December 16, 2018
Garrison Keillor returns to Crooner’s with singer Christine DiGiallonardo & pianist Richard Dworsky. Shows at 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
New York, NY
December 2, 2018
A mini Prairie Home reunion featuring Garrison Keillor, Rob Fisher, Fred Newman, and Heather Masse and Christine DiGiallonardo.
November 3, 2018
Garrison Keillor performs with duet partner Lynne Peterson and longtime collaborator & pianist Richard Dworsky.
5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
A live performance at the Brady Theater
Long Beach, CA
A live performance at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center
The Hero’s Luck by Lawrence Raab, from The History of Forgetting. © Penguin Books, 2009. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
When something bad happens
we play it back in our minds,
looking for a place to step in
and change things. We should go outside
right now, you might have said. Or:
Let’s not drive anywhere today.
The sea rises, the mountain collapses.
A car swerves toward the crowd
you’ve just led your family into.
We all look for reasons. Luck
isn’t the word you want to hear.
What happened had to,
or it didn’t. Maybe
the exceptional man can change direction
in midair, thread the needle’s eye,
and come out whole. But even the hero
who stands up to chance has to feel
how far the world will bend
until it breaks him. He can see
that day: the unappeasable ocean,
the cascades of stone. A crowd
gathers around his body. He sees that too.
someone is saying: His luck just ran out.
It happens to us all.
It’s the birthday of the man who wrote, “Since feeling is first / who pays any attention / to the syntax of things / will never wholly kiss you.” That’s E.E. Cummings, (books by this author) born Edward Estlin Cummings in Cambridge, Massachusetts (1894), who penned nearly 3,000 poems, a couple of autobiographical novels, and several essays and plays.
He majored in classics at Harvard, gave a controversial graduation speech on modern art, worked for a mail-order bookseller, got bored, and volunteered along with his college writer friend John Dos Passos for an ambulance corps serving in France during World War I. It was in 1917, and partly to entertain himself and see what the censors would do, he wrote provocative letters espousing anti-war views and professing not to hate those enemy Germans. The French censors intercepted the letters and put him in a military detention camp on suspicion of espionage.
He got out of jail because his dad was well-connected, and came home a few months later, just in time for Christmas that year. He was promptly drafted into the U.S. Army and sent to infantry training camp. About five years later, in 1922, he published The Enormous Room, an autobiographical novel in which he made fun of the prison guards and sympathized with his fellow inmates at the camp. One biographer noted: “Cummings’ account of his imprisonment was oddly cheerful in tone and freewheeling in style. He depicted his internment camp stay as a period of inner growth.” He was only 28 years old when the book was published, and the book made him famous.
He published a few volumes of poetry and took a job as a traveling correspondent for Vanity Fair magazine. In the afternoons he painted and in the evenings he wrote, a routine he kept up for the rest of his life.
It was on this day in 1926 that Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne was published (books by this author). Milne was a writer for Punch, and many of his first “children’s” poems and stories were printed there, not intended for children at all but for whimsical adult readers. The first Pooh story, “In Which We are Introduced to Winnie-the-Pooh and Some Bees and the Stories Begin,” was published in The London Evening News on Christmas Eve in 1925 and broadcast on the BBC the next day.
Even though Milne based the Winnie-the-Pooh stories on his son, Christopher Robin, and his son’s stuffed bear, he didn’t even read the stories aloud to Christopher Robin. Milne preferred to read his young son the novels of P.G. Wodehouse. Christopher Robin later said: “My father did not write the books for children. He didn’t write for any specific market; he knew nothing about marketing. He knew about me, he knew about himself, he knew about the Garrick Club — he was ignorant about anything else. Except, perhaps, about life.”
“Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it. And then he feels that perhaps there isn’t. Anyhow, here he is at the bottom, and ready to be introduced to you. Winnie-the-Pooh.
“When I first heard his name, I said, just as you are going to say, ‘But I thought he was a boy?’
“‘So did I,’ said Christopher Robin.
“‘Then you can’t call him Winnie?’
“‘But you said —’
“‘He’s Winnie-ther-Pooh. Don’t you know what “ther” means?’
“‘Ah, yes, now I do,’ I said quickly; and I hope you do too, because it is all the explanation you are going to get.”
It’s the birthday of the 34th President Dwight D. Eisenhower born in Denison, Texas (1890). He grew up in a poor family that was very religious. His mother was a pacifist. When her son chose to go to West Point for college, she broke down in tears. He took a position training soldiers after he graduated in 1915. He wanted to go overseas to fight in World War I, but it ended a week before he was supposed to go over to Europe. He wrote a guidebook of World War I battlefields, but was then stationed in the Philippines.
He finally got back to the United States in 1939, and he was stationed at a based in Louisiana where he supervised the largest military games ever carried out in this country, a simulation designed to help prepare for a land war in Europe. Eisenhower planned the strategy for the invading army, and the following December, after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, he was put in charge of the strategy for an Allied invasion of Europe.
It’s the birthday of the short-story writer Katherine Mansfield (books by this author), born in Wellington, New Zealand (1888). She was the daughter of a successful businessman who sent her away to school in England. At 18, her parents brought her back to New Zealand, and she found that she no longer had anything in common with her family.
She became one of the wildest bohemians in New Zealand. She had affairs with men and women, lived with Aborigines, and published scandalous stories. She moved back to London and lived in the bohemian scene there. At one point, she married a man she barely knew and left him before the wedding night was over because she couldn’t stand the pink bedspread.
She didn’t begin to write the stories that made her famous until her younger brother came to see her in 1915. They had long talks, reminiscing about growing up in New Zealand. He left that fall for World War I and was killed two months later. She was devastated by his death, and she wrote a series of short stories about her childhood, including “The Garden Party,” which many critics consider to be her masterpiece.
She said, “Why be given a body if you have to keep it shut up in a case like a rare fiddle?”