Feb 14 – Garrison Keillor @ Valentine’s Day

Friday February 14

Garrison Keillor, now and again, jusk knocks me flat with his eloquence and passion for words.   Here’s a piece I came to cherish decades ago.  It makes a good celebration of Valentine’s Day in this most wintry of winters.

Seven faculty —  Yvonne Antczak and Melanie Mayberry (SOD), Mary Serowoky and Carmen Stokes (CHP), Shadi Banitaan (E&S),  Pam Wilkins (SOL) and Laurie Ann Britt-Smith (CLAE) and I will climb in the E&S nifty van for a c. 4 hour trek to Xavier in Cincinnati for this year’s Heartland Delta Faculty Conversation weekend.  Laurie Ann is one of the plenary speakers.

Have a great weekend.

john st sj


The Heart of the Matter
Garrison Keillor – Valentine’s Day 1989 — New York Times Op Ed Page

All lovers are secret lovers.  They require vast privacy because their passion, so gorgeous and thrilling to each other, is incomprehensible to everyone else, a joke, even to their own children.  No one can quite imagine the spark that lit the fire between one’s parents; their desire seems improbable, like love between porcupines.

So the children of lovers become the chaperones of their middle age, forcing them to find even more ingenious disguises — including the ultimate one, indifference.  For it’s the purpose of every couple to keep their secret, their magic, knowing that public disclosure diminishes its force.  Telling the world the truth about your true love is a doomed enterprise, amusing for the world but disastrous for you.

Love is the mainspring of our lives, and only fiction and songs tell the truth about it.  Newspapers are useless on the subject, offering antique Victorian wedding announcements, quaint old advice columns, the tangled illicit affairs of the prominent and the dull narcissism of their confessions, shallow “life style” pieces about sexuality and family, the same old horse feathers — all of it valuable as some sort of dismal folklore but nothing sharp and authentic, nothing as informative as Bobbie Ann Mason, Roy Orbison, John Cheever or a few thousand other storytellers.

This is a huge lapse of journalism that makes it impotent to describe the real world.  After all, love is no light breeze on the lake.  People die for it, people leave home,  people throw away political power for love and even for the thinnest illusion of it, as if power were cold coffee.  .  .  .

. . . .    Passionate love is more powerful than greed, stronger than the force of inertia: It has power to arouse us from the couch, whip us into shape, light the bonfire of curiosity and propel us on lifelong adventures against staggering odds.  People are capable of such love at any time of life, and people in love are capable of anything at all, including homicide, poetry, heroic fasts or endless revels.  People in love walk straight off the cliff and into midair, and so long as they hold onto their secret they never fall into the sea.

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