Peace, Education, Conservation, Quiet

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.

.

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

Advertisements

27 thoughts on “Peace, Education, Conservation, Quiet

    1. Teri Post author

      Faster, even, than my daily writing shenanigans. At least when I spend the time doing the laundry, I know I won’t throw it in the trash at the end of the day.

    2. Teri Post author

      And Averil, I failed to mention that Mr. Teri and I spent a couple of hours with our very own AmyG at a coffee shop, on our way to the in-laws. I wish we’d had days…. I miss you all !!!!

      1. Averil Dean

        No!!! I don’t know who to be most jealous of in this scenario.

        I was thinking about BH2013. I hope it’s not one of those things people say without meaning it, because it will break my heart a little if we can’t manage to pull it off. I miss you all, too!

      2. Teri Post author

        Oh sister, I mean it. I’m not messing around with the BH2013. My entire year will be built around it. I promise you.

        I hope you had a good Thanksgiving with the little man. Our first 3 days were with our kids. Fabulous. They are so much fun, if I do say so myself. After that, I must say “meh,” but that’s the way it goes ….

        I miss you!!!! And P.S. I slept like a baby in that room with my window open. 😉 It was heavenly, and I was exhausted (in the best way) every single night.

      3. Averil Dean

        After that room, any Motel 6 will feel like a luxury suite. But I’m so glad you were comfortable and I hope you’ll come again. It was the most fun I’ve had in years.

        My big kids are coming up for Christmas, I just bought their plane tickets. Even the little guy is excited to see them, if you can believe it. He wrote this long list of presents to buy for them. Talk about happy exhaustion. . . .

    1. Teri Post author

      I also love her answer to the question, What do you think about the women’s lib movement?

      “Noisy,” she said.

  1. jpon

    What a refreshing take on the occupation of writing. Welty didn’t glorify it, didn’t devalue it. As Goldilocks might say, her approach to the craft was just right.

    1. Teri Post author

      There is a matter-of-factness about Welty’s answers in interviews that makes me swoon. And I mean literally swoon. The aaaaaahhhhhh effect.

  2. Josephine

    how grounded she is.

    i have a favorite EW quote:
    The events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order the continuous thread of revelation.

    i love the thread of revelation.

    1. Teri Post author

      Welty is a realist. And I believe I am madly in love with her. I love her no nonsense view of the writing life, and her dedication.

      Thanks for that quote. “The thread of revelation.” Yes yes and yes.

  3. Lyra

    Oh this is too beautiful.

    “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.”

    If that doesn’t explain so much about all of us, I don’t know what does.

  4. Erika Marks

    We do tend to work wherever we are, I think. I “worked” as I drove, mulling over story ideas, and of course, coming up with some juicy bits when a piece of paper was no where in sight. But the good ones stick. Usually.

    Hope you all had fun at your table this holiday.

  5. LauraMaylene

    Oh, how I love her! So sensible, so sure of herself. Thank you for this. Does it get any better than:

    “…and for myself should prefer to rely on self-examination and common sense as resolute as possible.” ???

    1. Teri

      True, but I believe she is referring to “problem solving” and not mental illness.

      And speaking of astrology, the psychic I saw a few weeks ago solved nothing (as expected), but she sure was entertaining!

  6. girl in the hat

    “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.” Love that. It can be read so many ways.

    For me, writing is the best form of therapy, too. I know that many writers would balk at this statement, but every time I write, I feel like I’m healing something inside myself.

Comments are closed.