One of the books I took with me for last week’s travels was CONVERSATIONS WITH EUDORA WELTY.  I love every single one of her short stories, and THE OPTIMIST’S DAUGHTER, but here are a few more reasons to adore her.

From CONVERSATIONS:

For problem-solving, would you choose psychotherapy, drugs, group encounter, or astrology?  With no familiarity with any of them, I still think very little of them, and for myself should prefer to rely on self-examination and common sense as resolute as possible.

Were you brought up to believe a woman’s place was in the home?  I don’t think I was ever told where it was.

EB White once said, “The author must not despair.”  Your thoughts?  I don’t think you are despairing as long as you’re working.  Your work is an answer.  I don’t mean that working keeps you from thinking about it.  I mean that working is the answer, in itself.  By putting something on paper, and doing it well, making a meaning and an order out of some of the world in fiction.  It’s the human spirit answering in its own terms.

What do you think of house-cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc.?  I don’t resent it.  Anything you can accomplish and do fast [unlike writing] and see finished gives me pleasure.

What have been some of your more distressing moments as a writer?  I can’t think of any, really.  I love to write.  I’m never happier than when I’m working.  It doesn’t matter how hard it is; in fact, I love hard things to write.  I try harder and harder. I want to do harder and harder things because that’s the fascination.  I’m utterly happy when I’m revising.  Throwing away gives me great elation sometimes.

What causes do you support?  Peace, education, conservation, quiet.

Do you write every day?  No, I don’t write every day — I write only when I’m in actual work on a particular story.  I’m  not a notebook keeper.  Sustained time is what I fight for, would probably sell my soul for — it’s so hard to manage that.  I’d like to write a story from beginning to end right through without having to stop. 

A lot of writers claim to write with pain and agony.  It’s hard, but I like it hard.  In fact, that’s another mark that it’s any good.

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Here’s to working hard, even over the holidays….

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