Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Urge to Commit Art and a Little Comparison Between Dylan and Garrison

"Nothing is so cheerful as the urge to commit art. The purpose of all great art is to give courage and thereby cheer us, just as the purpose of education is fundamentally cheerful -- to draw us out of gloomy solitude and into conversation with other scholars."
~ Garrison Keillor

Wikipedia describes Garrison Keillor as an American author, storyteller, humorist, and radio personality. Like Bob Dylan he's Minnesota-born. Like Dylan he has passed his seventieth year, having been birthed during WW2. And actually, like Keillor, Dylan could be described as an author (Tarantula, Chronicles: Vol. 1), storyteller, humorist (Talkin' World War Three Blues, Talkin' Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues), and a radio personality (Theme Time Radio Hour).

There is one difference I have noticed between these two creative Minnesotans. Garrison wears sandals and bright red socks when he is performing. I've seen both men three times and can say most assuredly that I do not know what color Bob Dylan's socks were on any of those occasions.

Both men have won many awards and both have achieved much in their careers. Both men have challenged the status quo, each in their own way. Also, both men like poetry and word play. Garrison Keillor, whose Prairie Home Companion has cheered radio listeners for more than three decades, also assembles a poetry corner on National Public Radio called The Writer's Almanac which begins, "Today in history and a poem or two..." in that languid, laconic style only Keillor can soothe you with.

So today, its a poem I offer up.... and I can imagine Garrison having perhaps read this poignant little Dorothy Parker piece at one time or another on his Poet's Corner. And if he has not, then I will imagine him reading it now.

Little Things

Little things that no one needs -- Little things to joke about --
Little landscapes, done in beads.
Little morals woven out,
Little wreaths of gilded grass,
Little brigs of whittled oak
Bottled painfully in glass;
These are made by lonely folk.

Lonely folk have lines of days
Long and faltering and thin;
Therefore -- little wax bouquets,
Prayers cut upon a pin,
Little maps of pinkish lands,
Little charts of curly seas,
Little plats of linen strands,
Little verses, such as these.

Dorothy Parker

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