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+
Citizen of Dark Times
by Kim Stafford
Agenda in a time of fear: Be not afraid.
When things go wrong, do right.
Set out by the half-light of the seeker.
For the well-lit problem begins to heal.
Learn tropism toward the difficult.
We have not arrived to explain, but to sing.
Young idealism ripens into an ethical life.
Prune back regret to let faith grow.
When you hit rock bottom, dig farther down.
Grief is the seed of singing, shame the seed of song.
Keep seeing what you are not saying.
Plunder your reticence.
Songbird guards a twig, its only weapon a song.
Kim Stafford, “Citizen of Dark Times” from Wild Honey, Tough Salt. Copyright © 2019 by Kim Stafford. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Red Hen Press, www.redhen.org. (buy now)
Wodehouse was born Pelham Grenville Wodehouse. His father was a magistrate in Hong Kong who could trace the family’s ancestry back to the 13th century. Wodehouse was known as “Plum” within his family and lived his first two years in Hong Kong.
Wodehouse was best known for creating the characters of wealthy but featherbrained Bertie Wooster of Blandings Castle and his supercilious valet, Jeeves. They appeared in more than 10 novels and 30 stories.
There wasn’t money for university when he graduated from Dulwich College, so he took a junior position at the London office of the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank, which he found confusing and tedious. He started writing what were known as “school articles” for Public School Magazine (1898), which was a journal for young boys. He wrote a comic piece called “Men Who Missed Their Own Weddings” for a magazine called Tit-Bits (1900), and it was so popular that he quit the bank and began writing full time and never stopped for the rest of his life.
After his first novel, The Pot-Hunters (1902), was published, he wrote eight more novels in the next seven years. He also wrote the lyrics for musicals, including Leave it to Jane (1917) and Oh, Boy! (1917) and, at one point, had five musicals running on Broadway at once. Wodehouse had sailed for America in 1904, calling it “a land of romance.” He earned $2,000 a week writing screenplays for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Most of them were never made, but it didn’t matter to him. Wodehouse’s stories and novels about Bertie Wooster and his unctuous valet, Jeeves, were incredibly popular, beginning with the first, Extricating Young Gussie (1915), and lasting until the 1970s.
Wodehouse wrote seven days a week from 4 to 7 p.m., but never after dinner. He began each novel by writing over 400 pages of notes, including an outline and plot. He said, “For a humorous novel, you’ve got to have a scenario, and you’ve got to test it so that you know where the comedy comes in, where the situations come in … splitting it up into scenes (you can make a scene of almost anything) and have as little stuff in between as possible.”
Today is the birthday of the poet Virgil (books by this author), born Publius Vergilius Maro near Mantua, Italy (70 BC). His father was a peasant farmworker who raised his own social status by marrying his boss’s daughter. Virgil was sent to Milan, Rome, and Naples for his education in philosophy and rhetoric. He planned to become a lawyer, but he was too shy to speak in public. He also found that he missed the rural Italian countryside, so he returned to the family farm and wrote poetry.
Virgil’s work so impressed the emperor Augustus that Virgil was given two villas to live in and a generous stipend to live on for the rest of his days. With the civil wars over, Rome had entered one of its first periods of stability and peace, and Virgil set out to write an epic poem about the country that could give all Romans national pride. He called his poem The Aeneid. It tells the story of Aeneas, one of the soldiers in the Trojan War, traveling home from Troy to found a new city that would become Rome.
It’s the birthday of Helen Hunt Jackson (books by this author), born in Amherst, Massachusetts (1830), where she went to school with Emily Dickinson. She had a steady career as a ladies’ author, but when she heard Chief Standing Bear of the Poncas give a speech about the destruction of his people, she became an activist overnight. She wrote a novel called Ramona (1884) about a mixed-race Spanish woman and her Native American lover, based on stories told to her by Mission Indians she had interviewed. It was a great success, but not in the way Jackson intended. People who read the book didn’t care much about the Indian characters; they were attracted to the rich Spaniards, and they eagerly attached Ramona’s name to the boulevards and opera houses in their new communities. California is still full of things named “Ramona.”
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®