From the Desk of Garrison Keillor
A prolific writer, Garrison Keillor is a frequent contributor to newspapers and magazines throughout the United States and abroad. To the right, you find a selection of articles published since 1989, and a few unpublished pieces.



How I Write
From The London Times

December 4, 1999

I write every day except when I'm sick or my wife insists that we are on vacation. I like to write early in the morning, and if I wake up at 5am or even 4am, it is with a sense of gratitude for the extra hours of pure quiet. I make a pot of coffee, boot up my laptop, sit anywhere in the house that seems promising and launch forth.

A good night's sleep is a great tonic for the brain; a problem that baffled me yesterday afternoon now works itself out quite elegantly. When the baby wakes, I change her and bring her downstairs to play and then I resume work.

By late morning, most of that 5am ebullience has dissipated and one starts to plod. A sensible person would stop there, but I have deadlines and I grind forward. I write on the laptop and print out a draft; then I pencil in corrections and type them into the computer. It is crucial to put the work in typescript, read it word for word and patch it with a pencil: computer writing tends to be flabby and tone-deaf otherwise. I have a little room up in the garret where I can work, and often do, but I enjoy writing in proximity to the household, and if everyone is in the kitchen, I like to perch in the dining room.

Of course, my desk in the garret is a welter of flotsam and jetsam. I can write almost anywhere - in airport terminals and then on the plane, compressed into 14D, hoping the gentleman in 13D doesn't lean back and break my kneecaps. I don't do research, as such. In the comedy field, you only need a few facts to get you started, and sometimes it helps if they're wrong. I've wanted to be a writer since I was a boy, though it seemed an unlikely outcome since I showed no real talent. But I persevered and eventually found my own row to hoe. Ignorance of other writers' work keeps me from discouragement and I am less well-read than the average bus driver.


Past Articles
  • Phil Keillor Benefit for the Tenney Park Shelter (04/17/09)
  • Bill Holm, 1943–2009 (02/26/09)
  • Happy New Year, Friends (12/29/08)
  • Talk of the Stacks (11/17/08)
  • What Makes St. Paul So Great? (09/03/08)
  • GK On Historic Preservation (10/05/07)
  • Welcome to St. Paul (09/23/06)
  • "Homegrown Democrat," Chapters 1-4 (08/10/04)
  • Sing the National Anthem—and Try it in the Key of G (07/02/04)
  • Holiday Greetings from Garrison Keillor (12/23/03)
  • Remembering Plimpton (10/01/03)
  • Crankiness in Decline, Says the Old Guy (04/19/02)
  • A Governor Works in Mysterious Ways (10/19/01)
  • In Praise of Laziness (09/10/01)
  • I Just Needed a Valve Job (09/13/01)
  • A Eulogy for Chet Atkins (07/03/01)
  • A Foot Soldier in God's Floating Orchestra (04/01)
  • Exile on Main Street (10/02/00)
  • Walking Down the Canyon (07/31/00)
  • The Mysteries of Prom Night (05/15/00)
  • How I Write (12/04/99)
  • The Christmas of the Great Flu (12/99)
  • Let Jesse Be Jesse (10/10/99)
  • The Rice, the Bat, the Baby (09/06/99)
  • Faith at the Speed of Life (06/14/99)
  • The Republicans Were Right, But (02/15/99)
  • Minnesota's Excellent Ventura (11/16/98)
  • The Dangers of Christmas (04/06/98)
  • Gasgate (11/10/97)
  • Talk Radio (10/97)
  • The Seven Principles of a Successful Christmas (09/08/97)
  • The Seven Deadly Sins—Envy (04/97)
  • You Say Potato (04/04/96)
  • The Poetry Judge (02/96)
  • With All the Trimmings (11/27/95)
  • In Autumn We Get Older (11/06/95)
  • Minnesota's Sensible Plan (09/11/95)
  • The Art of the Embrace (02/95)
  • The Voters are Angry (08/94)
  • Word Play (05/18/90)
  • We Are Still Married (12/18/89)
  • Elevator Tales
  • A Graduation Speech


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