Thursday, 7 January 2021

Woebegon

I was cleaning out some files and stumbled upon a letter I wrote in 2011. I don't believe it was ever replied to, and A Prairie Home Companion has undergone many changes since then—most notably, not hiring me to replace Garrison Keillor. In addition to Keillor not being quite who we all thought he was, I was at the time living in Hauppauge on Long Island with my then-fiancée, now ex-wife, and contemplating a move to California. Enjoy.

*****

Hello there!

I was saddened to read a recent New York Times article about the inevitable stepping down of Garrison Keillor as full-time host of A Prairie Home Companion, his being such a fixture of the program. Like many listeners, I was thrown off by hearing guest host Sara Watkins that one show back in January, fearing something dreadful had happened to Mr. Keillor. (Luckily for my poor heart, his soothing baritone voice came on later in the episode and I, like so many others, could calm down.)

Last night as I drifted between this world and the dreamless, an odd thought occurred to me and I scrambled to scrawl the letters “APHC,” underlined several times, on a bedside piece of paper. There aren't many jobs I feel comfortable enough to do extremely well; I wasn't the answer to the New York Mets' managerial problems, and I won't be elected U.N. Secretary General anytime soon. But I can speak, I can sing, and I can write. So I'd like to offer myself as a possible guest host.

My qualifications include several years working in the theatre in New York and on Long Island (notably with Theatre Three and Momentum Repertory Company), and a few years hosting radio shows and doing radio theatre on local station WFTU. As an elder and music director in the Presbyterian church (and the grandson of a minister), I'm also rather familiar with Protestant hymns (“Old Rugged Cross” being one of my favorites). Many of my written works are sitting on the desks of magazine magnates, just waiting for their chance to be seen on the printed page; but many others are children's shows and theatrical pieces that have delighted hundreds, even fives of hundreds. At 26 years old, I'm a fast study with a decent skill for improvisation, willing to do anything that needs to be done. My instruments include voice (tenor), piano, and guitar.

One of my stumbling blocks has been and will continue to be my lack of Midwesterness. This is something I have been working on for a few years with my fiancée's father, native of southern Illinois. We are both confident that with further, fully immersive training, being more Midwestern will become as natural to me as catching a subway or hailing a cab.

Anyway, that's more about me than I ever cared to put in one letter, and for that I'm sorry. But I do hope you'll at least take a look at me and see if I wouldn't be an acceptable way to continue this find radio program well into the future. It will be difficult no matter who steps into the role; Mr. Keillor is so admired and revered. But I trust everything will work out as it is meant to work out.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Kevin Story

*****

I wonder why they didn't want to reply to that.