Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.
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Lake Wobegon Census
June 29, 2009 |
Post to the Host:
My dad came from St Rosa, MN so I know some of 'Lake Wobegon' country. I have often wondered why the strong German Catholic culture of that area was not featured/storified in your work, as opposed to the Norwegian Lutheran culture.
I lived in St. Cloud and Freeport for about four years, Jim, and I found the German Catholics closed off to outsiders. I lived in a farmhouse (cheap rent, beautiful landscape, no interruptions, you could write all day and all night) in a predominantly German Catholic area New Munich just to the south and found it hard to engage people even in ordinary conversation. I could understand reticence, of course, and even suspicion, but I simply came to think of it as an alien culture, hostile to people like me. I had a few Catholic friends, and a friend who was a priest and who had literary interests and a fine sense of humor, but I had no sense of confidence telling stories about Catholics. And the great novellist and short-story writer J.F. Powers had preempted the field with his "Prince of Darkness" and "Morte D'Urban" which I studied in college. He was a favorite writer of mine, and last Monday I visited his grave at St. John's cemetery. Telling stories about German Catholics with Powers listening to the show would've scared me to death. He did not tolerate fools gladly and I had no wish to be one of them.