A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour comes to Akron, OH with Heather Masse, Christine DiGiallonardo, Rich Dworsky, Sue Scott, Fred Newman and Tim Russell.
A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour comes to Scranton, PA with Heather Masse, Christine DiGiallonardo, Rich Dworsky, Sue Scott, Fred Newman and Tim Russell.
Keillor & Company with Prudence Johnson, Dan Chouinard and Dean Magraw bring their show to Spokane, WA for a performance of classic love songs, poetry, The News from Lake Wobegon, and a conversation about Why You Should Go On Getting Older
A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour comes to the Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston, TX with our favorite regulars, Rich Dworsky, Sue Scott, Tim Russell and Fred Newman. Additional guests to be announced.
New Philadelphia, OH
Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Kent State University. Poetry, Limericks, Sing-Along and the News from Lake Wobegon.
by Kim Addonizio
Carrying my daughter to bed
I remember how light she once was,
no more than a husk in my arms.
There was a time I could not put her down,
so frantic was her crying if I tried
to pry her from me, so I held her
for hours at night, walking up and down the hall,
willing her to fall asleep. She’d grow quiet,
pressed against me, her small being alert
to each sound, the tension in my arms, she’d take
my nipple and gaze up at me,
blinking back fatigue she’d fight whatever terror
waited beyond my body in her dark crib. Now
that she’s so heavy I stagger beneath her,
she slips easily from me, down
into her own dreaming. I stand over her bed,
fixed there like a second, dimmer star,
though the stars are not fixed: someone
once carried the weight of my life.
“Gravity” by Kim Addonizio, from The Philosopher’s Club. © BOA Editions, 1994. Reprinted with permission of Massie & McQuilkin Literary Agents.. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of Amy Hempel (books by this author), born in Chicago, Illinois (1951). She always knew she wanted to be a writer, but she didn’t have anything to write about, so she moved to California and worked in a series of odd jobs. She took an anatomy class where she performed autopsies on corpses, and then she worked in a counseling group for terminally ill people. But after her best friend died of cancer, she moved to New York City. It was only after she’d left California that she could write about the life she had been living there.
She took a creative writing class from the famous editor Gordon Lish, and one day he told her to write down her most terrible, despicable secret, the thing she would never live down. The result was her first short story, “In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried,” about the death of her best friend. It begins, “‘Tell me things I won’t mind forgetting,’ she said. ‘Make it useless stuff or skip it.'” That story became the centerpiece of her first collection, Reasons to Live (1985).
Amy Hempel said: “It comes back to the question, whom are you writing for? Who are the readers you want? Who are the people you want to engage with the things that matter most to you? And for me, it’s people who don’t need it all spelled out because they know it, they understand it. That’s why there’s so much I can’t read because I get so exasperated. Someone starts describing the character boarding the plane and pulling the seat back. And I just want to say, Babe, I have been downtown. I have been up in a plane. Give me some credit.”
“The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green. The people of the village began to gather in the square, between the post office and the bank, around ten o’clock; in some towns there were so many people that the lottery took two days and had to be started on June 26th, but in this village, where there were only about three hundred people, the whole lottery took less than two hours, so it could begin at ten o’clock in the morning and still be through in time to allow the villagers to get home for noon dinner.”
As the story progresses, the reader finds that this “lottery” is a yearly ritual in which townspeople select one of their number and stone him or her to death, believing that the sacrifice ensures a bountiful harvest. The story appeared in The New Yorker in June 1948, and many readers were horrified. They canceled their subscriptions and sent in angry letters, which the magazine forwarded on to Jackson. She said, “Of the three-hundred-odd letters that I received that summer I can count only thirteen that spoke kindly to me, and they were mostly from friends.” Even her mother scolded her and suggested she write something to “cheer people up.” Jackson was most horrified by letters from people who wanted to know where they could go to witness a lottery like the one she’d described.
Her best-known novel is The Haunting of Hill House (1959), a quintessential haunted house tale, but she also wrote light, humorous tales of her family life in books like Life Among the Savages (1953) and Raising Demons (1957). She raised four children and only wrote after her household work was done. She said: “I can’t persuade myself that writing is honest work. It’s great fun and I love it. For one thing, it’s the only way I can get to sit down.”
The last moonwalk took place on this date in 1972. The mission was Apollo 17, and it was the longest and most successful of all the Apollo missions. Commander Eugene Cernan holds the distinction of being the last person to set foot on the Moon. He and crew member Harrison Schmitt unveiled a plaque, which read: “Here man completed his first explorations of the Moon, December 1972. May the spirit of peace in which we came be reflected in the lives of all mankind.”
This is the anniversary of the St. Lucia flood of 1287, which resulted in the deaths of at least 50,000 people in the Netherlands. It’s one of the largest floods in recorded history, and it was the result of a storm tide: an extreme low-pressure system that coincides with the high tide. Much of the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 was the result of a similar storm tide. The Zuiderzee sea wall built to hold back the water couldn’t stand against such forces, and it collapsed. The North Sea rushed in, killing thousands and reclaiming huge amounts of land in the northern part of the Netherlands. The Zuiderzee — which means “southern sea” — actually owes its origin to this storm. It had originally been a series of shallow inland lakes and marshes, but storms and tides gradually ate away at the edges of the separate lakes, and when the North Sea encroached on the land as a result of the storm, the lake became a bay.
Flooding has always been a matter of great concern to people in the Netherlands. Two-thirds of its area is considered to be at risk, and much of it is an alluvial plain: land formed by the buildup of silt deposited by floods. The rich soil attracted early farmers, who built artificial hills called terpen to live on. They also built low embankments to keep out the water, and by 1250, dike construction was a major industry. The church was the biggest and richest landowner, and the monasteries provided the most readily available workforce, so they took the lead in dike construction, and eventually all the dikes were connected into a continuous seawall.
The massive St. Lucia storm of 1287 also affected the coast of England. The effects weren’t as immediately dramatic, but the storm dumped silt into the harbors of several key port cities and made it impossible for ships to enter. The English coastline was redrawn, and the cities never regained their status as vital trading ports.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®