The Writer's Almanac
Each day, Garrison Keillor reads a poem and relates stories of significant events touching literary history.
The summer of my mother’s illness, a season so hot and dry it might have erupted in flames, we discovered the dog liked television. She barked if we left her alone in the dim silence of the bedroom but was cheerful if we provided a documentary about whales. She learned why prehistoric wolves were likely... Read more »
The young service manager comes round to explain, as if someone were dying, what will have to be done. “It’s more,” he says, “than we thought.” I want to tell him it’s all right, I’ve heard worse; we’re all orphans here. Live long enough, you might as well be a spider in a corner of... Read more »
It starts with the climbing in, nerved-up enough for that defiance of gravity, the slow-grind rackety-clack one-inch cog at a time—the mystery of machinery, the sane and safe weightedness of stiff-starched values, wondering if there were sins we’d committed since our last confession, then at the top, out on the edge, beyond the solid-ground world... Read more »
only when he was nervous about fixing something, anything. It was an aptitude he lacked. He worked as a weaver in a silk mill, then as a chauffeur, and then he fell into his life’s work, at which he excelled: he drove a truck filled with clinking milk bottles, and deposited them on doorsteps, front... Read more »
I sound so much like my mother that when people called our house for help, I’d have to stop them halfway through their stories. Hold on, I’d say, I’m not her. When I went with her on calls, I hovered in doorways, holding her equipment, watched her walk to the center of what was wrong.... Read more »
Those nights lit by the moon and the moon’s nimbus, the bones of the wrecked pier rose crooked in air and the sea wore a tarnished coat of silver. The black pines waited. The cold air smelled of fishheads rotting under the pier at low tide. The moon kept shedding its silver clothes over the... Read more »