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
March 4 in Kent, OH 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
Keillor & Company: A PRAIRIE HOME HOLIDAY. Let’s come together for a Christmas sing-along, some Poetry, the News from Lake Wobegon and some holiday cheer with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard.
Dec 11 in Joliet, IL Keillor & Company: A PRAIRIE HOME HOLIDAY. Let’s come together for a Christmas sing-along, some Poetry, the News from Lake Wobegon and some holiday cheer with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard.
Dec 10 in Ottumwa Iowa Keillor & Company: A PRAIRIE HOME HOLIDAY. Let’s come together for a Christmas sing-along, some Poetry, the News from Lake Wobegon and some holiday cheer with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard.
by Barbara Crooker
It’s an early summer day, going to be a hot one.
I’m away from home, I’m working; the sky is solidly blue
with just a chalk smear of clouds. So why this melancholy?
Why these blues? Nothing I’ve done seems to matter; I
could leave tomorrow and no one would notice, that’s how
invisible I feel. But look, there’s a pair of cardinals
on the weathered table, pecking at sunflower seeds
which I’ve brought from home. They don’t seem
particularly grateful. Neither does the sky, no matter
how I transcribe it. I wanted to do more in this life,
not the elusive prizes, but poems that astonish. A big flashy jay
lands on the table, scattering seeds and smaller birds.
They regroup, continue to hunt and peck on the lawn.
Barbara Crooker, “Melancholia” from Some Glad Morning.” ©2019 University of Pittsburgh Press. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of writer Jessica Mitford (books by this author), born in 1917 to an aristocratic family of right-wing fascists in Gloucestershire, England. As a teenager she rejected their ideology and etched hammers and sickles into her bedroom window with her diamond rings. She is best known for writing an indictment of the funeral industry, The American Way of Death, in 1963. The book exposed what Mitford described as a “huge, macabre, and expensive practical joke on the American public.” Funeral directors routinely conned grieving families into spending more than they could afford on things their departed loved ones didn’t need. In one passage she described in detail the process of embalming by saying the corpse was “sprayed, sliced, pierced, pickled, trussed, trimmed, creamed, waxed, painted, rouged, and neatly dressed — transformed from a common corpse into a Beautiful Memory Picture.”
It’s the birthday of O. Henry (books by this author), born William Sidney Porter in Greensboro, North Carolina (1862). His mother died when he was a kid, and he was raised by various relatives and headed off to Texas when he was 15. He worked as a hired hand on a sheep ranch and he fell in love with a wealthy young woman. They got married and had a daughter. He got a respectable job at a bank and then as a reporter for the Houston Post. But the bank was audited after he left, and he was arrested on charges of embezzling money. His wife’s father posted bail for him but before his trial he ran away, heading to Louisiana and then to Honduras. His wife was too sick with tuberculosis to meet him there and, heartbroken, he went back to Texas and turned himself in so that he could be with his wife while she died. Afterward he was sentenced to prison for five years. It was while he was in jail that his writing career really took off — he published 14 stories before he was let out for good behavior after three years. He would send his stories to a friend who would send them to publishers so no one ever suspected that O. Henry was writing from jail.
When the New York Times asked O. Henry if he had any advice for young writers, he wrote:
“I’ll give you the sole secret of short-story writing, and here it is: Rule 1. Write stories that please yourself. There is no rule 2. The technical points you can get from Bliss Perry. If you can’t write a story that pleases yourself, you will never please the public. But in writing the story forget the public.”
Today is the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Twenty years ago on this date in 2001, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial airplanes. Two of the planes were crashed into the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center; a third crashed into the Pentagon. On the fourth, which was bound for Washington, D.C., passengers attempted to take control of the plane and it ended up crashing near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Altogether nearly 3,000 lives were lost — all the passengers and crew on board the planes, thousands of people who worked at the World Trade Center or were near the buildings, more than 100 in the Pentagon building, and hundreds of rescue workers.
On September 11, 2011, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said:
“Ten years have passed since a perfect blue sky morning turned into the blackest of nights. Since then we’ve lived in sunshine and in shadow, and although we can never unsee what happened here, we can also see that children who lost their parents have grown into young adults, grandchildren have been born and good works and public service have taken root to honor those we loved and lost.”
And President Obama said, “Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11.”
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®