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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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Dear GK: Tonic Sol-Fa was

July 6, 2005 |

Dear GK:
Tonic Sol-Fa was great and I hope you have them back on the show soon.

My daughter just graduated from college with a degree in professional writing. She was recently told by a cousin (who is a children's book author of more than 100 books) that poetry is easier to sell than short stories. Do you agree? Do you have any advice for my daughter?

Carol Hammond
Harrison Township, MI

Carol, congratulations to the daughter and best of luck to her in her career, in all its several stages. The first step is to find something to do that people are willing to pay you for, which is a large moment of truth for anybody. And then you need to find out what it is that you yourself truly and deeply want to do. Some people succeed in getting paid for that and others don't. I can't recommend poetry as a money-making proposition, though perhaps in the field of children's books it can be. Journalism is a good place for any writer to start — the retailing of fact is always a useful trade and can it help you learn to appreciate the declarative sentence. A young writer is easily tempted by the allusive and ethereal and ironic and reflective, but the declarative is at the bottom of most good writing.

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