Category Archives: Garrison Keillor

Mickey the Reader

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I like to think that I am different than other readers, that the quirky, insane way I practice reading makes me somehow unique and individual.  But if you have read very much of my goofy little blog, you probably realize already that I am a deeply deluded idiot most of the time.  So let me explain a little about how I go about reading.

  1.  I am basically guilty of reading anything and everything I can get my hands on.  And the stupid internet puts an infinite variety in your hands.  Some of it is toxic and probably will kill me… or land me in jail.  (Does the NSA really care about what Mickey is reading?)
  2. Here is an example of my internet reading this morning;  Diane Ravitch’s Education Blog , An Article from British NaturismRachel Poli’s Article about Fantasy Writing, and Naked Carly Art’s post about creating a painting.  My browser history portrays me at times as some kind of communist brainiac pornography-loving terrorist painter or something.  I hope the NSA is using telepaths to investigate me, because the reasons I look at a lot of this stuff is important.  It is a good thing I don’t write mystery novels so they would be upset down in the NSA break room about my searching out creative ways to kill people.
  3. Besides being Eclectic  with a capital “E”, I am also obsessive.  My daily reading project now is Garrison Keillor’s novel, Lake Wobegon Days.

I only spend about an hour a day reading this novel, but I am totally immersed in it.  I am living inside that book, remembering the characters as real people and talking to them like old friends.  I tried to read that book before and couldn’t make progress because I like so much to listen to Keillor tell stories on A Prairie Home Companion on the radio and it just wasn’t the same entirely in print.  When he tells a story, he pauses a lot.  In fact, that moment when he stops to let you reflect on what he just said is critical to the humor because you have to stop and savor the delicious irony of the scene.  His pauses are funnier than the words.  Man, if he just stood there and didn’t talk at all, you would probably die laughing from it.  So, in order to get into the book, I had to read it with Garrison’s voice in my head, pausing frequently the way he does.  Now the stories of Clarence Bunsen and Pastor Inqvist break me up all over again.  I will soon acquire and read everything he has ever written.  I truly love Garrison Keillor.

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So there is a description of how strange a practicing reader I am.  Think about how you read.  Is the NSA watching you too?  Do you ever read two books at the same time?  Do you read everything and anything in front of you?  If you are self-reflective at all, even if you are not pathological about it the way Mickey is, you may well decide that as strange as my reading habits are, they are probably normal compared to yours.

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Filed under book reports, book review, Garrison Keillor, goofy thoughts, humor, reading, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Garrison Keillor

Sometimes it is good to acknowledge your influences and the people whose work has changed your life into what it now appears to be.  Such a person, a profound influence on my story-telling habits, is Garrison Keillor.

"GKpress" by Prairie Home Productions. Licensed under Attribution via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:GKpress.jpg#/media/File:GKpress.jpg

“GKpress” by Prairie Home Productions. Licensed under Attribution via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:GKpress.jpg#/media/File:GKpress.jpg

This man in the picture who looks like one of my relatives, is the story-teller, writer, and radio personality Garrison Keillor.

The only way to accurately explain this whole honorarium-business is to tell you a story…  You see, Great Grandma Hinckley, when she was reaching the tarnished end of her golden years, the latter part of her 90’s, the nearly-a-century mark, always called me “Donny”.  Apparently “Michael” was too hard a name to actually remember.  To be fair, though, it was my Uncle’s name, and I did look in the 1970’s very much like Uncle Don when he was a youth in the 1950’s.  And though Great Grandma had more great grandchildren to keep track of than “Carter had little liver pills,” she always knew that I was one of the smart ones.  When I graduated from high school I earned a full four-year scholarship from my dad’s company due to my high grades and test scores.  She was very proud of that fact.  She told all of her friends at the nursing home that of all of the awards presented at the senior awards assembly, I had won most of them.  This was not even remotely true, except when viewed through the smoky, rose-colored lens of great grandmother-hood, but it led to all the people at the home saying things like, “You must be Donny!  Congratulations on your great big brain!”  Some of them even knew already that my name was Michael.  Only now that I am getting old do I begin to understand old-people humor a bit better.

So, Great Grandma wanted to give me a really good graduation present.  She gave most of her obligatory grandkid presents as hand-crocheted Afghans in bright neon colors that were wildly mismatched because she was color blind.  But me, she gave me her radio.  Yes, a portable radio roughly the size of a large school lunchbox.  It was an RCA… that’s a brand of radio for you young whippersnappers who don’t know anything about what was irreplacebly good in the mid-20th Century.  It was one of the most valuable things she still owned, and the TV set was too big to take to college (thank goodness).  So I took that ultra-valuable old radio along to college to listen to music while I studied.  Dad had hooked me on classical music, so I listened to the Public Broadcasting channel KLYF in Des Moines.

That is how I came to be a fan of Garrison Keillor.  Every Saturday night, along about 7 p.m., KLYF broadcast another episode of A Prairie Home Companion.  I would listen to the gospel music and ads for Powdermilk Biscuits and gossip from the Chatterbox Cafe in Lake Wobegone, Minnesota.  And Garrison Keillor, old G.K., would tell stories about the doings in Lake Wobegone, his old (fictional) home town “Where all the women are strong, the men are good-looking, and the children are above average.”  It was there that I learned that every good story may ramble on a bit and have a long pause or two, or twenty, but always came to the point in the end.  I learned that from Garrison Keillor.  But I may owe a bit of that to Great Grandma Hinckley too.

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Filed under autobiography, Garrison Keillor, humor