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.
The Sorrow of Love
by William Butler Yeats
The quarrel of the sparrows in the eaves,
The full round moon and the star-laden sky,
And the loud song of the ever-singing leaves,
Had hid away earth’s old and weary cry.
And then you came with those red mournful lips,
And with you came the whole of the world’s tears,
And all the trouble of her laboring ships,
And all the trouble of her myriad years.
And now the sparrows warring in the eaves,
The curd-pale moon, the white stars in the sky,
And the loud chaunting of the unquiet leaves,
Are shaken with earth’s old and weary cry.
“The Sorrow of Love” by William Butler Yeats. Public domain.
It’s the birthday of James Joyce, (books by this author) born in Dublin (1882), who said, “The demand that I make of my reader is that he should devote his whole life to reading my works.” Joyce wrote Ulysses (1922) and Finnegan’s Wake(1939);an autobiographical novel, Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man (1916); and a short-story collection, Dubliners (1914), among other works.
He was educated by Jesuits, first visited a prostitute at the age of 14, dropped out of medical school and aspired to be an opera star. He met and fell in love with a Galway hotel maid named Nora Barnacle when he was 22 years old, and he set the action of Ulysses on the day he had his first date with Nora, June 16, 1904. It’s now commemorated all over the world each year as Bloomsday, after the novel’s protagonist, Leopold Bloom.
Shortly after meeting Nora, he convinced her to leave Ireland with him and elope to continental Europe. He thought he’d lined up a teaching job as a language instructor, but that fell through, and he ended up working at a bank in Rome for a while. They were forever impoverished and constantly relying on Joyce’s brother Stanislaus for money.
They had a son, Giorgio, and after that James and Nora slept head to foot, an attempt at birth control. It didn’t seem to be an effective form, though, and Nora became pregnant with Lucia about a year after giving birth to Giorgio. Joyce was a doting father, liked to spoil his kids, never punished either one and once told an interviewer, “Children must be educated by love, not punishment.”
Nora was famously apathetic toward her husband’s writing. Joyce worked at night and laughed so loudly at his own words that Nora would get up and tell him to stop writing and stop laughing so that she could get a bit of sleep. Shortly after Ulysses (Joyce pronounced it “Oolissays”)was published, she remarked to a fan of his: “I’ve always told him he should give up writing and take up singing.” Ulysses took seven years of unbroken labor, which translated into 20,000 hours of work.
Joyce was afraid of thunder and lightning — during electrical storms, he would hide under bedcovers — and he was also afraid of dogs, and walked around town with rocks in his pockets in case he encountered any roaming mutts. He didn’t care for the arts other than music and literature, and he especially had no patience for art like painting. Over his desk he kept a photograph of a statue of Penelope (from Greek mythology, the wife of Odysseus/Ulysses) and a photograph of a man from Trieste, whom Joyce wouldn’t name but said was the model for Leopold Bloom. On his desk he had a tiny bronze statue of a woman lying back in a chair with a cat draped over her shoulders. All of his friends told him it was ugly, but he kept it on his desk anyway. One of his Parisian friends remarked, “He had not taste, only genius.”
Joyce liked to drink and he liked to dance; his daughter-in-law said that “liquor went to his feet, not head. “Joyce usually sat with his legs crossed with the toe of one crossed again under the calf of the other. He was kind and generous to strangers, and he was known to invite waiters to join him at his table for food and drink. Sylvia Beach, proprietor of Shakespeare and Co., said that Joyce “treated people invariably as his equals, whether they were writers, children, waiters, princesses, or charladies. What anybody had to say interested him; he told me that he had never met a bore. … If he arrived in a taxi, he wouldn’t get out until the driver had finished what he was saying. Joyce himself fascinated everybody; no one could resist his charm.”
James Joyce said, “The artist, like the God of the Creation, remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his fingernails.”
It was on this day in 1709 that the Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk was rescued from an island where he had been marooned for four years. Ten years later, Selkirk was the inspiration for Daniel Defoe’s (books by this author) popular novel Robinson Crusoe.
When he was in his late 20s, Selkirk got a job as a “privateer,” which was basically a pirate sanctioned by the British monarchy. Privateers were sent to terrorize and loot Spanish and Portuguese ships, trying to bring home as much wealth as possible. Selkirk’s boss was Captain William Dampier. In 1703, Dampier set out for South America as the captain of a ship named St. George. The voyage started out on a bad foot — Dampier got in a fight with a sailor the first night, and so from the beginning, the crew mistrusted their superiors.
In October of 1704, about a year after they had left Britain, the Cinque Ports sighted three islands. Those islands are the Juan Fernández Archipelago, about 400 miles off the coast of Chile, and are now officially named Robinson Crusoe, Alejandro Selkirk, and Santa Clara. There was fruit, there were turnips, there was fresh water. The men stocked up on food, but Stradling didn’t think they should waste time repairing the ship. Selkirk strongly disagreed. He thought it would sink if they didn’t take the time to fix it. Selkirk and Stradling got in a big argument that ended with Selkirk announcing he would stay on the island, urging the crew to do the same — they were angry with Stradling, and Selkirk thought they would take his side. But in the end, all of the crew went back on board the Cinque Ports, and Selkirk was left alone with some weapons, a cooking pot, tobacco, rum, cheese, and the Bible. Just before the ship sailed off, Selkirk panicked and begged to be let back on. The worst punishment for a pirate was to be marooned — many went crazy and died slow and painful deaths. But Stradling refused and sailed off. As Selkirk learned many years later, he had been right about the Cinque Ports — soon after he left it, the ship sank off the coast of Peru, and only a handful of men (including Stradling) survived, but they were captured by the Spanish and tortured in prison.
Selkirk thought a ship would appear any day to rescue him, but until it did, he began to learn how to survive on the island. He ended up spending four years and four months there. Because of the goats on the island, meat was plentiful. He drank goat’s milk, and he ate wild turnips and cabbage, which he cooked into a stew with goat meat and seasoned with black pepper. After he used up his bullets, he started catching goats by chasing them down, which caused his feet to become so calloused that after he left the island he couldn’t get shoes on his feet. The island was infested with rats, which had been brought over on earlier ships, and they nibbled at Selkirk during the night. So he befriended some feral cats, which kept him company and controlled the rat population. He sewed clothes and a shelter from goatskin. He camped out high on a hill so that he could see all the way to the horizon, looking for ships. A couple of times he got his hopes up, only to realize that the ships were Spanish ones — scared of being captured and tortured, he hid from the Spanish who came ashore for food and water.
But finally, on this day in 1709, a British ship called the Duke sailed into view. The Duke’s captain was Woodes Rogers, who was amazed to find a wild-looking man with a long beard who could barely speak coherently, and claimed to have been stranded for four years. But his claims were backed up by Dampier, who recognized Selkirk from the last time around. Rogers nicknamed Selkirk “Governor,” and took a liking to him. He helped Selkirk readjust to life with other people, and in turn Selkirk helped nurse Rogers’ diseased men back to health with good, fresh food.
No one knows when the British writer Daniel Defoe first heard of Selkirk’s adventures. Although there is a legend that Defoe met Selkirk at a pub called the Llandoger Trow in Bristol, it is more likely that Defoe read about Selkirk than that he actually met him. In any case, the story fascinated Defoe, and he was inspired to write Robinson Crusoe (1719).