April 27, 2019
Garrison Keillor celebrates National Poetry Month with poems & song at a benefit for Performing Arts of Woodstock.
CROONERS SUPPER CLUB
April 14, 2019
At 76 years old, Garrison Keillor makes his solo nightclub debut! 5:00 p.m.
March 28, 2019
Garrison Keillor heads to Steele County for a solo performance to benefit the Historical Society. 7:30 p.m.
February 24, 2019
“Old Friends” Garrison Keillor, Christine DiGiallonardo, Richard Dworsky reunite at Crooners. Shows at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Fergus Falls, MN
February 23, 2019
“Old Friends” Garrison Keillor, Christine DiGiallonardo, Richard Dworsky reunite at A Center for the Arts. 7:30 p.m.
by Marie Howe
turning it this way and that:
OK, here it is, the doctor said,
and there was the little tumor
of nerves or blood that ought not
to be there: my brain’s upper right window,
a little face peeking out, a child
who won’t go to bed: little knot of cells
little hairball on the sill,
Benign is what he said, as God is said to be,
but for a moment I still stood,
–– I could almost feel it with my foot,
in the place where they had stood:
John and Jane and Billy.
Then I was in the corridor again,
It was Spring Street in February and raining,
and the negatives slipped into a plain brown envelope
so I could take them home with me.
“The Visit” by Marie Howe, from What the Living Do. © W.W. Norton & Company, 1998. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of novelist Barbara Kingsolver, (books by this author) born in Annapolis, Maryland (1955). She grew up in a house in an alfalfa field in rural Kentucky, where her dad was the county doctor. When she was seven, her father moved the family to the Congo for a year so he could work as a medical missionary, and she started keeping a diary. They came back to Kentucky, and she kept writing in her journal, eventually writing stories and poems. She was tall and thin and bookish, and she felt like an outsider at school — she said, “I wanted to read Anna Karenina and everybody else wanted to do stuff in the back of cars.”
She was a good writer. She was also a good pianist, and so she got a scholarship to DePauw University for piano. Even though she really wanted to be a writer, she didn’t think it was any more lucrative than music, so she switched her major from music to biology. She moved to Tucson and wrote a thesis on termite behavior for her master’s degree at the University of Arizona, but she decided academia wasn’t for her and she didn’t want to finish her Ph.D. She got a job doing technical writing for the Office of Arid Land Studies at the university, and she wrote stories on her own, but she didn’t show them to anyone. Finally she decided to enter a short-story contest sponsored by an alternative weekly paper in Phoenix. She never heard anything from them, and it was more than a year later that a friend mentioned reading her story, and she realized that she had won and the paper had forgotten to tell her.
So she kept writing stories, and then she got pregnant, and she developed insomnia, so at night she took her typewriter into the closet and wrote, because it was the only place in the house where she wouldn’t wake up her husband. She realized that she was writing a novel about a young woman desperate to escape her life in rural Kentucky, who moves to Tucson and ends up with the custody of a young Cherokee girl named Turtle. That novel was The Bean Trees (1988), and it gained a steady following and got good reviews, and she wrote two more novels, Animal Dreams (1990) and Pigs in Heaven (1993), as well as books of essays and short stories.
But for all those years, she had the idea for another novel in mind, about a missionary family in the Belgian Congo. She had a folder on her desk that she called the “damn Africa file,” and she just kept adding to it. She looked back to the journal she had kept as a girl in the Congo, but she said: “The entries were basically ‘Got up had breakfast. Later we had lunch.’ For me the whole experience was like ‘Yippee I’m missing second grade.'” So she did research — read self-published memoirs of missionaries in the ’50s, studied the Kikongo language, read the Bible over and over, traveled to Central Africa. And after many years, she published The Poisonwood Bible (1998), and it was a huge best-seller, selling more than 2 million copies.
When someone asked her what her background in science has given her, she said: “A passion for research. The best research gets your fingers dusty and your shoes dirty, especially because a novel is made of details. I had to translate places through my senses into the senses of my readers. I had to know what a place smelled like, what it sounded like […] There’s no substitute for that. I’ve been steeped in evidence-based truth.”
Her more recent works include Prodigal Summer (2000), The Lacuna (2009), Flight Behavior (2012), and Unsheltered (2018).