Writing
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Eudora Welty: On Listening

“When I read, I hear what’s on the page. I don’t know whose voice it is, but some voice is reading to me, and when I write my own stories, I hear it, too. I have a visual mind, and I see everything I write, but I have to hear the words when they’re put down.”

Design P

“Ever since I was first read to, then started reading to myself, there has never been a line read that I didn’t hear. As my eyes followed the sentence, a voice was saying it silently to me. It isn’t my mother’s voice, or the voice of any person I can identify, certainly not my own. It is human, but inward, and it is inwardly that I listen to it. It is to me the voice of the story or the poem itself.”

Design H

“The sound of what falls on the page begins the process of testing it for truth, for me. Whether I am right to trust so far I don’t know. By now I don’t know whether I could do either one, reading or writing, without the other.”

Design K

“My own words, when I am at work on a story, I hear too as they go, in the same voice that I hear when I read in books. When I write and the sound of it comes back to my ears, then I act to make my changes. I have always trusted this voice.”

Design E

“Long before I wrote stories, I listened for stories. Listening for them is something more acute than listening to them. I suppose it’s an early form of participation in what goes on. Listening children know stories are there. When their elders sit and begin, children are just waiting and hoping for one to come out, like a mouse from its hole.”

Design O

“My instinct – the dramatic instinct – was to lead me eventually on the right track for a storyteller: The scene was full of hints, pointers, suggestions and promises of things to find out and know about human beings. I had to grow up and learn to listen for the unspoken as well as the spoken – and to know a truth. I also had to recognize a lie.”

eudora-welty1

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