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Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.

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Road Trips

December 1, 1996 |

Hi, Mr. Keillor! I have a question for you. How do you come up with all those stories?

My family and I have the 20th Anniversary of PHC, and we LOVE it! Thanks for making our trips and long periods of nothingness not so boring!

Jenny Gentner

You're awfully generous with your praise, Jenny, and I have to wonder if maybe your high regard for my monologues doesn't have more to do with the boringness of those car trips than with the quality of the stories themselves. Maybe you Gentners need to be more out-going and argumentative on those trips. When the trip gets boring, try saying something like "I don't think cannibalism is necessarily all bad" or "I think that orange highway warning pylons are the larvae of a mutant creature from outer space that already is occupying the bodies of several people in this car" and see if this doesn't start an interesting discussion. Or you could take routes that are more scenic. I don't, for example, recall anybody writing and saying, "Your stories sure meant a lot to me as I was driving along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon." My stories don't seem all that fascinating to me, and in fact, the original purpose of my storytelling years ago was to get my son to go to sleep. I got to be pretty good at that, and then he grew up and soon my bedtime was before his, and then I went to work on the radio. Parents often tell me, though, that my tapes put their kiddoes out like a light. So be careful listening to them if you are the driver on those trips. Don't want you skidding unconscious into the ditch as the Sons of Knute march up the street on Norwegian Independence Day.

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