That Time of Year: A Minnesota Life softcover by Garrison Keillor
I sat down and looked at my memoir THAT TIME OF YEAR when it came out and was put off by the sadness, the opening chapter about how much I missed doing “A Prairie Home Companion,” so I sat down to fix it. That’s why a writer shouldn’t read his own work. But I did and so I sat down to cheer it up a little and wrote a new first paragraph.
I am a Minnesotan, born, bred, well-fed, self-repressed, bombast averse, sprung from the middle of North America, raised along the Mississippi River, which we spelled in rhythm, M-i-ss-i-ss-i-pp-i, a sweet incantation along with the Lord’s Prayer and Psalm 23 and our school fight song about v-i-c-t-o-r-y. We sang it with a sense of irony, knowing we weren’t winners in the eyes of New York or L.A. or even our football rivals, but we were proud of our North Star State, the flatness, the fertile fields, the culture of kindness and modesty, our ferocious winters, when white people become even whiter, and to top it all off, we were the origin of the Mighty Miss. Wisconsin wasn’t, nor North the Dakota. It was us and strings of barges came up to St.Paul to haul our corn and beans to a hungry world.
I wrote a new preface and a cheerier first chapter, which came (literally) from the heart I having undergone heart surgery at Mayo to replace a leaky mitral valve and I felt good. I did this for readers who missed the hardcover edition, to give them a lift, and also myself. The revision led to SERENITY AT 70, GAIETY AT 80 and a new book in progress, CHEERFULNESS. It’s a happy phenomenon, an author still ambitious at 80, and I give credit to my wife Jenny. If I were teaching Creative Writing today, I’d teach my students the importance of marrying the right person." - Garrison Keillor
From the Publisher:
With the warmth and humor we’ve come to know, the creator and host of A Prairie Home Companion shares his own remarkable story.
In That Time of Year, Garrison Keillor looks back on his life and recounts how a Brethren boy with writerly ambitions grew up in a small town on the Mississippi in the 1950s and, seeing three good friends die young, turned to comedy and radio. Through a series of unreasonable lucky breaks, he founded A Prairie Home Companion and put himself in line for a good life, including mistakes, regrets, and a few medical adventures. PHC lasted forty years, 1500 shows, and enjoyed the freedom to do as it pleased for three or four million listeners every Saturday at 5 p.m. Central. He got to sing with Emmylou Harris and Renee Fleming and once sang two songs to the U.S. Supreme Court. He played a private eye and a cowboy, gave the news from his hometown, Lake Wobegon, and met Somali cabdrivers who’d learned English from listening to the show. He wrote bestselling novels, won a Grammy and a National Humanities Medal, and made a movie with Robert Altman with an alarming amount of improvisation.
He says, “I was unemployable and managed to invent work for myself that I loved all my life, and on top of that I married well. That’s the secret, work and love. And I chose the right ancestors, impoverished Scots and Yorkshire farmers, good workers. I’m heading for eighty, and I still get up to write before dawn every day.”
"Die-hard fans will treasure stories with Keillor as the central character, rather than trying to discover him behind that Guy Noir mask."—Star Tribune
"A literary cartographer would find it necessary to trace, in forceful blue lines, tributary streams running from Mark Twain and Sherwood Anderson to the Wobegonian river of stories and novels that has issued from Garrison Keillor for more than twenty years."—Chicago Tribune