Friday, June 11th, 2010 by

Clapboard House, an online magazine focused on Southern writing, recently published “You Will Need One Egg,” by NewSouth author Gerald Duff, in their Eudora Welty tribute issue. Honoring the 101st anniversary of Welty’s birth, Clapboard House called for submissions responding to a Welty quote on the writing of fiction:

“Greater than scene is situation. Greater than situation is implication. Greater than all these is a single, entire human being, who will never be confined in any frame.”

“You Will Need One Egg” is a story Duff modeled after unique characters in Welty’s short stories “Petrified Man” and “Why I Live at the PO.”

“My first-person narrative is my modest attempt to copy what Miss Welty achieves so brilliantly in her two toweringly delightful tales,” Duff said. “In the process, I learned anew what genius resides in her writing and how inspiring and inimitable her work can be.”

Duff’s knowledge of Eudora Welty doesn’t completely rely on her published works. Years ago, he had the chance to share an hour of drinks with the author at the famed Peabody Hotel Lobby Bar in Memphis, Tennessee.

“It was delightful to listen to one of America’s great short story writers chat about funny events from her past, interesting people she’d met, uniquely Memphian cocktail drinkers in the Peabody Lobby Bar, and why she liked to tell stories,” said Duff. “I recall her saying, ‘I like to see how the line of character plays out in events and situations, how what a person is won’t allow him or her to do anything other than what they are bound to do. And I like to show them never realizing that as they move to the steps of the dance of time and circumstance.’ I’m not able to quote Miss Welty precisely, but that’s the essence of what she said. I only wish I’d had a recorder to capture it truly.”

Gerald Duff is also the author of the NewSouth-published Fire Ants and Other Stories.

Fire Ants is available from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite local or online retailer.