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+
My First Face
by Sarah Wetzel
For fifty-five years, Borges slowly went blind,
losing first grey and green, the small fonts, the leaf’s
network of veins, then the difference between cerulean
and sapphire, between Chianti and claret. In the end,
it was every edition of Shakespeare, love looks not with eyes,
winged Cupid’s painted blind. Five years later, everything
black, Borges said, I’d always imagined that paradise
would resemble a library. No one asked, What, abandoned
to your labyrinth of darkness, do you imagine now?
A man I married told me one morning,
I don’t think I love you. We’d been married twelve years
though it took him another two years
to walk out the door. To be honest, I never loved him,
not even as I said yes. Yet I know, I’d still be with him
if he hadn’t left.
Borges knew from a young age he would, like his father
and his father’s father before him, become sightless. It’s why
he read every book, he said, before he was fifty.
Why he refused to learn Braille and how
he could tell just by listening how many books
a bookstore held. It’s how, even blind, he could draw
his own face––a scrawl without a mouth or eyes, a ball
of black string tossed on a white sheet of paper. The truth
is not always what’s written down––
I loved that man and, if only a little, I love him still.
“My First Face” by Sarah Wetzel from The Davids Inside David. © Terrapin Books, 2019. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of poet Theodore Roethke (books by this author), born in Saginaw, Michigan, in 1908. He grew up working with his father and uncle in his family’s greenhouses, and later said, “They were to me, I realize now, both heaven and hell, a kind of tropics created in the savage climate of Michigan, where austere German Americans turned their love of order and their terrifying efficiency into something beautiful.”
It’s the birthday of novelist Robert Ludlum (1927) (books by this author), born in New York City. He wrote paranoia thrillers, and he’s best known for The Bourne Identity (1980) and its sequels. He started out as an actor and producer for the stage and TV, and didn’t turn to writing until later in life; his first novel, The Scarlatti Inheritance(1971), was published when he was 44. Working in the theater gave him some strong opinions about plot: “I get annoyed when a self-indulgent writer just shows off what he knows but doesn’t really tell a story. To me storytelling is first a craft. Then if you’re lucky, it becomes an art form. But first, it’s got to be a craft. You’ve got to have a beginning, middle and end.”
Ludlum died in 2001, but his brand lives on through the Bourne Identity movies.
Today is the birthday of short-story writer, poet, and occasional essayist Raymond Carver (1938) (books by this author), born in Clatskanie, Oregon. He was the son of a sawmill worker, and he got married young — right out of high school — to his 16-year-old girlfriend, Maryann Burk. He took a college creative writing course in California when he was 20, and that sparked his first interest in writing as a profession. He’s best known for his short stories, but he was also an accomplished poet in the realist tradition of Robert Frost and W.S. Merwin.
Today is the birthday of philosopher, poet, and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson (books by this author). He was born in Boston in 1803, and his father’s unmarried sister, Mary Moody Emerson, was a great influence on him. She wasn’t formally educated, but she was sharp, and she was widely read. She introduced young Waldo, as he was called, to a wide variety of philosophies and spiritual beliefs, including the Hindu scriptures that he would return to in later years, and it was from her that he got many of the aphorisms he passed on to his children, like “Always do what you are afraid to do,” and “Despise trifles,” and “Oh, blessed, blessed poverty.” He entered Harvard at 14, and he began keeping journals, which he called his “savings bank”; when he became friends with Thoreau in 1837, he suggested that Thoreau, too, might benefit from keeping a journal.
In his book Nature (1836), Emerson first introduced the concept of Transcendentalism — the idea that spiritual truth could be gained by intuition rather than by established doctrine or text — and he would become a leader of that movement. He was a popular public speaker, and gave more than 1,500 speeches in his lifetime.
From the essay “The Over-Soul” (1841):
“And this deep power in which we exist, and whose beatitude is all accessible to us, is not only self-sufficing and perfect in every hour, but the act of seeing and the thing seen, the seer and the spectacle, the subject and the object, are one.”