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Home / Spotlight / Garrison Keillor on Singing, Writing, Small Talk—and What Comes Next
Garrison Keillor on Singing, Writing, Small Talk—and What Comes Next

Garrison Keillor on Singing, Writing, Small Talk—and What Comes Next

Garrison Keillor kicks off a 40th anniversary year of A Prairie Home Companion with a new book—The Keillor Reader. Fans are in for a provide with this collection of stories, essays, poems, and personal reminiscences from Keillor’s prolonged and shining career.

“I come from a prairie,

I’ve been to New York,

A high secluded fellow

and somewhat historic,

But we am a rider, we ride

every day

On a large Underwood

cross a far-reaching open page.

I float in a object and the

snow and a rain,

I’ve ridden with Thurber,

Benchley, Mark Twain.

They mostly wrote better

than we and we meant it

But we am still vital and

that is convenient.”

From those of us who adore to hear we sing, how would we answer your possess question: “Do we have a genuine God-given low-pitched talent, or do we usually seem means in comparison to other Lutherans?”

The latter, for sure. we have a certain ability to burlesque talent, and we have grown this in open in front of thousands of people. On-the-job training. You learn to sing by singing.

At a finish of an letter published in National Geographic (“Top Ten State Fair Joys“), we report yourself as a “soldier of a elementary declarative sentence.” Can we elaborate on a virtues of a elementary declarative sentence?

I don’t remember observant that. we competence have pronounced it. It sounds like something we competence have said. In fact we have turn an aspirant to a prolonged involved constant judgment of a arrange that Faulkner is famous for yet cave even surpass his and we could quote we a few yet what’s a indicate and a editors of National Geographic magazine have some-more than once commented: “Shouldn’t there be a semicolon here and how about a few durations while you’re during it?”

Could we also residence a significance of tiny talk? In your letter during a finish of a book, we say, “American tiny speak is, roughly inevitably, cheery.” How have we finished use of tiny speak in your career, ever given we were kicked out of ninth-grade emporium category for articulate too much?

Small speak is blips of created denunciation with most pragmatic in a gaps—so it’s tough to do on a page. The words, “Well, that’s utterly a deal” in a Midwest can meant really opposite things; likewise, “So how’s that operative out then?” I’m not certain that Easterners would wish to lay by a lot of this, yet we suffer it.

Miss Shaver kept we after propagandize in initial class to review aloud to her, commenting to Bill a janitor, “Listen to him, doesn’t he have a poetic voice?” How would we report a voice of a six-year-old Garrison Keillor?

A soothing alto voice, hesitant, self-conscious, concerned to please.

There’s a typo in a introduction to The Keillor Reader. That’s a joke, right? You stirred this uncertain member of POEM (Professional Organization of English Majors) to set out in hunt of a word “tipo” (which is a Spanish word and also stands for Taiwan Intellectual Property Office).

Book Talk

It’s a fun among us compulsive copyreaders. Or should that be copy-readers?

How do we emanate new element for A Prairie Home Companion? Do we write your monologues? Do we use them?

Every week we make a virile try to devise forward and finish my work in a timely manner, as any essential chairman would do, and it never turns out that way, yet we keep trying. The scripts are written, of course, and afterwards rewritten a night before, infrequently altered dramatically. The PHC behaving association is really passive of this—Fred Newman, Tim Russell, Sue Scott—and infrequently we consider they do improved with a cold review than with, say, a week of heated rehearsal. But a digression is my problem. It’s written, yet it occasionally comes out a approach we wrote it. When it comes time to do it, we travel out downstage and face a assembly and let fly. It’s not stand-up—in stand-up we would’ve finished a element in a hundred small clubs before we ventured onto a large stage. And it’s not storytelling—which also tends to be utterly rehearsed. It’s usually a male articulate into a tunnel. Fifteen or twenty mins and stop and say, “And that’s a news from Lake Wobegon where all a women are strong, a group are good-looking, and all a children are above average.”

The Keillor Reader offers “the scold version” of a renouned Tomato Butt story after all these years. You make it flattering transparent that you’ll never apologize to your sister for nailing her with that decaying tomato, even though, in this new version, she beaned we with a expel iron skillet a subsequent day and, years later, managed to have we incarcerated. Question is: Are we watchful for her to apologize to you?

No, we am all over it. we am usually perplexing to get a law out.

What are some of a differences between letter a novel, that you’ve finished some-more than once, and producing a weekly radio show?

A novel takes some-more than a week. My crony a late J. F. Powers took about 20 years on his final one, Wheat That Springeth Green, and we doubt that he was totally confident with it even then. Hemingway wrestled with an huge novel for years and finally extracted a romance from it, The Old Man and a Sea, that incited out to be enough. Novels tend to be too long, and they penetrate underneath their possess weight—has anyone ever finished Moby Dick? Anyone? They’re lying. A two-hour radio uncover is a hop, a skip, and a jump, with a lavatory mangle in a middle, and we am going to keep operative on cave and maybe write one some-more Lake Wobegon novel, one with a dozen narrators.

We learn in your final letter that happiness is a robe you’ve schooled to hang on to each day—even before technological swell finished we contented with such enchanting gifts as a iPhone and GPS. Do we use GPS? Do we content on an iPhone with your teenage daughter?

I do, of course. we am a one-finger texter, not a two-thumb, and don’t do it while a car is in motion, and we don’t use GPS in St. Paul, of course, yet it’s accessible in New York.

What’s a best enrich you’ve ever received?

“I adore your uncover and we got my father to like it, too.”

So, 40 years of A Prairie Home Companion. Any skeleton for retirement?

None that we know of, yet of march all has a limit. But during a impulse a uncover is going strong, yet of march one does consider about a future. But we are formulation a full deteriorate for 2014-15, and I’m operative on a play and a screenplay. But we do see people my age (71), who explain to suffer this, negligence down. But we don’t consider we would. But infrequently we wonder.

This talk has been edited and condensed.

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