“What one story may have pointed out to me is of no avail in the writing of another. But “avail” is not what I want; freedom ahead is what each story promises — beginning anew. And all the while, as further hindsight has told me, certain patterns repeat themselves without my realizing.”
“As you have seen, I am a writer who came of a sheltered life. A sheltered life can be a daring life as well. For all serious daring starts from within.”
Eudora Welty, One Writer’s Beginnings
Snow days — how I love them! When we were kids, we used to build a fort out of our beds and sit under it and read and play cards and giggle. When snow fell soft and sweetly this time around, I curled up with a cup of coffee and took a little voyage back in time to Jackson, Mississippi, the home of the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, Eudora Welty. And what a voyage it was! Diving into her beautiful book, One Writer’s Beginnings, gave me a tantalizing glimpse into where Eudora’s “serious daring” had its roots.
Part memoir, part meditation on the power of memory and words, the book started life as a series of lectures at Harvard. Only 100 pages long, lyrical and knowing, it offers an inspiring window into the inner and outer worlds that shaped Eudora’s writing style and her body of work. Penned when she was in her seventies, the book captures not only her childhood and family history but also explores her own creative journey by dividing it into three parts: Listening, Learning to See, Finding a Voice.
What’s truly fascinating is the elegant way in which Eudora brings the same compassionate objectivity to analyzing her own development as a writer as she does to describing the lives of her family. And the book itself becomes a journey of discovery, because in the writing of it, Eudora came to understand things about herself and her family that she hadn’t known before. What a lovely, lively, lustrous, and lucid exploration of the joys and craft of writing this memoir is!
“…All serious daring starts from within” — what better motto could we have as we strive to find the “freedom ahead” and write dangerously? Write on.