High Point, NC
Garrison Keillor and the Hopeful Gospel Quartet (Robin & Linda Williams, Prudence Johnson with Dan Chouinard) comes to the High Point Theatre for an Evening of poetry, gospel, sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. Tickets $60-$40
Garrison Keillor and the Hopeful Gospel Quartet (Robin & Linda Williams, Prudence Johnson with Dan Chouinard) comes to the Waynes Theatre for an Evening of poetry, gospel, sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. 7:00PM $55 reserved
Garrison Keillor and the Hopefuls (Robin and Linda Williams) comes to the Carrollton Cultural Arts Center for an Evening of poetry, gospel, sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. Tickets $30 reserved/ $10 children
Carrollton, GA Luncheon
Garrison Keillor will join guests for a casual Luncheon in the Lobby of the Carrollton Cultural Arts Center, where he will talk about how it all began and where he thinks he is going. Tickets: $45
Garrison Keillor Tonight with opener Debi Smith comes to The Birchmere in Alexandria, VA for an Evening of poetry, Sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. Tickets $45.00.
Nobody Loves You
by Ramon Montaigne
Once I lived a life of some renown,
People looked up to me in this town
They listened to what I had to say.
I was well-regarded at Bud’s cafe.
Then one dark day they passed a law: no smoking, zero, nada.
And I became persona non grata.
Now I go out on the sidewalk to take a drag
Me and the homeless lady with the garbage bag.
Ginger Rogers smoked and so did Fred Astaire,
Clark Gable and Cary Grant.
And nowadays you simply can’t.
People don’t want elegance. They want Clean Air.
Me and Bogey and Ernie Hemingway,
Huck Finn, Woody Guthrie, Prince Andre,
Members of a noble, fatalist elite,
Forced to stand out on the street.
One cold day I was talking to Chopin,
Who was shivering, smoking a cigarette. Turkish.
Is this a decent way to treat a man
Who wrote those magnificent mazurkas?
“Nobody Loves You” by Ramon Montaigne. Reprinted with permission of the author.
Today is the birthday of François VI, Duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613) (books by this author). He didn’t receive much formal education; instead he was a student of human nature. He became a public figure after he joined the army and became a leading member of the Fronde, a series of squabbles between the French nobility and the monarchy of Louis XIV. In spite of all his political activities he’s best remembered for his writing. He translated his observances into a collection of rather cynical epigrams, which he called Reflections; or Sentences and Moral Maxims, in 1665. He published this first edition anonymously but he published subsequent editions under his own name. He published four more editions of Maximes in his lifetime, eventually writing more than 500 epigrams, including:
“We promise according to our hopes; we fulfill according to our fears.”
“If we had no faults, we should not take so much pleasure in noting those of others.”
“True love is like the appearance of ghosts; everyone talks about it but few have seen it.”
“Nothing is given so profusely as advice.”
“There are good marriages, but no delicious ones.”
“We confess to little faults only to prove to ourselves that we have no great ones.”
Today is the birthday of the first true American novelist: James Fenimore Cooper (books by this author), born in Burlington, New Jersey, in 1789. He was the 11th of 12 children and when he was a year old, the family moved to the wilderness of upstate New York — to Cooperstown, which was founded by his father. James grew up running wild in the woods with his numerous siblings. He acquired the habit of reading from his mother, who turned to books to alleviate the loneliness of their remote location. He went to Yale but was expelled for being an incorrigible prankster; the last straw was teaching a donkey to sit in his professor’s chair. He took up writing when he was disgusted with the quality of books available in America and his wife challenged him to write a book of his own. His first, Precaution (1820), was an attempt to write like Jane Austen and it was a failure. But his second, The Spy (1821), proved to be quite popular. He’s best remembered for The Leatherstocking Tales, a series of novels featuring frontiersman Natty Bumppo. The series includes The Last of the Mohicans (1826), which has been made into a movie several times.
It’s the birthday of humorist, actor, and drama critic Robert Benchley (1889) (books by this author), born in Worcester, Massachusetts. When he was nine, his older brother, Edmund, was killed in the Spanish-American War. His mother cried out, “Why couldn’t it have been Robert?”
He became managing editor of Vanity Fair in 1919 and that was where he met Dorothy Parker and Robert Sherwood. The three of them would go to lunch together at the Algonquin Hotel and complain about their jobs and those sessions formed the core of what would become the Algonquin Round Table. He was only with Vanity Fair briefly, because Parker was fired in January 1920, and he and Sherwood resigned in protest. He was hired by Life magazine a few months later and worked as a drama critic for about nine years. He was also a regular contributor to The New Yorker during that time and in 1921 he published his first essay collection, Of All Things!
He also wrote and acted in several short films from the late 1920s onward, usually humorous monologues. Through the 1930s and into the ’40s he gradually moved away from writing, becoming more and more interested in films, but all his work carried the same thread of the self-deprecating and mildly inept intellectual. By 1943 he had given up writing and in 1945 he died of cirrhosis of the liver. He once said, “I know I’m drinking myself to a slow death, but then I’m in no hurry.”
He wrote, “There are two kinds of people in the world, those that believe there are two kinds of people in the world and those who don’t,” and “We call ourselves a free nation, and yet we let ourselves be told what cabs we can and can’t take by a man at a hotel door, simply because he has a drum major’s uniform on.”
Today is the birthday of English mystery writer Agatha Christie (books by this author), born Agatha Miller in Torquay in 1890. During the first and second World Wars, she worked at a hospital dispensary; this gave her a knowledge of pharmaceuticals and poisons that would later serve her well as the author of more than 70 murder mysteries, including Murder on the Orient Express (1933), Death on the Nile (1937), and the play The Mousetrap (1952), which has been running on London’s West End since 1952 until March, 2020, the longest initial run of any play in history. Her first husband, Archie Christie, was an aviator with the Royal Flying Corps; they had a daughter, and he left Agatha for another woman in 1926. Her second husband was archaeologist Sir Max Mallowan; she once said, “An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have. The older she gets, the more interested he is in her.”
Today is the birthday of Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (books by this author). She was born in Enugu in 1977, the fifth of six children. She was a voracious reader and writer from an early age and at one point she lived in a house that had once belonged to fellow Nigerian author Chinua Achebe. She’s written several novels, including Purple Hibiscus (2003) and Half of a Yellow Sun (2006). She often writes about the Nigerian-Biafran war of the late 1960s and her second novel came about after four years of research into the conflict. Her latest novel is a memoir, Notes on Grief (2021). She also writes poetry, essays, and short stories.
When she isn’t writing she is frequently on a lecture circuit of American colleges educating academics on “the real Africa” as an antidote to the one-dimensional portrayal that’s typical in the Western media. “If somebody writes about middle-class Africans they say, ‘Oh no, write about the real Africa. Write about Mugabe being terrible in Zimbabwe,'” she told The Independent. “You don’t write about people who fall in love on the street. You don’t write about Africans who have money and go on vacation because that’s not ‘real.’ The real Africa is starving, or being bullied by Mugabe, or dying of AIDS.”
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®