Tonight we made a pilgrimage to NIU to eat good food at the table of a friend and to hear Garrison Keillor speak.
In a sport coat, faded jeans and the red footwear pictured at left, he took us up and down the Mississippi, weaving outrageous and wonderful tales along the way.
In this world he wove, a tube of lipstick had romantically tragic consequences, dogs swallowed condoms for a good reason, and grandma’s ashes were dropped via bowling ball into Lake Wobegon by a naked, pooping, parasailing undergraduate grandson.
Between the laughs, he planted a few moments that were thoughtful, even sentimental.
There is something about Garrison Keillor’s storytelling that just feels good. It doesn’t matter if stories are true when they bring delight, or if songs are precise when they sound so nice and easy. And despite the unbelievable characters and situations that populate his adventures, I can’t help but feel that there was something inherently true about the evening. Something very old and appealing, even healing, can come from listening to imagination unfold, from laughing so well.
It was, more personally, a solid and well-timed reminder of what connection feels like. I’m struggling with where I am [going], and I’m feeling farther than ever from the things that move me to share and create.
Plugging in to the power of story brings me back to one of those things: words. That words change and comfort us is one of few things I know to be true. That music and nature are two more I believe also. But the challenge is to move past reverence to participation in a serious way. I just don’t know how to get there.