A bit from Garrison Keillor

For decades I have been a fan or Garrison Keillor and his radio show “A Prairie Home Companion” on public radio.

I used to listen to the radio for hours on end every day in the US. I miss radio in India, and I miss my favorite radio programs as much as I miss my friends.

Aside from PHC, I love “Fresh Air” by the inimitable Terry Gross, “Car Talk” with Click and Clack: The Tappet Brothers, “Whad’Ya Know?” by Marty Feldman (“Not much. And you?”), and lots of talk radio such as the Commonwealth Club of California and the National Press Club broadcasts, and a host of other shows.

Of course, thanks to them internets, I have access to all of them on my computer. But it is not the same as listening to them on the radio as I go about my daily chores at home or while driving.

OK, enough of my bellyaching about the lack of good radio in India. I wanted to quote Garrison. He’s such a wonderful personality. His PHC is a priceless program with his tales from Lake Wobegon.

Here’s some bits from the PHC website, for the record.

In reply to someone who wanted some advice on writing:

. . . If you work 9 to 5, that means setting the alarm for 5 a.m. so you can shower and dress and have some coffee and take a nice brisk walk for 20 minutes and then settle yourself down in a quiet place and have two luxurious hours of stillness in which to put something on the computer. Then make a hard copy and stick it in your back pocket to mark up during any odd free moments during the day. If you’re out of the habit of writing, you may need to do some exercises — give yourself some assignments — write about your parents, describe your best friends, write the story of your worst low point in life, etc. Just to get your brain working. In the evening, I’m afraid, your brain will be tired of words, so the morning is your best bet, and you’ll have to give up some of your evening pleasures so you can get enough sleep. But it’s worth trying this for a year or so to see what comes from it. And I wish you well. [Link]

Here’s in reply to a 19-year old kid’s questions:

You are off to a fast start, Taylor, and evidently you’ve discovered the pleasure of learning which might prove to be a hindrance and keep you from settling down in a career since you’ll always be anxious to learn a new one, but never mind that. Learning is not something imposed by others, it’s the mind fascinated and engaged on its own, and I wish you well. . .

It’s too early to tell about your generation, of course, but it may come to regret having followed my generation and having to fix what we messed up. Mine is idealistic, or thinks it is, or wanted to be, but we got handed the Vietnam war by the Greatest Generation which completely misjudged the situation and we haven’t quite recovered from it yet. My generation was deeply engaged in politics, as a result of the civil rights struggle and Vietnam, and when I look at American politics today and the demagoguery and sheer trashiness, it’s discouraging. Members of my generation fought long and hard to keep ROTC off college campuses, a wrong-headed campaign born out of anger against the war, and thereby deprived a lot of young men and women of valuable training, and also wasted time in needless controversy. So much righteousness and so little to show for it. The current debate over health care reform stands as the strangest and silliest in my memory. On the other hand, when I think that a 19-year-old in Knoxville is fluent in Japanese and turning toward Ireland, I feel hope for the future. I’m an optimist, of course. Being a parent of an 11-year-old, I’m more or less obliged to be. So stay out of trouble, keep your grades up, and enjoy your college years. And then report back. [Link]

If you have the time, go listen to a few episodes of the PHC.

Author: Atanu Dey


One thought on “A bit from Garrison Keillor”

  1. Them internet might be bad but then you can use the products from that great fruit company out of Cupertino and have podcasts downloaded to the device and listen at your pleasure.


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