. 2 pencil and pads of paper, then acquired an Underwood manual typewriter with a faint f and a misshapen O. You had to poke the keys hard to make an impression. I set it on a maple desk in my bedroom, which looked out onto a cornfield across the road, and I wrote stories about tortured loners who stood at a distance from the crowd and observed their comings and goings with envy tinged with contempt.
When a man lives in one place for most of his life, he doesn’t need GPS. He is guided by memories of boyhood bike rides, the ever present Mississippi, and the undeniable power of rhubarb.
It is a strange winter, January mixed in with April,
A cold snap and the next day everything thaws,
And you wonder if the buses run and if the morning paper’ll
Come this morning—if we can still trust in natural laws.
Another year gone and the old man with the scythe
Is moving closer. He hasn’t been subtle, has he.
Too many good people gone, and I could sit and cry
For them—except that you look exceptionally snazzy
And sexy despite the miles on your odometer,
As if you have a few more aces up your sleeve.
Garrison describes growing up in Lake Wobegon.
Garrison talks about summer in Lake Wobegon and a few of the town’s guiding principles.
Garrison Keillor (with Rich Dworsky on piano) sings “Cat, O Cat”