One of my favorite writers is Eudora Welty, a local colorist of sorts from Jackson, Mississippi. She is most famous for her novel, Delta Wedding (©1946), but her best work is thought to be her short stories. My favorite of her novels is The Optimist’s Daughter (©1969), which makes me weep every time I read it, though it isn’t a particularly sad story, really.
Now I have another reason for liking Welty. Just look at that living room! It looks a lot like mine – all those books scattered everywhere.
Her house, which was built at the same time as our bungalow, has been renovated and opened to the public. The old wiring, like ours, badly needed updating and air conditioning was installed, though we are told Welty refused to have it during her lifetime. She liked to work in the heat.
Having lived in southwestern Georgia I can tell you the heat down there is truly oppressive. When it’s that hot the phone doesn’t ring because it’s too hot to dial, Welty said. The heat insulated her from interruption when she was writing.
Roger Mudd has written a little piece for the NY Times about a visit he and wife made to Welty in 1986. His words capture, for me, the informality and charm of Welty and her work.