How many Pulitzer Prize-winning authors take the time to teach others to write? I know of one. Eudora Welty, known for her novels and short stories (and New York Times book reviews). She lived to the age of 92, and continues to pass on wisdom through her writing.
On Writing is a slim book of only 106 pages, but it is full of wisdom for writers. Welty shares tips on both short stories and novels. She also has chapters on writing and analyzing a story, and sections on craft, such as place, voice, memory and language. Since she is so quotable, I'll share a few words from Eudora Welty herself:
"I am a writer who came of a sheltered life. A sheltered life can be a daring life as well. For all serious daring starts from within."
"It had been startling and disappointing to me to find out that storybooks had been written by people, that books were not natural wonders, coming of themselves like grass."
"Writing fiction has developed in me an abiding respect for the unknown in a human lifetime and a sense of where to look for the threads, how to follow, how to connect, find in the thick of the tangle what clear line persists."
"Writing a story or a novel is one way of discovering sequence in experience, of stumbling upon cause and effect in the happenings of a writer's own life."
"To imagine yourself inside another person... is what a storywriter does in every piece of work; it is his first step, and his last too, I suppose."
Welty even experienced rejection. Consider this quote from her website: "The kitchen is almost in its original state. For a time there was a wood stove in the corner—the stove where Welty burned Petrified Man after it was rejected. When her publisher called later, saying he had decided to use it, Eudora rewrote it from memory."
If you're curious to learn more about Eudora Welty, check out the Eudora Welty Foundation website. There, you'll find information, resources, and a virtual tour of Welty's home in Jackson, Mississippi (side note: my daughter studies Creative Writing at a university just a few steps from Welty's home).
Which writers inspire you?