Does anyone else like Garrison Keillor? I 'discovered' him way back in 1992 when one of his poems was included in the English GCSE exam paper. I know, I was over 40 before I took any GCSE exams. I was too busy when I was 16. I was going to Agricultural college and running a riding stables. I didn't have time for exams. I am wandering from my title now, so I'll just regroup my thoughts and carry on... Garrison Keillor.............right.
I was intrigued by the poem because it was about a woman who........... well I'll use the words that one of my fellow students used shall I? We were doing a course called the Preliminary Certificate in Social Care. It was a qualification that care workers were encouraged to obtain as it was supposed to mean more money. What it actually gave you was more responsibility for the same money. Part of the course was GCSE English, to help us write reports and client notes in real English.
After the exam was over our English tutor, who was and is a wonderful man and I am still in contact with him now, gave two of us a lift home, the others had their own transport. He asked about the paper and Lorraine, who is badly dyslexic, told him that "There was this poem about a woman with several children. The question asked what did we think of her. I wanted to say that she was a prostitute and a whore but I couldn't spell them so I said she was a slag and a slut and shouldn't be allowed to keep the kids."
There was a brief stunned silence in the car and then Mike pulled over and roared laughing.
The thing is that I began seeking out work by this new author and soon after this there was a TV programme about him and his Lake Wobegone stories. He had a weekly Radio programme where he would tell these stories. I have gradually collected his books over the years and I find I can re-read them time and time again. Feeling a little in need of familiarity the other night I opened Lake Wobegone Stories and there it was...
It's been a quiet week in Lake Woebegone.................... and I was wrapped in the gentle humour of the writing.