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 George Bilgere
I am floating in the public pool, an older guy
who has achieved much, including a mortgage,
two children, and health insurance, including dental.
I have a Premier Rewards Gold Card
from American Express, and my car
is large. I have traveled to Finland.
In addition, I once met Toni Morrison
at a book signing and made some remarks
she found “extremely interesting.” And last month
I was the subject of a local news story
called “Recyclers: Neighbors Who Care.” In short,
I am not someone you would take lightly.
But when I begin to playfully splash my wife,
the teenaged lifeguard raises her megaphone
and calls down from her throne, “No horseplay in the pool,”
and suddenly I am twelve again, a pale worm
at the feet of a blond and suntanned goddess,
and I just wish my mom would come pick me up.
“Horseplay” by George Bilgere from Blood Pages. University of Pittsburgh Press © 2018. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of short-story writer Lorrie Moore (books by this author), born in Glens Falls, New York (1957). She’s the author of the short-story collections Like Life (1990) and Birds of America (1998). She skipped a grade in school when she was growing up, and the difference in age between her and her classmates made her feel especially small and shy. She said: “I felt so completely thin that I was afraid to walk over grates. I thought I would fall down the slightest crevice and disappear.”
She started writing in college and published her first story in Seventeen magazine. She was so happy that she then proceeded to send them everything she’d ever written. She said: “They couldn’t get rid of me. I was like a stalker. I sent them everything, and of course they didn’t want anything more from me.”
It was only after she told her parents about her publication that she found out they had both wanted to be writers themselves. Her father went up into the attic and brought down stories that he’d once submitted to The New Yorker, and her mother admitted that she’d given up journalism for nursing.
In grad school, she realized she had to decide whether she wanted to devote her life to writing or to the piano, which had been her first love. She said: “The typewriter and the piano were actually similar ideas, for my mind and for my hands. I was completely unaccomplished musically [but] I was having ecstatic experiences in the practice room and wasn’t getting any writing done. So I had to choose.” She chose writing, and published her first book of short stories by the time she was 26 years old.
Lorrie Moore’s first book was Self Help (1985), in which the stories were written in the style of how-to manuals, including “How to Be an Other Woman,” “How to Talk to Your Mother,” and “How to Be a Writer.”
“How to Be a Writer” begins: “First, try to be something, anything, else. A movie star/astronaut. A movie star/missionary. A movie star/kindergarten teacher. President of the World. Fail miserably. It is best if you fail at an early age — say, 14. Early, critical disillusionment is necessary so that at 15 you can write long haiku sequences about thwarted desire.”
It’s the birthday of the novelist Jay McInerney (books by this author), born in Hartford, Connecticut (1955). His father was an international sales executive with the Scott Paper Company, and he had to move around a lot, so young Jay grew up in a series of cities around the world, including London, Vancouver, and Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He attended 18 elementary schools before he finally started high school.
After college, he wound up in New York City, where he worked for Random House and got involved in the glamorous nightlife of fashion parties and dance clubs. One day, a co-worker introduced him to the writer Raymond Carver, and Carver told McInerney that if he ever wanted to be a writer he had to get out of the city and away from all the parties so that he would be able to think, and that’s what he did. He moved to Syracuse, New York, and in six weeks he wrote his first novel, Bright Lights, Big City (1983). It has sold more than a million copies.
He was out doing some last-minute Christmas shopping for his wife in 1957 when he came across a small toy bear sitting on a shelf. It was the only one in the display that had not been sold, and Bond thought the bear looked “very sorry for himself.” He bought the bear and then named him “Paddington” because he and his wife lived near the Paddington underground station in London.
The bear is from Peru and had been sent to England — along with a jar of marmalade — by his Aunt Lucy. He wears a label that says, “Please look after this bear.” Throughout a series of children’s books, Paddington Bear gets into troublesome situations, but always emerges safely and everything turns out fine.
Michael Bond said: “One of the nice things about writing for children is their total acceptance of the fantastic. Give a child a stick and a patch of wet sand and it will draw the outline of a boat and accept it as such. I did learn though, that to make fantasy work you have to believe in it yourself. If an author doesn’t believe in his inventions and his characters nobody else will. Paddington to me is, and always has been, very much alive.”
Michael Bond died on July 27, 2017. The sequel to the hit movie based on Paddington Bear, Paddington 2, opened November 5th of 2017 and was dedicated to his memory.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®