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Dear Mr. Keillor, Do you

July 19, 2004 |

Dear Mr. Keillor,
Do you ever get tired of talking about Lake Wobegon? It seems to be everyone's favorite part of your show and you also have several books revolving around the Lake Wobegon universe. Do you really like it as much as everyone else or would you rather move on and write about other things?

Joseph
Hermitage, TN

Joseph,
That's a good question that deserves a thoughtful answer. I get tired of talking about Lake Wobegon in the same way as I get tired of being myself. One does now and then weary of being who we are. No? Doesn't everyone have this experience? A parent tires of being parental, a child of being the child, a Minnesotan can find midwesternness awfully boring and entertain fantasies of being French or Italian for awhile. Art is the great escape. Fiction, opera, music, drama, all help to get us out of ourselves and our narrow lives, our shelves of biases, our self-awareness. I took a walk through the Minneapolis Institute of Arts with my daughter and we looked at paintings ---- a little kid tends to be impulsive in a gallery and leap from one thing to another, not mow down the art ----- and that was a great afternoon for just the same reason. But I keep going back to Lake Wobegon because I'm not done with it and because it's a frame within which I can put most things that I want to deal with. And I'm not bound to it. My last book wasn't about Lake Wobegon and neither is the next (Homegrown Democrat). Lake Wobegon sits rather comfortably in my mind at the moment. Of course a person wants to deliver a monologue of some quality and that's always a struggle, but I'm used to hard work, and the outcome ---- standing on a stage and looking out and saying "It's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon" and seeing how much I can remember of what I thought about that morning ----- is truly pleasant, believe me. Saturday morning can be hard, but Saturday evening is a real pleasure.

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