JUDY KRAVIS

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Wednesday, 10 June 2020

All the manoeuvres we make for our daily relations with the world—how to fix a blog and kill a magpie—deflect us from describing it. Eudora Welty in Mississippi early twentieth century, describes. She observes. It's a relief to read a description born of a need to observe.
He stood there with a stunned, yet rather good-humoured look of delay and patience in his face, and kept on standing there. He stamped his mud-red boots, and his enormous hands seemed weighted with the rain that fell from him and dripped down the barrel of the gun. Presently he sat down with dignity in the chair at the table, making a little tumult of his rightful wetness and hunger. Small streams began to flow from him everywhere.
This isn't description it's reanimation. Her language reanimates her memory, her observation. People seem to think of description as inert. It isn't. To watch everything around me, says Eudora Welty, I regarded grimly and possessively as a need. As a child she needed to read the world in conformity with her inner life; perpetually alert, fearing the untoward.

Behold this dreamer cometh.

Eudora Welty's stories in The Modern Library Edition have been the refuge among local carnage lately: ten hens, a fierce fox, two crows and multiple magpies. I needed something quiet and passionate, sentences taking shape and closing like a Scarlatti sonata. 

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