The Return of Kevin Kling
A Story of Near-Death and Recovery

Listen Listen to storyteller Kevin Kling on All Things Considered.

kevin kling

Kevin Kling rehearses, post-accident.
Photo: Courtesy of Star Tribune

Jan. 4, 2002 -- On a hot August evening last summer, storyteller and NPR commentator Kevin Kling was riding his vintage BMW motorcycle to a Minnesota performing arts festival. At an intersection in south Minneapolis, Kling slammed into a car that had pulled in front of him.

The devastating crash broke his right shoulder and hand, tearing nerve endings that left his arm temporarily paralyzed and severely weakened. He shattered several facial bones; surgeons had to rebuild his right eye socket and put his teeth back into place.

kevin kling

Kling marches in a May Day parade.
Photo: Courtesy Mary Ludington/East Side Digital

"Over the next several hours I was in sections of the newspaper I'd never known and headed for one section I wanted very much to avoid," Kling says of the accident's immediate aftermath.

"I felt death brush twice and had one full-blown conversation. I remember very clearly having the choice to come back here or to move on. And neither seemed like a wrong choice, but I decided to come back, even though I knew there would be consequences."

With his trademark humor, Kling recounts on All Things Considered his near-death experience and tells of the healing power of prayer -- and cocktail weenies.

Humorist and playwright Kevin Kling grew up in Osseo, Minn., and now lives in Minneapolis. He built his reputation telling tales of Minnesota, with plays such as "21A" and "Fear and Loving in Minneapolis", and has performed around the United States and in Australia, Sweden and Edinburgh, Scotland. Kling's stories are collected on two CDs, "Home and Away" and "Stories Off the Shallow End".

Kling on NPR

browse for more NPR coverage A regular contributor, Kevin Kling has told dozens of stories on NPR. Search through an archive of his commentaries.

Kling on the Web

• Read more about Kling's recovery in a Star Tribune article by Graydon Royce.

• Find out more about Kling's plays and stories at

• Listen to more of Kling's recordings at the Kevin Kling Fan Page.