Eudora Welty’s Cover Letter to The New Yorker

I have a B.A. (’ 29) from the University of Wisconsin, where I majored in English without a care in the world. For the last eighteen months I was languishing in my own office in a radio station in Jackson, Miss., writing continuities, dramas, mule feed advertisements, santa claus talks, and life insurance playlets; now I have given that up.

In 1933, Eudora Welty was 23 years old and looking for work. Pulitzer Prize-winning authors: just like us! One can assume she was early in her job search, as her cover letter to the New Yorker is pure swagger and shows no real signs of being beaten down by the real world just yet.

Or maybe this is a portrait of a woman who recognizes the meaningless of the whole charade and simply DGAF?

How I would like to work for you! A little paragraph each morning — a little paragraph each night, if you can’t hire me from daylight to dark, although I would work like a slave. I can also draw like Mr. Thurber, in case he goes off the deep end. I have studied flower painting.

There is no telling where I may apply, if you turn me down; I realize this will not phase you, but consider my other alternative: the U of N.C. offers for $12.00 to let me dance in Vachel Lindsay’s Congo. I congo on. I rest my case, repeating that I am a hard worker.

In the words of Rebecca Mead, “No way in hell I would have given Eudora Welty a job.” I want to think I would hire her as an intern on a good day. But on a bad day I’d be like, Who does this damn 23-year-old child think she is?

I CONGO ON.

HERO.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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