Las Vegas, NV
May 20, 2020
Garrison Keillor hits Las Vegas with a new solo show!
April 18, 2020
Garrison Keillor comes to the Rochester Civic Theatre for a night of stories, songs, poetry, and humor. Tickets $50 and up
February 19, 2020
Garrison Keillor with Heather Masse at the Dakota. Night 2 of 2. Tickets $30+
February 18, 2020
Garrison Keillor with Heather Masse at the Dakota. Night 1 of 2. Tickets $30+
“It is solved by walking.”
by Billy Collins
I sometimes wonder about the thoughtful Roman
who came up with the notion
that any problem can be solved by walking.
Maybe his worries were minor enough
to be banished by a little amble
along the paths of his gardens,
or, if he faced a tough one––
whether to invite Lavinia or Pomponia to the feast––
walking to the Coliseum would show him the one to pick.
The maxim makes it sound so simple:
go for a walk until you find a solution
then walk back home with a clear head.
No problem, as they used to say in ancient Rome.
But one night, a sticky one might take you
for a walk past the limits of a city,
beyond the streetlights of its suburbs,
and there you are, knocking on the door of a farmer,
who keeps you company on the porch
until your wife comes to fetch you
and drive you and your problem back home,
your problem taking up most of the back seat
and staring at your wife in the rear-view mirror.
And what about the mathematician
who tried to figure out some devilish
mind-crusher like Goldbach’s conjecture
and taking the Latin to heart,
walked to the very bottom of Patagonia?
There he stood on a promontory,
so the locals like to tell you,
staring beyond the end of the hemisphere,
with nothing but the cries of seabirds,
waves exploding on the rocks,
clouds rushing down the sky,
and him having figured the whole thing out.
“Solvitur Ambulando” by Billy Collins from The Rain in Portugal. © Random House, 2016. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of best-selling novelist Tom Clancy (books by this author), born in Baltimore, Maryland (1947). He was rejected from military service because his eyesight was bad, but he went on to write military techno-thrillers that have earned him status as a military expert, although he has never served. His novels include The Hunt for Red October (1984), The Sum of All Fears (1991), Executive Orders (1996), Battle Ready (2004), and Dead or Alive (2010). He said, “The difference between reality and fiction? Fiction has to make sense.”
It’s the birthday of writer Jon Krakauer (books by this author), born in Brookline, Massachusetts (1954). He was raised in Oregon, where he took up mountain climbing. He worked as a carpenter and a commercial salmon fisherman to support his climbing habit, and after he’d done three Alaska climbs he was asked to write an article about it, which turned him on to magazine writing.
In 1993, he got an assignment from Outside magazine to write about the story of a young man who’d graduated from college, changed his name, left his family and savings behind, walked into the Alaskan wilderness to make a new life, and perished four months later. That became his Krakauer”s first book, Into the Wild (1996), a best-seller that was later made into a movie.
The year that book was published, Krakauer took on another assignment from Outside to ascend Mount Everest for an article that was supposed to be about the commercialization of climbing. But a blizzard struck during the expedition, and eight of 23 people died. Krakauer continued to report throughout the disaster, filling nine notebooks with his observations with a special pen that could write in extreme cold. The only day he failed to write was the day he reached the summit, drastically sleep- and oxygen-deprived; although he attempted to take some notes early that morning, they were illegible and insensible. Realizing that his own memories were unreliable, Krakauer interviewed the surviving climbers.
He returned, wrote a very long article as promised, and vowed to put the subject out of his mind completely. But after discovering that his article had included a mistake about one of the climbers who’d died, he began to obsess about how he hadn’t been able to tell the full, complicated story in his article. In nearly three months, writing 14 to 20 hours a day, he finished Into Thin Air (1997), which became another best-seller.