That was an article I'd not read yet. It gave insight to the past, younger Prine, who, when doing the Strawberry music work-shop, was asked about the history and lyrics to 'Hello in There', and he sort of joked it aside, telling folks it wasn't meant as an instructional.
I guess my initial read on that moment, versus the other (more honest/deeper?) commentary, would be that persons who write or speak from their hearts, often write or speak about things that, to discuss such things openly, or more in-depth, with strangers, and get into the meat of it, sometimes leads to melting down at times that others don't understand. (*Not that I'm projecting personal experiences or anything..
At those times, making a wise crack, or letting it go as something more shallow, allows the maintenance of the veneer, saving the self and others from that quivering voice moment.
All in all, I'd take the explanation given in the article you posted, over the more contrite disregard and dismissal given at the Strawberry festival. .And I think Mr. Prine's lyrics reveal a deep understanding of the human heart, the Cosmic joke, and more, to the extent that I believe, or want to believe, there's THAT much more truth in the deeper commentary given, rather than the explanation of thinking of hollering down a hollow log after listening to some John Lenon, which was his brief explanation at the Strawberry festival. Makes sense now..
In any case, a very kind and beautiful article about Mr. Prine, and social isolation, again, ironically at a time when social isolation for those who previously were m ore into engaging in social circulation, is now a matter of policy and prescription.
So, "Hello in There.'
And stay healthy!!