Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Still Moment

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.

Eudora Alice Welty (April 13, 1909 – July 23, 2001) was an award-winning American author who wrote short stories and novels about the American South. Her book The Optimist's Daughter won the Pulitzer Prize in 1973 and she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among numerous awards.

The short story A Still Moment is from her collection The Wide Net and tells a tale of three people who meet in the countryside. Lorenzo Dow, an itinerant minister, Morrell, a gunslinger and murderer, and Audubon. Their interaction raises questions about the interaction of man with nature and with his fellow man. Important to the story is the nature of sight and the difference between the three men of just what they do see. Most of all is the wonder at that still moment in their lives which they share and which changes each of them in unexpected ways. The beauty of Welty's prose, the taut way she uses words and the suspense and complexity of the narrative all contributed to my enjoyment of this fine story. I expect to be reading more of Welty's stories over the next month as they are included on the reading list for the Lincoln Park Library group to which I belong. I will add further comments about Welty's art and these stories as my reading continues.

Selected Stories of Eudora Welty. Modern Library, New York. 1971.

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