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Eudora Welty

  • He did not like illness, he distrusted it, as he distrusted the road without signposts.

    • Eudora Welty,
    • "Death of a Traveling Salesman," in Manuscript ()
  • She was a perfect lady — just set in her seat and stared.

    • Eudora Welty,
    • "Lily Daw and the Three Ladies," A Curtain of Green ()
  • Her face worked and broke into strained, hardening lines, as if there had been a death — that too-explicit evidence of agony in the desire to communicate.

    • Eudora Welty,
    • "The Key," A Curtain of Green ()
  • He looked home-made, as though his wife had self-consciously knitted or somehow contrived a husband when she sat alone at night.

    • Eudora Welty,
    • "The Key," A Curtain of Green ()
  • The excursion is the same when you go looking for your sorrow as when you go looking for your joy.

    • Eudora Welty,
    • title story, The Wide Net ()
  • For the first time in her life she thought, might the same wonders never come again? Was each wonder original and alone like the falling star, and when it fell did it bury itself beyond where you hunted it?

    • Eudora Welty,
    • "The Winds," The Wide Net ()
  • If morning-glories had come out of the horn instead of those sounds, Josie would not have felt a more astonished delight. She was pierced with pleasure.

    • Eudora Welty,
    • "The Winds," The Wide Net ()
  • His memory could work like the slinging of a noose to catch a wild pony.

    • Eudora Welty,
    • "First Love," The Wide Net ()
  • Her voice had the sway of an aerialist crossing the high wire ...

    • Eudora Welty,
    • "Moon Lake," The Golden Apples ()
  • For the night was not impartial. No, the night loved some more than others, served some more than others.

    • Eudora Welty,
    • "Moon Lake," The Golden Apples ()
  • All orphans were at once wondering and stoic — at one moment loving everything too much, the next folding back from it, tightly as hard green buds growing in the wrong direction, closing as they go.

    • Eudora Welty,
    • "Moon Lake," The Golden Apples ()
  • The inviolable grief she had felt for a great thing only widened her capacity to take little things hard.

    • Eudora Welty,
    • "Music from Spain," The Golden Apples ()
  • How cold to the living hour grief could make you!

    • Eudora Welty,
    • "Music from Spain," The Golden Apples ()
  • ... the very next moment, something terrible almost happened.

    • Eudora Welty,
    • "Music from Spain," The Golden Apples ()
  • Always in a house of death, Virgie was thinking, all the stories come evident, show forth from the person, become a part of the public domain. Not the dead's story, but the living's.

    • Eudora Welty,
    • "The Wanderers," The Golden Apples ()
  • Ah, I'm a woman that's been clear around the world in my rocking chair, and I tell you we all get surprises now and then.

    • Eudora Welty,
    • "The Whole World Knows," The Golden Apples ()
  • She was kind; her company was the next thing to being alone.

    • Eudora Welty,
    • "The Whole World Knows," The Golden Apples ()
  • Her smile reminded me of the way a child will open its mouth all right, but not let out the cry till it sees the right person.

    • Eudora Welty,
    • "The Whole World Knows," The Golden Apples ()
  • Miss Eckhart worshiped her metronome. She kept it, like the most precious secret in the teaching of music, in a wall safe.

    • Eudora Welty,
    • "June Recital," The Golden Apples ()
  • They bit their underlips tightly as old people do in carrying out acts of rudeness.

    • Eudora Welty,
    • "June Recital," The Golden Apples ()
  • He loved being happy! He loved happiness like I love tea.

  • Passion is our ground, our island — do others exist?

    • Eudora Welty,
    • "Circe," The Bride of the Innisfallen ()
  • Never think you've seen the last of anything.

  • I get a moral satisfaction out of putting things together.

  • But the guilt of outliving those you love is justly to be borne, she thought. Outliving is something we do to them. The fantasies of dying could be no stranger than the fantasies of living. Surviving is perhaps the strangest fantasy of them all.

  • Each story tells me how to write it, but not the one afterwards.

    • Eudora Welty,
    • interview ()
  • The very greatest mystery is in unsheathed reality itself.

    • Eudora Welty,
    • "Reality in Chekhov's Stories," The Eye of the Story ()
  • Learning stamps you with its moments. Childhood's learning is made up of moments. It isn't steady. It's a pulse.

  • My own words, when I am at work on a story, I hear too as they go, in the same voice that I hear when I read in books. When I write and the sound of it comes back to my ears, then I act to make changes. I have always trusted this voice.

  • She [her mother] was teaching me one more, almost her last, lesson: emotions do not grow old. I knew that I would feel as she did, and I do.

  • Writing fiction has developed in me an abiding respect for the unknown in a human lifetime and a sense of where to look for the threads, how to follow, how to connect, find in the thick of the tangle what clear line persists. The strands are all there; to the memory nothing is ever really lost.

  • I learned from the age of two or three that any room in our house, at any time of day, was there to read in, or to be read to. My mother read to me. She'd read to me in the big bedroom in the mornings, when we were in her rocker together, which ticked in rhythm as we rocked, as though we had a cricket accompanying the story. She'd read to me in the dining room on winter afternoons in front of the coal fire, with our cuckoo clock ending the story with 'Cuckoo,' and at night when I'd got in my own bed. I must have given her no peace. Sometimes she read to me in the kitchen while she sat churning, and the churning sobbed along with any story.

  • It had been startling and disappointing to me to find out that story books had been written by people, that books were not natural wonders, coming up of themselves like grass. Yet regardless of where they came from, I cannot remember a time when I was not in love with them — with the books themselves, cover and binding and the paper they were printed on, with their smell and their weight and with their possession in my arms, captured and carried off to myself.

  • My mother read secondarily for information; she sank as a hedonist into novels. She read Dickens in the spirit in which she would have eloped with him.

  • Children, like animals, use all their senses to discover the world. Then artists come along and discover it the same way ... Or now and then we'll hear from an artist who's never lost it.

  • Ever since I was first read to, then started reading to myself, there has never been a line read that I didn't hear. As my eyes followed the sentence, a voice was saying it silently to me. It isn't my mother's voice, or the voice of any person I can identify, certainly not my own. It is human, but inward, and it is inwardly that I listen to it. It is to me the voice of the story or the poem itself.

  • Writers and travelers are mesmerized alike by knowing of their destinations.

  • The events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order ... it is the continuous thread of revelation.

  • I was always my own teacher.

  • Through travel I first became aware of the outside world; it was through travel that I found my own introspective way into becoming a part of it.

  • Travel itself is part of some longer continuity.

  • ... 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.

  • Daydreaming had started me on the way; but story writing once I was truly in its grip, took me and shook me awake.

  • I think that as you learn more about writing you learn to be direct.

    • Eudora Welty,
    • in Peggy Whitman Prenshaw, Conversations With Eudora Welty ()
  • Once you're into a story everything seems to apply — what you overhear on a city bus is exactly what your character would say on the page you're writing. Wherever you go, you meet part of your story. I guess you're tuned in for it, and the right things are sort of magnetized ...

    • Eudora Welty,
    • in Peggy Whitman Prenshaw, Conversations With Eudora Welty ()
  • At the time of writing, I don't write for my friends or myself either; I write for it, for the pleasure of it.

    • Eudora Welty,
    • in Peggy Whitman Prenshaw, Conversations With Eudora Welty ()
  • Plots are ... what the writer sees with.

  • Making reality real is art's responsibility.

  • Integrity can be neither lost nor concealed nor faked nor quenched nor artificially come by nor outlived, nor, I believe, in the long run denied.

    • Eudora Welty,
    • "Must the Novelist Crusade," The Eye of the Story ()
  • Relationship is a pervading and changing mystery, it is not words that make it so in life, but words have to make it so in a story. Brutal or lovely, the mystery waits for people wherever they go ...

  • Whatever our theme in writing, it is old and tried. Whatever our place, it has been visited by the stranger, it will never be new again. It is only the vision that can be new, but that is enough.

  • ... out of love you can write with straight fury.

  • A thing is incredible, if ever, only after it is told — returned to the world it came out of.

    • Eudora Welty
  • A good snapshot stops a moment from running away.

    • Eudora Welty
  • ... my wish, indeed my continuing passion, would be not to point the finger in judgment but to part a curtain, that invisible shadow that falls between people, the veil of indifference to each other's presence, each other's wonder, each other's human plight.

Eudora Welty, U.S. writer

(1909 - 2001)

Full name: Eudora Alice Welty.