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January 21, 2008 | 3 Comments

Hello Mr. Keillor.
I am a Graphic Design student at California State Polytechnic University – Pomona. As a class assignment for my Graphic Design 2 class I have been assigned to develop a look for the Olympic Games if they were to be held in Lake Wobegon, including logos, banners, tickets, apparel, transportation and anything related to the Olympic Games. I am writing to you to ask what you think the Olympic Games would look like, what kind of visuals would be associated with these Games, and how the town of Lake Wobegon would be affected by such an event. Any tips or suggestions you can give me would be greatly, greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Alexsaundra P.

This would be the summer Olympics, Alexsaundra — winter Olympics would be problematic since there isn't much downhill here — and I'd suggest that you think small-town skyline for a design motif: low storefronts, church steeples, and the iconic water tower, the barrel-type on steel-beam legs, and the grain elevator. The architecture of the midwestern small-town would appeal to you, I think, and especially the various classic styles of frame house from the late 19th Century.

What would the effect on Lake Wobegon be? Sheer devastation, I imagine. This is a town of fewer than two thousand and it would vanish under the onslaught of visitors and construction, much like a town in the path of a hurricane or a horde of locusts. But there would be a story in that, and maybe it'd be more interesting than what's going on there now, which is cold and snow and darkness.


Thank you so much Mr. Keillor! You have helped me in a tremendous way and I appreciate your response to my post. I now have a definite direction for my project and I thank you for inspiring me. I will continue my readings and build on these ideas, thank you again :)


Since you are attending Cal Poly Pomona,
you need only take a ride to some of
the foothill towns to see the Western
version of Lake Wobegon. I suggest
a trip to Glendora.

It's a place with a main street, city hall
and park. There are the kinds of
old fashioned churches that exist
in the midwest. As a matter of fact,
I grew up there, and always said I lived
in the midwest, it just happened to be
in Southern California.

Glendora has its own small school
district with one high school and
a town council who can't seem to
get along.

The values are completely midwestern.
My dad was from Iowa and felt right
at home (except for the weather-- he
didn't like cold anyway).

Take a drive toward the mountains!

Best of luck,
San Clemente, CA

I frequently catch your Writer's Almanac in the car in the morning and more than anything I love the piano piece that's playing in the background. Is it your own composition/is it available on sheet music?? I'm not much of a piano player but the theme has stayed with me for ages and if it's available, I'd run out and buy it and try to learn it, just for my own satisfaction and enjoyment-thanks!

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