Post to the Host

Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.

Send GK Your Question »

It's Work That Makes You Happy

July 21, 2014 | 5 Comments

Hello Garrison,

Enjoyed the re-broadcast from 1985. More of those would be fun to listen to.

A question: How have you changed since 1985? What do you think about now as opposed to thirty years ago?

Got me thinking and, at 74, I think I'm slower to judge, calmer in temper and easier to live with but otherwise not that much different. We grow so soon old and never do get to do everything we thought we would!

Best Regards,
Pat Hall
Green Bay


For one thing, my voice is lower, Pat -- on that tape from 1985, I sounded like I was inhaling helium.

What I remember about 1985 is how I felt bewildered by the success of the show. That fall Lake Wobegon Days was on the NY Times best-seller list and I did a book tour and was overwhelmed by the long lines of people, the high ratings of the show, the press attention -- things that a person fantasizes about, especially a geeky person like me who never was really good at anything, and that makes it even weirder when it happens and it turns out to be not all that much fun. The thirsty dehydrated man falls into the lake and almost drowns. People treat you differently and it's hard to adjust to that. You're tempted to believe in your own abilities more than you should. Old friends retreat and you're thrown in among strangers. Hollywood knocks at your door. One Friday afternoon, Don and Phil Everly, heroes of my teen years, came to St. Paul and stood in my office at Minnesota Public Radio and we rehearsed a song for the next day's show in which I sang a baritone harmony part, and it struck me that life had changed. Also that I didn't know my part well enough. It was a crazy time. I look back and wish I had simply locked the doors and pulled the shades and concentrated on doing my work. It's work that makes you happy, I think. A good day of writing is absolutely glorious -- being on the cover of Time, not so much, though it did impress my parents.


It's work that makes you happy

Pen to paper,
Nose to grindstone,
Life as vapor
Felt to the bone.

"It's work that makes you happy, I think. A good day of writing is absolutely glorious -- being on the cover of Time, not so much, though it did impress my parents."

Loved the show from 1985. Willie Nelson sounded great. And the next week also.

I have air checks from back then, and they are great to listen to.

One has one's routine. Saturday evening is PHC.

Work does make you happy, so you should be ecstatic, considering your output.

I read an article a few years ago about unhappy dogs doing much better when they had to hunt for a hidden kibble-stuffed bone every day. Dogs have to hunt.

I feel good at the end of a full day's work, as well, and hope to stay at it as long as I can. It's good to hear that you feel that way too.

Another vote for older archives. The Willie Nelson episode was superior - so much music. There should be a PHC stream - some sort of internet-only channel where the show is constantly on.

I LOVED this show. I'm not an ostrich, but I love the non-political aspect of the show: the sheer talent and that helped me get through a very long drive I need to do every weekend. I know times change, but my best PHC memories are, well, timeless? E.g., recently, I made a captive bunch of relatives listen to "Bruno, The Fishing Dog." Is "classic" a dirty word?

Previous Post:
« Amazon's Effect

Next Post:
Getting Old »

Post to the Host Archive

Complete Post to the Host Archive

American Public Media © |   Terms and Conditions   |   Privacy Policy