I’ve been struggling with a scene in my novel. It’s a pivotal scene and needs memorable description. I didn’t know where to turn for inspiration until I found an old book of literary short stories on my bookshelf. The book hadn’t been read in a while–I could smell its age. I opened to the table of contents and flipped through the names of writing legends: William Faulkner, Joyce Carol Oates, John Steinbeck. For some inexplicable reason out of all these great writers, I was drawn to Eudora Welty and her classic short A Worn Path.
Let me share with you the paragraph that inspired me:
The woods were deep and still. The sun made the pine needles almost too bright too look at, up where the wind rocked. The cones dropped as light as feathers. Down in the hollow was the mourning dove–it was not too late for him.
I was amazed (and still am) at how a writer can be so in scene, so in the moment. Welty describes nature as if she’s looking right at what she’s describing. These words are so carefully scripted and thought-out, I realized what a wordsmith she really was. It’s not just the beauty of her descriptions, but how original they are and how Welty views nature as a sacred topic. That’s what makes her one of the greats.
We applaud all of Eudora Welty’s literary contributions today, on her birthday April 13th. Please continue reading our archived article entitled Eudora Welty: A Woman of Southern Charm & Dark Solitude.