Thursday, June 16, 2011

What There is to Say We Have Said: A Review

What There Is to Say We Have Said: The Correspondence of Eudora Welty and William MaxwellNot long after we started this blog I discovered an incredible tool for receiving free books. It goes like this:

Cannwin emails publishers, publishers send Cannwin books, Cannwin reviews the books, publishers are pleased and send Cannwin more books.

It's a very nice little system... except for one thing.... I haven't reviewed any of the books yet. That's what I call an epic fail.

Today, I'd like to start remedying that failure with a book called 'What There is to Say, We Have Said: The correspondence of Eudora Welty and William Maxwell' Edited by Suzanne Marrs.

Whew... say that ten times fast!

This book is exactly what it says it is... a series of letters between an author (Eudora) and her editor (William).

Now, although I typically love books of this sort (compilations of letters), I had a hard time with this one because I had no idea who either of these people were. An error that, evidently, reveals a lot about my reading habits since Eudora Welty is well known within the literary community.

Actually I had a friend who got all excited when she saw the book in my living room and told me all sorts of things about Welty that I clearly had never known before. I felt decidedly uneducated by the time she was done.

Yet, despite my enormous lack of knowledge on these two people I found the book to be an interesting insight into the lives of professional writers. I think that, in general, those of us who wish to be paid writers have an idea of what 'they' are like. An example, for me, of this would be the notion that the 'professional writer' type doesn't enjoy reading anymore for fun anymore.

The Golden ApplesThis was clearly not the case for these two.
"I finished reading (while the lawn mower stood idle on the lawn) the first section of The Golden Apples, and was three pages along in June Recital, when Emmy came out on the porch..." -William Maxwell to Eudora Welty 1949
William Maxwell was an editor for the New Yorker, and spent his working days reading literature, and yet it was still possible to enthrall him in a book. How very human of him.

Eudora Welty, I also found, had an interest in odd namings:

"Some good names nobody would believe: in the paper a wreck happened, with Mr. Dill Pickle, white, colliding with Hercules Small,8, colored..." Eudora Welty to William Maxwell, 1952

"A place I just ordered some lilies from is out ther too somwhere--Boring, Ore. (Named by some strange, non-lily-loving people perhaps--or could there be some Borings, naming towns after themselves?)" Eudora Welty to William Maxwell, 1952

This is definitely a book for anyone who has read Welty or Maxwell or who enjoys the day to day intricacies of American life.

In this post:



Shelley said...

Oh my gosh--Welty's "Why I Lived At the P.O." is the single funniest thing I have ever read. As a writer, it practically makes me hold my breath as I skate from line to line.

Cannwin said...

wow, what an intriguing description!


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