Monday, June 05, 2006

overheard: garrison keillor shares his passion for preaching, the necessity of comedy and his faith in grace

in my humble estimation, garrison keillor is one of those cash-esque celebrity christians who constantly escapes categorization, reminds us that incarnation is the best form of proclamation and would leave me sans clean shorts if i spied him listening to one of my sermons. this week CT is helps prepare us for Friday’s release of a prarie home companion by posting an intriguing interview, a piece of which i’ve posted below.

CT: Of your work,
William Lee Miller once said that "one of [your] most striking themes is what one might call a positive or benign irony: getting more than, other than, better than, you deserve." Often in your stories something really good comes out of something that seems bad. Is that a recurring theme for you?

Keillor: I don't know as I would use the term "recurring theme," but I certainly would feel good about being able to do it and being able to do it in a plausible way. I feel that among writers of fiction there is a great deal of pretentious gloominess. Gloominess is nothing that an older person has a right to impose on young people. Young people can be very pessimistic and dark all on their own without us adding baggage to what they already have. And I like the idea of being 63 and trying to get people in their 20s to lighten up.

I think comedy is truthful in that respect. I think this is so much more the truth of ordinary life than the sudden catastrophic worst moment of death coming around the corner. I'm just finishing up a semester at the University of Minnesota teaching composition of comedy, and my students have a problem with comedy. It's because of this pretentious gloominess, which they've picked up from movies and wherever. I enjoyed the same sorts of things when I was their age, but they insist that they can't write comedy and I have to convince them that comedy is another way of telling the truth.

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