Garrison Keillor is not a conventional author, so in hindsight it shouldn’t be surprising that after a very conventional introduction, Mr. Keillor calmly stepped in front of the podium, glanced toward the ceiling, and began humming a hymn with the tacit assumption that all present should sing along in four-part harmony. (The audience obliged.) So began the event billed as “Garrison Keillor reads from and discusses O, What a Luxury: Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic & Profound.”
The other circumstance which shouldn’t be surprising is that Mr. Keillor did not read from anything. A man who can recall Shakespeare and Frost with the same ease as his own verse, mingling them effortlessly with his richly detailed tales, has no need for such a crutch.
Fortunately, there was discussion.
Freddie’s question was my favorite: “Do you ever get writer’s block?” Keillor stood next to us and responded without hesitation: No. People who get writer’s block are the kind of people who want to have written something, not those who want to write. “Dentists don’t get dental block… or at least, if they do, they don’t tell anyone about it.”