Friday, February 3, 2017

My Fantasy Visit with Eudora Welty


Eudora Welty once said that “Each writer must find out for himself, I imagine, on what strange basis he lives with his own stories.” This has always struck me as a particularly profound observation about not only the writer’s life, but “life” in general, the “stories” we all live.

Eudora Welty. One of America’s all-time great writers. One of America’s all-time great “Southern” writers. Master short-story writer. The best, maybe. And I’ve always had this secret fantasy that she and I, we’d meet. Maybe share a tall glass of lemonade. Talk about, oh, Truman Capote, maybe. I’d ask her things like “What was Truman Capote really like?” Things like that.

In this visit I’ve fantasized having with Eudora Welty, she’d graciously answer my pestering questions in that uniquely Mississippi way I’d imagine she has of speaking molasses-soft and ever so careful with her words, like she had only so many and didn’t want, couldn’t bear, to waste even one, as though she were giving directions to a hopelessly lost four-year-old who’d come to her crying uncontrollably, asking how to get home, then each word she’d utter would have just the exactly proper spacing between each one, their sounds coming out slowly, resembling, somewhat, a Norman Rockwell painting of a red-headed, freckle-faced, gap-toothed little boy seated at the local soda fountain sipping a tall chocolate milkshake, the kind they don’t make anymore.

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