Reading Matters

Eudora Welty describes ideal day

Eudora Welty
Eudora Welty Jenny Cochran Hall

Twenty-eight years ago this week, I drove down to Jackson, Miss., to interview Eudora Welty, who had sent me a handwritten note, in response to my note asking for an interview, indicating that it would be fine for me to come to her home for our chat.

It was a hot day -- take my word -- and she had nothing for air but a small black rotary fan on the hearth. She said if it got too warm, we could turn it on. I told her I thought the air was just right, and we needn’t bother.

She liked one of my questions best – when I asked her to describe an ideal day. Here is what she said:

“Oh, boy. Nobody’s ever given me this chance before. Okay. Wake up early. I’m one of those people who think best in the morning. I like to wake up ready to go, and to know that during that whole day the phone wouldn’t ring, the doorbell wouldn’t ring -- even with good news -- and that nobody would drop in. This all sounds so rude. But you know, things that just make a normally nice days are not what I want. I don’t care what the weather is. I don’t care what the temperature is. I don’t care where I am or what room I’m in. I’d just get up and get my coffee and an ordinary breakfast and get to work. And just have that whole day! And at the end of the day, about five or six o’clock, I’d stop for good. And I’d have a drink, a bourbon and water, watch the evening news -- ‘MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour’ -- and then I could do anything I wanted to.”