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May 23, 2014 4:05 PM   Subscribe

Eudora Welty at 23
March 15, 1933
Gentlemen,
I suppose you’d be more interested in even a sleight-o’-hand trick than you’d be in an application for a position with your magazine, but as usual you can’t have the thing you want most.
posted by Stewriffic (22 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite

 
She used "phase" incorrectly. Maybe that's what happened...
posted by Stewriffic at 4:11 PM on May 23 [5 favorites]


So charming and clever!

Eudora used to be my favorite email client and, having read the FAQ, I knew it was named for her, but it took me over a decade after abandoning desktop email to read The Optimist's Daughter (just a couple of months ago on a Southern Gothic kick) and understand why they paid homage to her with their software.

Highly recommended for its great chacterizations and overall wittiness and just the wonderful palpable mood she creates.
posted by danabanana at 4:21 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


"I congo on." Awesome.
posted by klangklangston at 4:36 PM on May 23 [6 favorites]


I've done this. Didn't work. Fun, though.
posted by cribcage at 4:36 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


How is this the first post on Welty since 2001?!

If you're new to Welty, a great place to start is her short story "Why I Live at the P. O." I recommend listening to Welty read it herself for a few seconds here, or the whole reading's apparently available (in RealAudio?!) along with a lot of old NYT reviews at this NYT tribute page.

The Smithsonian on Welty's photography.

Short bio from the Eudora Welty Foundation.

The Quiet Greatness of Eudora Welty: Welty had a ready answer for those who thought that a quiet life and a literary life were somehow incompatible. “As you have seen, I am a writer who came of a sheltered life,” she told her readers. “A sheltered life can be a daring life as well. For all serious daring starts from within.”

More on Welty and her work from the Mississippi Writers Page.

And here she is in Wikipedia.

I am pretty sure Ms. Welty would have approved of my use of the interrobang. Probably.
posted by asperity at 4:41 PM on May 23 [20 favorites]


(And now that I've gotten past my WTFery at MeFi's overall lack of Eudora Welty, I loved this letter!)
posted by asperity at 4:43 PM on May 23 [4 favorites]


"She used 'phase' incorrectly. Maybe that's what happened..."

This will cause me to be much less annoyed and contemptuous when I notice this mistake in the future.

It's rare, I think, to see this from someone highly literate; it is much more common from people who are acquainted with the word from speech and naturally believe it to be phase. But I do think it sometimes appears in writing from people like 23-year-old Welty because faze just sort of looks wrong, like it's slang or a slangy-misspelling of what, really, should be phase. So even if they've seen faze, they are still quite suspicious. That's my theory, anyway.

I'll still be a little bit annoyed and contemptuous, though, because I'm pretty sure none of those writers will write as well as Eudora Welty.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:23 PM on May 23 [4 favorites]


I wrote a jokey cover letter for an internship once. Luckily some kindly HR type person told me it wasn't a good idea and they'd removed it from the application. I got in that time.

If only I'd had kindly people to intercept my cluelessness more often.
posted by philipy at 5:29 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


This letter only looks great because it's Eudora Welty. I don't see what's so special about it.
posted by xmutex at 6:10 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


So witty that they named an email client after her.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:20 PM on May 23


Oh, mixing up homophones? That's literally what copy editors are for. Who cares? Give the desk something to do; they can't spend all their time correcting comma splices.

Jokey cover letters are bad, sure. But if you're trying to get a writing job, make no mistake, don't be boring. If I'd been this sparkly at 23...? That would have been swell.

Thanks for posting.
posted by purpleclover at 6:23 PM on May 23 [5 favorites]


Brendan Eich did a lot of work on Thunderbird using the Open Source Eudora code. Too bad his choice of charities got him fired.

http://www.eudora.com/

I bought Eudora Pro for $35 when it was 16 bit Windows to get MAPI support to automate my emails. Had a Access 2.0 database send out reports every so often to various email addresses.
posted by Orion Blastar at 6:27 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


A lot better than the application we received from Miss WindowsLiveMail, but we're still not going to hire her.
            - Mr. Stuffy Van Stuffypants
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:55 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


When I was a recent grad, I also had a personalized cover letter and put a guarantee on myself that if the editors didn't like my work I would forgo that month's wages. Was hired instantly....
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 6:57 PM on May 23 [5 favorites]


where I majored in English without a care in the world

The writing that ages the best tends to be good satire or good humour writing, or at least snarky and on-the-ball writing that lampoons the customs of the time. Which is why I can imagine people fifty years from now looking back at MetaFilter and feeling how well it resonates through the ages.
posted by quiet earth at 7:19 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


Eudora. Same here, my most favorite email client in a time gone by.
posted by nostrada at 8:22 PM on May 23


Worth it for "concubineapple" alone.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:55 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


What a beautiful letter! A cool find, Stewriffic.

She's so utterly lovable. I totally love Eudora Welty's writing. Only read a slim volume of hers, written when she was an old woman, remembering her childhood. Must read more of her work.

There's something about her writing that makes me feel the world and life are fundamentally good.
posted by nickyskye at 9:47 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


What I noticed about Welty in that letter was the tightwire act that is New Yorker erudition. She didn't get the job (even from here we can see she's about to tumble off), but somebody noticed that she dared, got across somehow, and made a note for later.
posted by notyou at 10:02 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


nickyskye I promise you that the rest of her oeuvre is worth reading. She's one of my favorite writers of the American South. I think of her as the love-child of Flannery O'Connor and Dorothy Parker, but with the sincerity and earnestness of Harper Lee thrown in for extra goodness.

Other times I think of her as the southern United States version of Alice Munro, which from me is high praise indeed.
posted by trip and a half at 10:27 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


Also, thank you Stewrrific for the post!
posted by trip and a half at 10:35 PM on May 23


What a fantastic letter from a fantastic writer (the shocking 'phase' notwithstanding). Not sure if I'm sad she didn't get the job, though - would it have honed her skills sooner, or just worn her down into a clever writer who didn't produce all that much of note in the end (Ms. Parker and associates, I am looking at you).
posted by Mchelly at 7:07 PM on May 24


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