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+
Litany of the Desk Drawer
by Barbara Crooker
I believe in the dark desk drawer,
the nubs of erasers too worn
to rub anything out, pencils
too short to be sharpened. Nibs
of pens, tips meant to screw
into barrels thirsty for ink.
An ode to penmanship in a time
of keyboards. I believe in all
the bits and pieces—paper clips
that no longer hold their u’s, folded
slips of paper scribbled with illegible
words. I keep digging and find:
Brass fasteners. Three hole punchers.
Stamps in former denominations.
Gummed reinforcers, those little
life preservers. Snips of lead, pencil
shavings, staples that have slipped
out of line. Mucilage, its slit
of a mouth glued shut. I believe
that although nothing I need
can be found here, in the tomb
of the no-longer-used, that even
the smallest scrap can somehow
be of use.
“Litany of the Desk Drawer” by Barbara Crooker from Les Fauves. © C&R Press, 2017. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
The Constitutional Convention was scheduled to convene in Philadelphia on this date in 1787. The date had been agreed upon the previous fall, in order to address the flaws of the Articles of Confederation and to “form a more perfect union.” There was great concern over the Articles. They didn’t provide against foreign attacks, secure harmony to the states, or defend against encroachments; nor were they superior to the constitutions of individual states. George Washington felt they were “liable to be overturned by every blast.”
But when May 14 arrived, only 8 of the 55 delegates showed up. James Madison wrote to
Thomas Jefferson that bad weather had kept many from arriving on time.
By May 25, there were finally enough delegates present—30 out of 55—and things got underway. One of the first things the convention established was its secrecy rule, “that nothing spoken in the house be printed, or otherwise published or communicated without leave.” The rule went so far as to require the windows to remain closed and the heavy draperies pulled shut, much to the discomfort of the formally dressed, bewigged, and powdered delegates who were locked indoors all summer with no prospect of cooling breezes.
One of the convention’s key arguments was over representation. Federalists from large, wealthy states believed that share in government should be based on wealth and population. Anti-Federalists from smaller states, believed each state should have an equal say. Neither side would back down, and finally the Connecticut Compromise was reached: a bicameral legislature. In the upper house of Congress, each state would receive an equal number of representatives; proportional representation would be the rule of the lower house. Another sticking point came in determining a state’s population. Not everyone agreed on whether slaves were people or property. After much haggling, slaves were awarded three-fifths personhood, and were taxed as property.
The convention also worked out whether the presidency would be a single office or divided among three people; what would constitute an impeachable offense; and how federal judges were to be appointed. After four months, the convention produced the United States Constitution, the supreme law of the country, signed by 39 of the delegates.
It was on this day in 1925 that Virginia Woolf’s (books by this author) novel Mrs Dalloway was published. It’s about a woman named Clarissa Dalloway who is hosting a party in London. The entire novel is set on a single day in June, and it features stream-of-consciousness storytelling techniques. Virginia Woolf was a big fan of James Joyce’s Ulysses, published three years prior, also set on a single day in June and featuring stream-of-consciousness storytelling techniques.
It’s the birthday of Eoin Colfer, (pronounced Owen) (books by this author) born in Wexford, Ireland (1965) whose Artemis Fowl series of novels for young adults have sold more than 25 million copies around the world.
Colfer once described the series as “Die Hard with fairies.” Its protagonist is a brilliant teenage criminal named Artemis Fowl II who masterminds various complicated scams around the world — the stories are set in Siberia, in Vietnam, in Morocco, in Paris, Chicago, parts of Ireland — all with the goal of getting filthy rich. The books are filled with fairies and fairy institutions; there’s even a fairy government and a fairy police force.
It’s the birthday of musician, filmmaker installation artist, recording executive and writer David Byrne, (books by this author) born in Dumbarton, Scotland (1952), who’s been called the “thinking man’s rock star” by The New York Times and “Rock’s Renaissance Man” by Time magazine.
He attended the Rhode Island School of Design, where he met the people with whom he formed the band Talking Heads in the 1970s.
David Byrne has also given TED Talks, designed bicycle parking racks, made visual art that’s been shown around the country, and written a number of books including Sins (2001) which he says is about “what we often mistakenly consider virtues”; The Bicycle Diaries (2009); and How Music Works (2012).