I hope you are enjoying your summer ... and checking books off your summer reading list! The following readers have won a prize for leaving a comment on the following visits:
- June 9/Word Wenches: Chey
- June 11/King Kamehameha: Gwyn Lacy
- June 12/Trooping of the Colours: Mary Anne
- June 14/Army's 235th Birthday: Danielle
Winners, please send me your mailing address to email@example.com.
And a shout out to my new friend, Robert from the Cook Memorial Pubic Library, http://www.cooklib.org/. I met this handsome librarian this morning as I was walking through Philippe Park, http://www.pinellascounty.org/park/11_philippe.htm. Robert asked me for directions and we fell into a discussion about books! He is excited to join us as we travel to Jackson, Mississippi to meet a legendary American writer, Eudora Welty.
Last week I traveled to Jackson to visit my extended family. My cousin Nancy asked me to join her for a tour of the Eudora Welty House, http://mdah.state.ms.us/welty/. Nancy thought I might be interested since I blog about books. I was a little embarrassed that I did not know this award winning American icon, but I soon came to appreciate her achievements after visiting her home.
From the website Womens' History,
"Born in Jackson, Mississippi, she attended the Mississippi College for Women, graduated from the University of Wisconsin (1929) and studied advertising at Columbia University for a year. Her first short story appeared in 1936, and gradually she began to be published in small, then regional and general circulation magazines. She published collections of her short stories and began publishing novels, as well.
Soon after her first novel was published, she stopped writing to care full-time for her family for fifteen years: for two brothers with severe arthritis and her mother who had had a stroke. After her mother died in 1966, she returned to writing.
She was a 6-time winner of the O. Henry Award for Short Stories, and her many awards include the National Medal for Literature, the American Book Award, and, in 1969, a Pulitzer Prize.
She was also an accomplished and published photographer. But it is for her fiction, usually set in the rural South, that she's known as the First Lady of Southern Literature."
Eudora's house is tucked away in an historic neighborhood next to Belhaven University. The docent for our tour inspired us with tidbits about Eudora's life:
- The house has been restored to recreate how Eudora lived as she wrote. Books are piled on shelves, furniture, and even the floor (my cousin and I smiled at each other, glad to know that even a Pulitzer Prize winner has clutter). Eudora's favorite reading chair is next to a end table filled with "clutterments" - special trinkets that brought joy to her everyday life.
- Eudora hosted celebrated journalist Roger Mudd and his wife for dinner. Unfortunately, she dropped the crab and cheese casserole, yet Mrs. Mudd still requested the recipe.
- Eudora used a manual typewriter until her arthritis forced her to use an electric typewriter. She often cut out paragraphs from pages to reorganize the story.
- Eudora did not display any of her literary awards. But she was proud of the Raven shaped trophy she won as a mystery reader.
- Fans often left (or mailed) books for Eudora to autograph, which she graciously signed (and mailed back). One fan even sent her a check to purchase and autograph her own books. Not surprising, Eudora purchased, signed, and mailed the books to this fan. Authors, are you willing to do this for your fans?!?
Thanks, Cousin Nancy, for introducing me to Eudora Welty! On our drive back to Tampa, we listened to an adaption of the Eudora's "The Shoe Bird." In keeping with her Southern traditions, the story taught us to:
- find the answer in the question
- remember our talents
- don't take everything so literal
Do you have a favorite Southern author? Do you have a favorite place to visit in the South? Leave a comment for the chance to win a special gift from the Eudora Welty Home.
Next Wednesday we visit our northern neighbor, Canada, in celebration of Canada Day on July 1! I have treats for all commenters from several Canadian authors!
And July will take us to Borders' Romance Convention in Denver and RWA's National Convention in Orlando. So stay tuned for the uber book giveaway!