As I was driving around town on Oct. 24, I heard an advertisement on the public radio station for Salon@615, a lecture series sponsored by the Nashville Public Library. On a regular basis, Salon@615 hosts authors who discuss their books and inspiration for writing.
The events are free, but require tickets. A few advance tickets are sold 2-3 weeks prior to the event, and the remaining tickets are available to those willing to wait in line, a couple of hours before the 6:15 show time (the library's address is also 615 Church Street).
The event that piqued my interest was author and entertainer Garrison Keillor. Best known for creating and hosting the weekly radio program A Prairie Home Companion, Keillor also hosts a daily 5-minute program, TheWriter's Almanac, which includes author trivia and a poem reading. Keillor has written a number of books from biographies to poetry.
Because I only learned about the event a few days before, I had resigned myself to waiting in line for tickets. At the time I arrived there were already a few people waiting. As I waited, watching the time slowly pass, a woman sat down beside me. She had advance tickets and soon realized she was in the wrong line. However, before moving to the special line for advance ticket holders, she gave me an extra ticket that she had reserved.
Promptly at 6:15 the mayor of Nashville, Karl Dean, stepped to the podium and introduced Garrison Keillor. Keillor walked out carrying a copy of his book and some notes.
Keillor spoke for about 90 minutes, regaling us with tales and backstories for some of the poems from his new book. He also answered several questions ranging from "How do you come up with new ideas?" to "What is your weekly schedule like?" In responding to the observation, "How do you keep up with all you do?" Keillor responded with his characteristically wry sense of humor, "Well, I didn't realize it was a problem until now."