Every story springs from a germ in real life, and the aim is to create a dream for the listener, one that feels real. I can't tell stories about my own life, which is too limited and eccentric, being that of a writer - so I depend a lot on snatches of other lives, a fact here and a fact there, from which, with luck, one can bake a whole loaf.
The notion of The Living Flag came from a 1917 photograph of several thousand Army trainees arranged on a football field to form a pretty good image of the Liberty Bell. A helpful librarian dug up similar photographs of crowds forming the American flag, the Statue of Liberty , and (I believe) the face of Warren G. Harding. The story tries to give a participant's view of such a formation.
Listen to The Living Flag (RealAudio 3.0; How to Listen)
This monologue was taken from A Prairie Home Companion 25th Anniversary Audio Celebration, available now from the A Prairie Home Companion catalog.
Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).