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Following Eudora Welty’s Journey Within

Oct 13 2015

by Catherine Hamrick

Eudora Welty

Our Southern heritage offers great lessons. In this case, I speak of Eudora Welty’s self-awareness.

“It is our inward journey that leads us time–forward or back . . . seldom in a straight line, most often spiraling. Each of us is moving, changing, with respect to others. As we discover, we remember . . . and most intensely do we experience this when our separate journeys converge.”–Eudora Welty, One Writer’s Beginnings

This may be my best writing lesson.

Years ago, I set off for summer school in Jackson, Mississippi. Miss Welty’s shady neighborhood backed up to the college campus. As the sun dropped down, I would jump on my bicycle and pedal past her house. I wanted to wave but didn’t. I spotted her in the local Jitney a few times. Nobody fussed about her celebrity. She went about her business; they went about theirs.

That’s what I love about Mississippi. It’s chock-full of artists that most residents treat like neighbors. I met a few self-absorbed writers in my occasional brushes with literary folk. (The worst was the first and last literary conference I attended two years ago.) Not in Mississippi.

In 2005, Francine Prose wrote a thoughtful review of Eudora Welty: A Biography bySuzanne Marrs. The book “belongs on the shelf beside its subject’s own work. Neither hagiography nor pathography, it is, you feel, the thoroughly respectful and straightforward biography its honest, modest, intensely private subject would have wanted.”

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Catherine Hamrick View More Blog Posts from this Author

After a few years as a copywriter for the Southern Living Advertising Department, editor and writer Catherine Hamrick learned her craft in the magazine and book divisions of media giants Time Inc. and Meredith Corporation. She taught writing, literature, public speaking, and business communication at the university level. As a freelancer, Catherine has tackled "almost every topic but porn and physics" and has managed editorial projects or co-authored branded books for imprints such as Southern Living, Oxmoor House, Meredith Books, Better Homes and Gardens, Traditional Home, Country Home, Midwest Living, The Home Depot, Ortho, and Lark Publishing. Certified in social media marketing, she coaches students and professionals in writing resumes, cover letters, and online profiles. She is also a ghostwriter—that is, a professional keeper of secrets. Connect @ChamrickWriter or drop by her blogs: Random Storyteller (https://randomstoryteller.com) and Catherine Hamrick: Writer, Editor, Social Media Human (https://catherinehamrick.com).

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