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Here’s a wonderful video on Welty’s photography and its relation to her writing.

Here’s a gem of an observation from Welty’s On Writing:

The plot is the Why.  Why? is asked and replied to at various depths; the fishes in the sea are bigger the deeper we go.  To learn that character is a more awe-inspiring fish and (in a short story, though not, I think in a novel) one some degrees deeper down than situation, we have only to read Chekhov.

That character is a bigger fish in the sea of writing than plot, many writers have said, but few have said it as eloquently.  I have to admit as well that I’m curious about her distinction of the novel and the short story.  I’d say character is just as important to the novel as the short story, but I can see her point that plot matter more in the novel.  Otherwise, you’d end up with a sequence of chapter episodes rather than a novel as a whole.

You have my deepest apologies for my two week absence.  Busy would be a mild word.  I do regret the break because I needed to be closer to finishing the Collected Stories by now.   But, breaks happen to the best of blog intentions.   I do plan to be up and going again now.  We have a lot planned at JCJC for April 13, Welty’s birthday.  I’m excited about it and excited about spending more time with her work between now and then.

Quote of the day:  “The events in our lives happen in a sequence of time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order, a timetable no necessarily–perhaps not possibly–chronological.  The time as we know it subjectivelly is often the chronology that stories and novels follow:  it is the continuous thread of revelation.”


I didn’t actually read anything today.  I’m in San Francisco.  I did, however, see a Eudora Welty postcard at City Lights Bookstore and felt a nicely warmed by that little piece of home.

Quote of  the day:  “When I did begin to write, the short story was a shape that had already formed intself and stood waiting in the back of my mind.”

This follows a passage in One Writer’s Beginnings about family trips, about how they were stories in themselves.

My Welty quote of the day:  “To me it was a sound of unspeakable loneliness that I did not know how to run away from.  I was there in its company, watching the moonflower open.”

This follows a section in which she describes listening to music but not talking much at her grandfathers house along with her own efforts to imagine what it was like for her father to grow up like that.

In the next scene of  “Moon Lake,” the competition between the town kids and the orphans continues with a little gambling.  Good stuff all the way around, but my favorite line comes with Easter’s reaction to being taunted by Jinny Love:  “Victory with a remark attached did not crush Easter at all.”  I love it.

Swimming lessons are the focal point of the opening scene of “Moon Lake,” the lessons and the cruel tension between town kids and orphans.  Mrs. Gruenwald, the swimming instructor, is every bit as fascinating as the children.  And, as always, Welty has an incredible sense of closure.  The scene ends with this:  “Mrs. Gruenwald, who capered before breakfast, believed in evolution, and put her face in the water, was quarter of a mile out.  If she said anything, they couldn’t hear her for the frogs.”

Beautiful.  The “before breakfast” part makes me think of the line in Through the Looking Glass about believing impossible things before breakfast.  This is wonderful language to depict the child’s view.  And the frogs.  Oh yeah, the frogs.

I’m going to feed the blog only a tiny morsel today, once more on the grounds of having been incredibly busy.

Here’s a quote from One Writer’s Beginnings:  “The smell of all those rows of bread and the row of pies didn’t easily go away either.  And in the parlor where the blinds were drawn, the smell of being unvisited would pervade, pervade, pervade.”

This is quite possibly the best description of a “company room” I’ve ever read.

March 2009
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