Katherine Anne Porter: Travel changed her life

Awhile back, I wrote a post about how Langston Hughes’ train trip to Mexico to visit his father influenced his poem “A Negro Speaks of Rivers.” I recently heard that Katherine Anne Porter’s writing is also connected to travel to Mexico, but years before Langston made his way there.

Because May 15 was Porter’s birthday (She died September 18, 1980) Garrison Keillor presented a short retrospective on her life during yesterday’s “Writer’s Almanac . “

Travel changed Porter’s life. Prior to her trip to Mexico, on the invite of Mexicans who told her about the revolution that was about to blow, Porter had never been out of the U.S.–she hadn’t been much further than Texas where she was born. To head to Mexico in 1919, as a female and alone, was rare.

With the success of her short stories inspired by her Mexico experience, Porter later headed to Europe where she began to write about Texas. As she found, often when you leave your home, that’s when you can truly see it and have something to say about it that has any meaning.

The collection Flowering Judas and Other Stories was a result of her Mexico travels. She wrote her novel set in Texas, Noon Wine, in Europe.

Here’s a quote from Katherine Anne Porter to enlighten your day as a traveler.

“Miracles are instantaneous, they cannot be summoned, but come of themselves, usually at unlikely moments and to those who least expect them.”

Working for an airline can lead to a Pulitzer Prize

Which Pulitzer Prize winning author, who I credit as writing the most wonderful book of all time, once worked as a reservation clerk for Eastern Airlines and BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation)? Eventually, friends gave her a year’s salary so she could stop working in order to have time to write, and write she did.

Harper Lee’s birthday was April 28, and in the tradition of The Writer’s Almanac, she was honored by Garrison Keillor who told about this morsel of her life on Monday. So for my last post of April, hats off to Harper Lee who brought us To Kill a Mockingbird after her stint in the travel business.

Perhaps, one of the people who is checking your bags, or telling you that your flight is delayed, has a prize-winning novel percolating. With the way the airlines are going these days, I hope that if someone does have a novel in the works, he or she has a rich friend who can pay his or her salary for a year.

Lee won the Pultizer in 1961.