A few years ago I was in the middle of a meeting when one of our senior editors ushered in a tall man with a large, expressive face, wearing owlish glasses and dressed in a khaki suit. In a voice once described as “a baritone that seems precision-engineered to narrate a documentary about glaciers,” he addressed the group and pitched a story idea. He wanted, he told us, to do a story about his own “personal geography.” That man was the author, radio personality, and storyteller Garrison Keillor, and there could be only one answer to the appeal.
Keillor’s reminiscence, “There’s No Place Like Home,” is the result. You might say it’s a piece he’s been writing his whole life. Ostensibly, it’s about Minneapolis-St. Paul. He conjures word pictures of neighborhoods with stucco bungalows, lakes with names like Minnetonka and Nokomis, and the sweep of the rocket tail fins on a white Cadillac convertible. But it’s also something different and very special.
Keillor’s piece is an interior geography; it’s the map of a man’s soul. In summoning up the Twin Cities of his youth and adulthood, he talks about what it means to be not just from a place, but of a place. Early on, he says, he realized that Minneapolis-St. Paul was a much better place than Manhattan in which to be an original. In his essay Keillor tells us why where you come from matters. “If you want to know the truth,” he says, “I feel understood there.”blog comments powered by Disqus