2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Garrison Keillor on writing and his face

Published: March 17, 2014, 2:06 pm, by Jen Mulson
Garrison Keillor

Garrison Keillor

Sometimes interviews make me nervous, and sometimes, eh, not so much. The one I had with Garrison Keillor last week gave me a few butterflies, probably because I’ve been listening to the man for 15 years on “A Prairie Home Companion.”

It was surreal to pick up the phone and hear him say, “This is Garrison Keillor from ‘A Prairie Home Companion,’ calling for Jennifer.” Eeee! I silently squealed to myself, then pretended I was a professional and managed to not get fan girl on him.

I asked him about his writing routine, and felt a teeny bit smug when he mentioned his “stretching exercises.” I daresay, I bet those exercises look a little bit like yoga poses.

On writing:

“I start every morning when I get up, and am the first up in the house. It’s usually around 5 a.m., sometimes 6 a.m., and it’s dark and I come downstairs. I put on coffee and do some stretching exercises, and then I light a fire in the fireplace. I sit down at a laptop in the dark and work until people get up. Usually that’s two or three hours.  I have breakfast with the family, and then work until noon. I have about six hours until I knock off, and then go to the office and work there.”

I also found the way he thinks of himself interesting:

Keillor: “If they have listened to the show for years, they can expect to be surprised. I don’t look like what I sound like. I think I sound sort of chipper and cheerful, and I look gloomy and dark.”

Me: “You really think so?”

Keillor: “I know so. I sometimes walk down the street, and see this gloomy person standing in the store window and realize it’s my reflection and I’m taken aback. I feel cheerful, and I have no reason to feel bad, but I think one picks it (looking gloomy) up when you’re in the radio business — where smiling gets you nothing.”