Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Garrison Keillor, fully Gary Edward "Garrison" Keillor

American Author, Storyteller, Humorist, Essayist and Radio Personality, Creator of Radio’s "A Prairie Home Companion"

"To know and to serve God, of course, is why we’re here, a clear truth that like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard... Even in time of elephantine vanity and greed, one never has to look far to see the campfires of gentle people. If we had no other purpose in life, it would be good enough to simply take care of them and goose them once in a while."

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved."

"Doubt and mistrust are the mere panic of timid imagination, which the steadfast heart will conquer, and the large mind transcend."

"I can see, and that is why I can be happy, in what you call the dark, but which to me is golden. I can see a God-made world, not a man-made world."

"I look upon the world as my fatherland... I look upon true patriotism as the brotherhood of man and the service of all to all."

"Instead of comparing our lot with that of those who are more fortunate than we are, we should compare it with the lot of the great majority of our fellow men. It then appears that we are among the privileged."

"It is for us to pray not for tasks equal to our powers, but for powers equal to our tasks, to go forward with a great desire forever beating at the door of our hearts as we travel towards our distant goal."

"It is not what we see and touch or that which others do for us which makes us happy; it is that which we think and feel and do, first for the other fellow and then for ourselves."

"Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows."

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable."

"Many people know so little about what is beyond their short range of experience. They look within themselves - and find nothing! Therefore they conclude that there is nothing outside themselves."

"Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose."

"No matter how dull, or how mean, or how wise a man is, he feels that happiness is his indisputable right."

"One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar."

"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold. Faith alone defends."

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart."

"The heresy of one age becomes the orthodoxy of the next."

"The highest result of education is tolerance."

"The only moral virtue of war is that it compels the capitalist system to look itself in the face and admit it is a fraud. It compels the present society to admit that it has no morals it will not sacrifice for gain."

"The world is sown with good; but unless I turn my glad thoughts into practical living and till my own field, I cannot reap a kernel of good."

"There is no lovelier way to thank God for your sight than by giving a helping hand to someone in the dark."

"We can do anything we want to do if we stick to it long enough."

"We cannot freely and wisely choose the right way for ourselves unless we know both good and evil."

"We still have it in our power to rise above the fears, imagined and real, and to shoulder the great burdens which destiny has placed upon us, not for our country alone, but for the benefit of all the world."

"Your success and happiness lie in you. External conditions are the accidents of life. The great enduring realities are love and service. Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow. Resolve to keep happy and your joy in you shall form an invincible host against difficulty."

"In the end, all solutions are temporary."

"It's a shallow life that doesn't give a person a few scars."

"Life is unjust and this is what makes it so beautiful. Every day is a gift. Be brave and take hold of it."

"A book is a gift you can open again and again."

"A girl in a bikini is like having a loaded gun on your coffee table- There's nothing wrong with them, but it's hard to stop thinking about."

"A good newspaper is never nearly good enough but a lousy newspaper is a joy forever."

"A minister has to be able to read a clock. At noon, it's time to go home and turn up the pot roast and get the peas out of the freezer."

"A lovely thing about Christmas is that it's compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together."

"A man can't eat anger for breakfast and sleep with it at night and not suffer damage to his soul."

"And then I stand in front of God's Throne squinting up at His blazing glory and He says, 'You had your opportunities, boy. But did you listen? No. You went on heedlesly reading that garbagey magazine with pictures of naked girls in it. How juvenile! I gave geese more sense than that.' Please, God. I'm only fourteen years old. A teenager. Have mercy. Be loving. I was,' says God. 'For eons. And look at what it got me. You.' God turns in disgust, just the way Daddy does. 'Sorry, but I'm the Creator. I take it personally. There are slugs and bugs and night-crawlers I feel better about having created - I mean, there are sparrows - I've got my eye on one right now. Is that sparrow consumed with lust? No. He mates in the spring and that's the end of it. Consider the lilies. Do they think about lily tits all the time? No. They look not and they lust not, and yet I say unto you that you will never be half as attractive as they. Therefore, I say unto you, think not about peckers and boobs and all that nonsense and your Heavenly Father will see that you meet a good woman and marry her, just as I do for the sparrow and walleye - yea verily, even the night-crawler and the eelpout. But I've told you this over and over for nineteen centuries. And now, verily, it's too late. Time's up, buster. Lights out! Game's over!"

"Anyone who thinks sitting in church can make you a Christian must also think that sitting in a garage can make you a car."

"Be well, do good work, and keep in touch."

"Beauty isn't worth thinking about; what's important is your mind. You don't want a fifty-dollar haircut on a fifty-cent head."

"Being Lutheran, Mother believed that self-pity is a deadly sin and so is nostalgia, and she had no time for either."

"A person cannot coast along in old destructive habits year after year and accept whatever comes along. A person must stand up on her own two legs and walk. Get off the bus and go get on another. Climb out of the ditch and cross the road. Find the road that s where you want to go. ... The only sermon that counts is the one that is formed by our actions. She would quit drinking and thereby show Kyle life is what you make it. A person can grab hold of her life and change things for the better. This happens all the time. We are not chips of wood drifting down the stream of time. We have oars."

"A romp in the hay lingers like the first line of a song, but your true love is the one you make a life with and write more than a line about, you write a whole book."

"Book reading is a solitary and sedentary pursuit, and those who do are cautioned that a book should be used as an integral part of a well-rounded life ... A book should not be used as a substitute or an excuse."

"Call me a pessimist, call me Ishmael, but I think that book publishing is about to slide into the sea. We live in a literate time, and our children are writing up a storm, often combining letters and numerals (U R 2 1derful), blogging like crazy, reading for hours off their little screens, surfing around from Henry James to Jesse James to the epistle of James to pajamas to Obama to Alabama to Alanon to non-sequiturs, sequins, penguins, penal institutions, and it's all free, and you read freely, you're not committed to anything the way you are when you shell out $30 for a book, you're like a hummingbird in an endless meadow of flowers."

"Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a function."

"Demagogues thrive in dim light."

"Describing what would happen if Minnesota sold Lake Superior: One day Donald Trump will discover that he is owned - lock, stock, and roulette wheel - by the Lutheran Brotherhood and must renegotiate his debt load with a committee of silent Norwegians who don't understand why anyone would pay more than $120 for a suit."

"Dogs don't lie and why should I? Strangers come they growl and bark, they know their loved ones in the dark, Now let me, by night or day, Be just as full of truth as they."

"English is the perfect language for preachers because it allows you to talk until you think of what to say."

"Evelyn was an insomniac so when they say she died in her sleep, you have to question that."

"Even in a time of elephantine vanity and greed, one never has to look far to see the campfires of gentle people."