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.
Living in the Body
by Joyce Sutphen
Body is something you need in order to stay
on this planet and you only get one.
And no matter which one you get, it will not
be satisfactory. It will not be beautiful
enough, it will not be fast enough, it will
not keep on for days at a time, but will
pull you down into a sleepy swamp and
demand apples and coffee and chocolate cake.
Body is a thing you have to carry
from one day into the next. Always the
same eyebrows over the same eyes in the same
skin when you look in the mirror, and the
same creaky knee when you get up from the
floor and the same wrist under the watchband.
The changes you can make are small and
costly—better to leave it as it is.
Body is a thing that you have to leave
eventually. You know that because you have
seen others do it, others who were once like you,
living inside their pile of bones and
flesh, smiling at you, loving you,
leaning in the doorway, talking to you
for hours and then one day they
are gone. No forwarding address.
It was on this day in 1973 that Billie Jean King () defeated Bobby Riggs in a tennis match that was billed as the Ninety-two million people tuned in to watch. Riggs had been openly denigrating women athletes, boasting that even at age 55 he could beat even a top female player. He said, “No woman ever lived who could compete with a man on an equal basis …. They feel they’re worth as much as the guys, but they can’t play a lick if they can’t beat a 55-year-old guy.” After the 29-year-old King beat him in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, she admitted she had felt tremendous pressure. “I thought it would set us back 50 years if I didn’t win that match. It would ruin the women’s tour and affect all women’s self-esteem.” Riggs reportedly told her before they left the court, “I underestimated you.” King would win 29 Grand Slam titles before she retired. She used her celebrity to bring greater recognition and pay equity for women players.
Today is the birthday of English poet and novelist Stevie Smith (books by this author), born in East Yorkshire, England (1902). Smith’s birth name was Florence Margaret, and her family called her “Peggy,” but when she was a young woman a friend said she reminded him of the jockey Steve Donoghue, and she was “Stevie” after that.
For most of her life Smith worked as a secretary in a British publishing house and lived with her aunt, all the while writing and publishing acerbic, witty poems and novels, like Novel on Yellow Paper (1936), narrated by a chatty and sharp young woman named Pompey, who was basically a stand-in for Smith. At one point Pompey says:
“But first, Reader, I will give you a word of warning. This is a foot-off-the-ground novel that came by the left hand. And the thoughts come and go and sometimes they do not quite come and I do not pursue them to embarrass them with formality to pursue them into a harsh captivity. And if you are a foot-off-the-ground person I make no bones to say that is how you will write and only how you will write. And if you are a foot-on-the-ground person, this book will be for you a desert of weariness and exasperation.”
The novel took Britain by storm. No one thought an unassuming, rather dull-seeming woman like Smith could have written such a book. The poet Robert Nichols was convinced that Virginia Woolf was ‘‘Stevie Smith’’ and even wrote Woolf an odd six-page letter assuring her that Novel on Yellow Paper was her best by far. Smith loved all the notoriety but wrote to a friend, ‘‘Very few in this suburb knew me as Stevie Smith, & I should like it to stay that way.”
Stevie Smith’s most famous poem is “Not Waving but Drowning,” which was voted Britain’s “second-favorite poem.”
In her novel Over the Frontier (1938) Smith wrote, “Power and cruelty are the strengths of our lives, and only in their weakness is there love.”
Stevie Smith died of brain tumor in 1971. She once said, “There is no reason to be sad, as some people are sad when they feel religion slipping off from them. There is no reason to be sad, it is a good thing.”
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®