Keillor & Company with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard bring their show to Frankfort, KY for a performance of classic love songs, 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 bring their show to Maryville, TN for a performance of classic love songs, 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 bring their show to Iola, KS for 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 Torrance, CA. Be prepared to laugh and sing along as you celebrate all that unites us.
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
You Must Change Your Life
by Richard Terrill
what you always
did don’t do
write with the wrong
write with the left
side of the brain
breast stroke not side
schubert not brahms
play the changes
for a change
listen to the piano
not the bass
skip the extra chorus
death’s a hunch
ignore the voices
you first heard long ago
telling you someone else
got more than you
someone else got better
that nightly scotch
make it two or none
make it bourbon or gin
anything you can’t finish
you who always changed each line
you who always changed
each line you
who never finished anything
Richard Terrill, “You Must Change Your Life” from What Falls Away is Always: Poems and Conversations. Copyright © 2020 by Richard Terrill. Used by permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf Holy Cow! Press, holycowpress.org. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of St. Augustine, born in Tagaste, Numidia (354), a part of North Africa that is now Algeria. Augustine argued that no one could possibly be free from sin, because sinfulness is the very nature of humans. He developed the idea of original sin, saying that all humans are born sinful because all humans are descended from Adam and Eve, who committed the first sins.
Augustine used himself as an example of sinfulness by writing The Confessions (c. 400), one of the first memoirs of Western literature. In that book, he described all the sins he had committed in the years of his life before his conversion, everything from crying over a fictional character in a poem, to stealing pears from a neighbor’s tree, to his sexual fantasies and exploits. He wrote, “Lord, how loathsome I was in Thy sight. [Lust] stormed confusedly within me. … The torrent of my fornications tossed and swelled and boiled and ran over.” He believed that people could never hope to be innocent, and so their only hope lay in God’s forgiveness. His ideas about sin became the doctrine of the Catholic Church. It is because of him that many Christian churches still baptize infants, to cleanse them of the sin they have inherited from their ancestors.
It’s the birthday of writer Robert Louis Stevenson (books by this author), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (1850). He came from a family of lighthouse engineers, but he wanted to be a writer. To please his parents, he studied law, but he never practiced it. Instead, he traveled and wrote. At the age of 25, he set off with a friend on a 200-mile canoe trip through Belgium and France. It rained almost daily and was cold and windy. Describing the weather in a letter to this mother, Stevenson wrote: “I do not know that I would have stuck to it as I have done, if it has not been for professional purposes; for an easy book may be written and sold, with mighty little brains about it.” The result was his first book, An Inland Voyage (1878).
Stevenson traveled on to Paris and the artists’ colony at Grez, where he met the love of his life, Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne. She was an American, 10 years older, with two children, separated from her husband but still married. After she went home to California, the depressed Stevenson went on a 12-day walking tour through France with a donkey named Modestine, and wrote a second book, Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes (1879).
Stevenson was determined to marry Fanny, and so against the advice of everyone he knew — including his doctor, who was concerned about his health — he set sail for America. He traveled in steerage to save money but also to gather writing material, and took a train from New York to California. His account of the trip was published posthumously as The Amateur Emigrant (1895). He arrived in California exhausted and ill, but he reunited with Fanny, who had successfully gotten divorced from her husband. They were married that spring. Stevenson wrote: “I was a mere complication of cough and bones, much fitter for an emblem of mortality than a bridegroom.”
They sailed back to Scotland with her young son, and the idea for Treasure Island (1883) came from pirate stories Stevenson told the boy. Over the next few years, he wrote A Child’s Garden of Verses (1885), Kidnapped (1886), and Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886). Stevenson wrote Jekyll and Hyde in just a few days and spent six weeks polishing it. When it was published, it sold 40,000 copies in six months and made Stevenson a celebrity.
His father died a year later, and Stevenson’s health was still bad, so he and his family left Britain for America. They spent a cold winter in a cottage in the Adirondacks, and the next spring they sailed for the islands of the Pacific Ocean, where he spent most of the rest of his life. They traveled through Hawaii, the Gilbert Islands, Tahiti, New Zealand, and Samoa. In 1890, he bought 400 acres on Upolu, one of the Samoan islands. His writing from those years included the travel book In the South Seas (1890) and some adventure books co-written with his stepson. He sank into depression. Nothing he wrote achieved the popularity of his earlier books, and even the warm weather did not restore him to good health. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1894, at the age of 44, at his home in Samoa.
In Travels With a Donkey in the Cevennes, he wrote: “I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move; to feel the needs and hitches of our life more nearly; to come down off this feather-bed of civilization, and to find the globe granite underfoot and strewn with cutting flints. […] To hold a pack upon a pack-saddle against a gale out of the freezing north is no high industry, but it is one that serves to occupy and compose the mind. And when the present is so exacting, who can annoy himself about the future?”
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