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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, I listened to

August 11, 2005 |

Dear GK,
I listened to your broadcast this morning on my drive to work and heard you read Robert Herrick's poem, "Whenas In Silk My Julia Goes" and I remembered how in my youth I loved words such as "liquefaction of her clothes," and repeated them in my head for weeks, jumped rope to them, bounced balls to them. I always thought I'd become a writer but the vicissitudes of life never led to that path until now with computers everywhere, including my own home. Do you think that love of words is an indicator that I should begin bumbling along? Should a 59-year-old grandmother lay into her word processor and let it rip? My husband suggests writing about my family because they are bizarre and all gone to glory, and now that I've become acquainted with my deceased brother's friends, what I've learned about him alone would make hair grow back on anyone's head. I'd like to keep the voice true but gentle and funny, as you do in your writing efforts.


Dear JP, Sit down at the computer and let go and tell what you know. Start with the deceased brother and see where that takes you. Writers are people who write and the main thing about writing is rewriting. Your chances are as good as anybody else's, assuming you have a good ear (it sounds as if you do) and the ability to take a pencil to your own work and excise what needs to be excised and rewrite the rest. As I look back over this paragraph, I'd like to rewrite the whole thing, but the gist of it would be the same: by all means, go ahead, and God bless you.

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