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+
You Found That Thing You Lost
by David Kirby
The planner with all your dates in it, your ring, even something
of no importance at all: your favorite pen, say, though you can
buy a dozen at the corner drugstore, or the list of things you
want to do today, even though you remember writing nothing
more than “call George” and “buy coffee.” You didn’t need
to do that: you’ll know to buy coffee when you run out.
And which George? You know three Georges. If you can’t
remember which one to call, maybe you don’t need to call
any of them. What do you need? If you were a doomsday prepper,
it would make sense to have beer and wine. It would make
more sense to have a book that told you how to make beer
and wine, and, by the same token, if not guns, at least friends
with guns. Penicillin, bleach, solar panels: you’d need all that,
and an acoustical instrument so you could while away the hours.
Paranoia, self-righteousness…. Oh, and a copy of Ulysses—
you’ll be able to get through it this time. Comic books,
board games, chewing tobacco, a fishing line and hooks,
duct tape, aluminum foil, Vaseline: all that less one thing,
the one you want to lose. There’s something you’ll regret
bringing with you into your cave, that should have stayed
outside on the treeless earth with its ceaseless winds
and that light that never changes. What is it?
“You Found That Thing You Lost” by David Kirby from More Than This. Louisiana State University Press © 2019. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of baseball player Joe DiMaggio (1914) born in Martinez, California. Joe DiMaggio is remembered as one of baseball’s most graceful athletes. Many consider his 56-consecutive-game hitting streak in 1941 as the top baseball feat of all time. He was nicknamed “The Yankee Clipper.” In 13 seasons, he hit 361 homers, averaged 118 RBI annually and compiled a .325 lifetime batting mark. At Baseball’s 1969 Centennial Celebration, he was named the game’s greatest living player.
It’s the birthday of the novelist Helen Hooven Santmyer (books by this author), born in Cincinnati, Ohio (1895). When she was five years old, she moved with her family to the small town of Xenia, Ohio, where she grew up. She went off to New York and got a job as a secretary for Scribner’s Magazine, where she met many writers, including Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
But after a few years of living in New York City, and then studying at Oxford, she moved back to Xenia where she was elected to the membership of the Xenia Women’s Club.
She was writing all the time and even published a few novels, but they had little success. It was only after her retirement that Santmyer began to delve into the history of her hometown, eventually writing a collection of essays called Ohio Town: A Portrait of Xenia (1862). Then she began an epic novel about a small-town women’s group based on her own Women’s Club of Xenia. The finished product …And Ladies of the Club (1982) was more than 1,300 pages long. It was published by the Ohio State Press and sold about 300 copies.
The book sat on a few library shelves around Ohio, unread for the most part, until the mother of a Hollywood executive happened to read it and she passed it on to her son. He thought the book would make a good mini-series, so he bought the television and movie rights to the novel. It was reissued in a paperback and became a Book-of-the-Month Club selection, reaching No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list in 1985. Helen Hooven Santmyer had become a best-selling novelist and literary celebrity at the age of 88.
It’s the birthday of physician and essayist Lewis Thomas (books by this author), born in Flushing, New York (1913). He’s the author of The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher (1974), The Medusa and the Snail: More Notes of a Biology Watcher (1979), The Youngest Science: Notes of a Medicine Watcher (1983), and Late Night Thoughts on Mahler’s Ninth Symphony (1984).
When Thomas entered Princeton in 1929, his interest was biological research with the hope of increasing the effectiveness of treatment. His other great interest was the poetry of Pound and Eliot.
During World War II, Thomas did field research on typhus and encephalitis for the U.S. Navy. He landed with the Marines during the invasion of Okinawa carrying a special case full of laboratory white mice. After the war, he built up his academic credentials at various medical schools and eventually, in 1973, became president of the Sloan-Kettering Institute in New York City, one of the world’s largest facilities devoted to cancer research.
Now at the top of his profession, Thomas attained popular recognition for work of an entirely different sort. He had written or co-written more than 200 scientific articles, but it was his series of short essays that was receiving attention. His essays were loosely modeled on the essays of Montaigne. The series had been appearing on the back pages of The New England Journal of Medicine since 1971 as informal essays.
Thomas wrote late at night, quickly and without an outline, usually shortly after the deadline. He addressed his readers as friends in a conversation, not as scientific colleagues, and he included no reference notes at the end. His essays mix facts about the human body with personal meditation and thoughts about the connectedness of man and the universe.
In 1974, Viking Press collected 29 of the essays, exactly as they had appeared, in The Lives of a Cell, which was awarded the National Book Award in 1975, nominated in both the arts and the sciences categories but finally selected for arts and letters. Within five years, it had been translated into 11 languages and sold more than 250,000 copies.
Lewis Thomas said: “The great secret of doctors, known only to their wives, but still hidden from the public, is that most things get better by themselves; most things, in fact, are better in the morning.”
It’s the birthday of children’s author and illustrator P.D. Eastman (books by this author), born Philip Dey “Phil” Eastman in Amherst (1909). Eastman is best known by children and parents for his books within the Dr. Seuss imprint “Beginning Books,” like Go, Dog. Go! (1961) and You My Mother? (1960).
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®