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Thursday, April 13, 2023

'All serious daring starts from within'


“Writing a story or a novel is one way of discovering sequence in experience, of stumbling upon cause and effect in the happenings of a writer's own life.” Eudora Welty

Welty went on the trail of such writing and self-discovery in the early 1930s, diving into journalism and photojournalism to help care for her family after her father died from leukemia.  Ultimately, she became one of America’s premiere writers about the American Southern Experience.  Honored just before her death in 2001 with the Medal of Freedom (for her life’s work), she also won a Pulitzer for her novel The Optimist’s Daughter.

Born on this date in 1909, Welty's love of reading was reinforced by her mother who believed "any room in the house, at any time in the day, was there to read in, or to be read to."   

A Works Progress Administration employee in the mid-‘30s, Welty documented daily life and the effect of WPA efforts in Mississippi through both her words and photos.  In 1971 she published one of the definitive photo books about the experience, One Time, One Place.   Many of her books and short stories are reflective of the hard times and individual hardships she  observed. 

Never afraid to speak out against injustice, Welty said “All serious daring starts from within.  To imagine yourself inside the life of another person... is what a story writer does in every piece of work; it is his first step, and his last too, I suppose.”

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