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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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Garrison, I had the great

April 19, 2004 |

I had the great pleasure of attending your stellar show in February at the Wang Theater in Boston. My question concerns the messages you read just after intermission. This being Boston, I'm sure to be one of a couple of thousand people that night who were 100% certain that their message home was the most clever, pithy and amusing note placed in the pile. At my instructions, Mom was dutifully glued to the radio at 7 pm, waiting to hear what her thoughtful son had written to her. Naturally, we didn't make it. So what makes a winning message? Humor? Local color? Fine penmanship? A flattering word to the host? Or is it simply the luck of the draw?

Dan Quinn

Flattering the host would pretty much guarantee that your greeting would be killed. Local color would help. Humor might help, depending on how it struck the screener: funny is better than un- and clean is better than un- and original is better than un-. As for penmanship, legible is always good, and of course luck is always good. I'll bet your note was darned clever and pithy and probably the screener just scratched it because ---- who knows why? I don't understand the process myself. If I had the time, I'd read all the little slips myself and make my own choice, but I don't and so there you are. Hard to find good help these days.

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