Fort Lauderdale, FL
Keillor & Company with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard bring their show to Fort Lauderdale, FL for a performance of classic love songs, poetry, The News from Lake Wobegon, and a conversation about Why You Should Go On Getting Older
West Bend, WI
Garrison Keillor brings his show to West Bend, WI for a performance of sing-a-longs, poetry, The News from Lake Wobegon, and a conversation about Why You Should Go On Getting Older
Keillor & Company with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard. A performance of classic love songs, poetry, The News from Lake Wobegon, and a conversation about Why You Should Go On Getting Older
Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Peekskill NY. Be prepared to laugh and sing along as you celebrate all that unite us.
Big Top Chautauqua, Bayfield, WI
Garrison Keillor and his Prairie Home Friends (Fred Newman, Heather Masse, Rich Dworsky, Richard Kriehn & Dan Magraw) bring their show to Big Top Chautauqua for a performance of night of laughter, song and The News from Lake Wobegon.
Some keep the Sabbath going to church
by Emily Dickinson
Some keep the Sabbath going to church —
I keep it, staying at Home —
With a Bobolink for a Chorister —
And an Orchard, for a Dome —
Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice —
I just wear my Wings —
And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,
Our little Sexton — sings.
God preaches, a noted Clergyman —
And the sermon is never long,
So instead of getting to Heaven, at last —
I’m going, all along.
“Some keep the Sabbath going to church” by Emily Dickinson. Public Domain. (buy now)
Today is the birthday of English mathematician and inventor Ada Augusta Byron, Countess of Lovelace, born in London in 1815. More commonly known as Ada Lovelace, she was the only legitimate child of the tempestuous poet George Gordon, Lord Byron, from his brief marriage to Annabella Milbanke. She never knew her father, however; her parents separated just a few weeks after she was born, and Byron soon left England, never to see her again. He died in Greece when Lovelace was eight years old. Her mother insisted that she be tutored in science and mathematics, in the hope that these rigorous and highly structured subjects would counteract any wild moods she might have inherited from her father. Luckily for all concerned, the child showed real talent in this area from an early age. She, like her father before her, had a rich and abundant imagination, but she channeled her innate creative genius into inventions rather than verse.
When she was 17, she was taken under the wing of mathematician and inventor Charles Babbage. Babbage had invented something he called an “analytical engine,” a large, cog-filled machine that could perform complex mathematical calculations. Lovelace wrote 20,000 words of notes on the project, devising a system of codes that became the first algorithm intended to be processed by a machine. Because of their work on the analytical engine, Babbage is considered the father of the computer, and Lovelace the first computer programmer. She wasn’t recognized for her contribution to computer science until the 1950s, and she has since become a heroine for women in science and technology. In 1980, the Department of Defense named its new software language — which combined many diverse kinds of programming methods — “Ada,” in her honor.
On this day in 1938, American writer Pearl S. Buck received the Nobel Prize in literature for The Good Earth (1931), a novel about the life of a farming family in a Chinese village on the eve of World War I. Buck was the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize in literature, and she was chosen above writers like Mark Twain and Theodore Dreiser, which caused some derision. William Faulkner, in particular, was still snippy about the award a decade later, when he received his own Nobel Prize.
Pearl Buck spent a year in an attic in Nanjing writing the book. The child of missionaries, she’d spent more than four decades in China, mostly living in the highest house in Zhenjiang, on Cloud Scaling Hill. About her life as an American living in China, she said: “I grew up in a double world, the small white clean Presbyterian American world of my parents and the big, loving, merry, not too clean Chinese world, and there was no communication between them. When I was in the Chinese world, I was Chinese. I spoke Chinese and behaved as a Chinese and ate as the Chinese did, and I shared their thoughts and feelings. When I was in the American world, I shut the door between.”
It’s the birthday of Emily Dickinson (books by this author), born in Amherst, Massachusetts (1830). She lived in a brick house known as the Homestead, and took great pleasure in tending the gardens and growing all kinds of plants in the glass greenhouse that her father built for her and her sister, Lavinia. Emily received a good early education, attending Amherst Academy for seven years, and then Mount Holyoke Female Seminary. While there, she was terribly homesick for Amherst, and she rebelled against the school’s strict rules. She returned home to Amherst after her first year, never to go back to Mount Holyoke.
She started writing poetry in her teens, but most of her writing at that time was in the form of letters, many of which have survived. Her mother was stricken with a mysterious illness in 1855, and Emily and Lavinia were homebound for several years while they took care of her. And as her 20s wore on, Emily became more and more reclusive anyway, preferring to interact with people through letters and keep company with her family and her gardens.
Dickinson was a prodigious writer, and wrote nearly 2,000 poems, but she only published about 10 of these in her lifetime. She would send poems to friends, or include them with gifts of baked goods, and even her close family was unaware of her output. There’s one person who did know, and that was the Dickinsons’ Irish maid. Margaret Maher had been born in Tipperary and had immigrated to the United States in around 1855. The Dickinsons hired her in 1869. Maher originally intended it to be a temporary position, because she was planning to move to California to join her brother. Instead, she ended up working for the Dickinson family for 30 years, and she became part of the family. The two women got on very well, even though they were quite different in temperament; Emily described her as “good and noisy, the North Wind of the Family.” The poet would spend hours in the kitchen with Margaret, baking breads and cakes, and scribbling poems on chocolate wrappers and the backs of shopping lists. Maher was literate and she even dabbled in poetry herself now and then; the two women wrote poems back and forth to each other. Some scholars believe that Maher’s Irish syntax made it into some of Dickinson’s work. In any case, Dickinson trusted Maher with her poems — literally. She stored them in the trunk that Maher had brought over from Ireland.
Dickinson left strict instructions for Maher to burn her poems after she died, but when the time came, Margaret couldn’t bring herself to do it. In a quandary, she brought the poems to Lavinia, Emily’s sister. Lavinia had already burned most of her sister’s letters, but she agreed with Maher that the poems should be published. Maher also supplied the only daguerreotype that we have of Emily Dickinson. The family didn’t like the picture, but Maher kept it, and gave it to the publisher to include with the first edition of Dickinson’s poems.
When Emily Dickinson died, her surviving family honored one of her last requests: her coffin was carried not by Amherst’s leading citizens, but by six Irish farmworkers — all employees of the Dickinson family. Thomas Kelly, Maher’s brother in law, was the chief pallbearer, and they carried her coffin out through the servants’ door.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®