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+
by Willa Cather
Where are the loves that we have loved before
When once we are alone, and shut the door ?
No matter whose the arms that held me fast,
The arms of Darkness hold me at the last.
No matter down what primrose path I tend,
I kiss the lips of Silence in the end.
No matter on what heart I found delight,
I come again unto the breast of Night.
No matter when or how love did befall,
‘Tis Loneliness that loves me best of all,
And in the end she claims me, and I know
That she will stay, though all the rest may go.
No matter whose the eyes that I would keep
Near in the dark, ’tis in the eyes of Sleep
That I must look and look forever more,
When once I am alone, and shut the door.
“L’Envoi” by Willa Cather. Public domain. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of the woman who said: “It is a solemn and terrible thing to write a novel.” That’s the novelist Willa Cather (books by this author), born in the village of Back Creek near Winchester, Virginia (1873). When Cather was nine years old, she and her family left their home in Virginia to homestead in Nebraska, and the Nebraska prairie is the setting of her great novels O Pioneers! (1913) and My Ántonia (1918).
But Cather’s productive years as a writer were spent not in Nebraska but in New York City. She moved there in 1906 when she was offered a job as managing editor at McClure’s magazine. She lived with Edith Lewis in a studio apartment at 60 Washington Square South, in a red-brick row house.
She published her first novel, Alexander’s Bridge (1912), which she later admitted was a forced effort. After she published her first novel about Nebraska, O Pioneers! (1913), she knew she had found her place as a writer. She compared writing O Pioneers! to writing Alexander’s Bridge: “Here there was no arranging or ‘inventing’; everything was spontaneous and took its own place, right or wrong.”
Cather followed up O Pioneers! with My Ántonia (1918), another novel set in the prairies of her childhood. Her other novels include The Song of the Lark (1915), One of Ours (1922), and Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927).
It’s the birthday of novelist Susan Minot (books by this author), born in Boston (1956). She was one of seven children, and they grew up in Manchester-by-the-Sea, a town on the Massachusetts coast. Her father came from old money, descended straight from the Boston Brahmins, and her mother was a lively Irish-Catholic woman. Susan Minot said: “I didn’t like what was going on. I didn’t like being stuck in a house. Too many people around. One of the reasons I became a writer is that I had to go into a room and sit down in order to know what was going on in my head.”
Her father was an alcoholic, and when she was a senior at Brown, her mother died in a car crash. Her sister Eliza was seven years old, and so after Susan graduated from college, she moved back home to be with her sister. She figured that writing would be a nice flexible job that she could do while Eliza was at school.
In 1986, she published Monkeys, a book of connected stories drawing heavily on her own life — it tells the story of a family of seven children raised in an upper-class New England family, with an alcoholic father and a warm Irish-Catholic mother who dies in a car crash.
Susan Minot went on to write several other novels, including Evening (1998), Rapture (2002), and the long-awaited Thirty Girls (2014). She also wrote a book of poems, Poems 4 A.M. (2002).
She said: “The word dysfunction has, I think, served its purpose and now has lost its meaning. Every family, like every person, is imperfect, after all. The idea that there is a Family somewhere who functions is an odd concept. In my youth I was running from my family to try to find out who I was — their influence distracted me. Now I see what a powerful hold they have, no matter what.”
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt called December 7th “a date which will live in infamy,” because it was on this day in 1941 that Japanese planes attacked the naval base at Pearl Harbor. More than 2,300 Americans died in the attack, and the United States joined World War II, which it had stayed out of for more than two years, adhering to its policy of neutrality in Europe’s affairs.
It was on this day in 1972 that astronauts on the Apollo 17 spacecraft took a famous photograph of Earth, a photo that came to be known as “The Blue Marble.” Photographs of Earth from space were relatively new.
In 1948, the astronomer Fred Hoyle said, “Once a photograph of the Earth, taken from the outside, is available — once the sheer isolation of the Earth becomes plain — a new idea as powerful as any in history will be let loose.”
The photograph captured on this day forty-seven years ago was the first clear image of the Earth, because the sun was at the astronauts’ back, and so the planet appears lit up and you can distinctly see blue, white, brown, even green. It became a symbol of the environmental movement of the 1970s, and it’s the image that gets put on flags, T-shirts, bumper stickers, and posters.
The crew of Apollo 17 was about 18,000 miles away from Earth when they took the Blue Marble photo. It was the last time that astronauts, not robots, were on a lunar mission — since then, no people have gotten far enough away from Earth to take a photo like it.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®