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.
Detroit Lakes, MN
February 22, 2019
“Old Friends” Garrison Keillor, Christine DiGiallonardo, Richard Dworsky reunite at Historic Holmes Theatre. 7:30 p.m.
St. Cloud, MN
February 21, 2019
“Old Friends” Garrison Keillor, Christine DiGiallonardo, Richard Dworsky reunite at Pioneer Place on Fifth. 7:30 p.m.
by Mary Rose O’Reilly
In the end we left quickly, sheets
in the dryer, milk record tacked
over stalls. I can still say the name
of each cow in the order
she walked to the truck.
Neither of us took a look
over our shoulder: that option
comes back in dreams
like the heft in my hand of odd things,
nothing special, nothing the auctioneers
called collectible. Maybe a hammer
hung by its claw over the cream separator.
Something my dad handled.
Something l wish l had.
“Nothing Special” by Mary Rose O’Reilly from Earth, Mercy. © Louisiana State University Press, 2013. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
On this day in 1856, The American Party, also known as the “Know-Nothing Party,” nominated its first presidential candidate, former President Millard Fillmore. He carried one state, Maryland. The party was anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic, and began as a secret organization whose members, if asked if they belonged to it, were supposed to say, “I know nothing.”
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain was published on this day in 1885, with a notice on the front page: “NOTICE: PERSONS attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.”
The first paragraph reads:
“You don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain’t no matter. That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly. There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth. That is nothing. I never seen anybody but lied one time or another, without it was Aunt Polly, or the widow, or maybe Mary. Aunt Polly – Tom’s Aunt Polly, she is – and Mary, and the Widow Douglas is all told about in that book, which is mostly a true book, with some stretchers, as I said before.”
Wallace Stegner (books by this author) was born on this day in 1909 in Lake Mills, Iowa. He once said about his writing, “In fiction I think we should have no agenda but to tell the truth.” Over 60 years he wrote 30 books.
In 1964, Stegner started the Creative Writing Program at Stanford University. His students included Wendell Berry, Ken Kesey, Larry McMurtry, Thomas McGuane, and Raymond Carver. He fought for the preservation of Western land back in the 1950s. He said, “Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed … We need wilderness preserved — as much of it as is still left, and as many kinds — because it was the challenge against which our character as a people was formed … We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in. For it can be a means of reassuring ourselves of our sanity as creatures, a part of the geography of hope.”
It’s the birthday of novelist Toni Morrison (books by this author), born in Lorain, Ohio (1931). Both of her parents had moved up from the South. In Lorain, her family moved around a lot, often living in tiny apartments above grocery stores in neighborhoods of immigrants from all over the world.
Despite the poverty, she said: “My parents made all of us feel as though there were these rather extraordinary deserving people within us. I felt like an aristocrat — or what I think an aristocrat is.” Her mother — who came from a family of musicians — sang while she did chores, everything from opera arias to the blues. Morrison said about her mother: “When an eviction notice was put on our house, she tore it off. If there were maggots in our flour, she wrote a letter to Franklin Roosevelt. My mother believed something should be done about inhuman situations.”
Her parents encouraged her to read everything — she devoured Jane Austen, Gustave Flaubert, and Leo Tolstoy. And she listened to the radio. She said: “I was a radio child. You get in the habit of gathering information that way, and imagining the rest. You make it up. It was horrible to see pictures of Hamlet and Cinderella — it was awful.”
She was a single mother with two young sons when she took a job as an editor at Random House. She decided to work on a novel and published The Bluest Eye in 1970 and then her second novel, Sula (1973). She has been writing ever since, and her novels include Song of Solomon (1977), Beloved (1987), A Mercy (2008), Home (2012), and God Help the Child (2015). She won the Nobel Prize in 1993.
“My books are always questions for me. What if? How does it feel to …? Or what would it look like if you took racism out? Or what does it look like if you have the perfect town, everything you ever wanted? And so you ask a question, put it in a time when it would be theatrical to ask, and find the people who can articulate it for you and try to make them interesting. The rest of it is all structure, how to put it together.”