Thursday, February 24, 2005

Me and Mr. Jones

After the delights of reading yesterday's most moving rhymes, I turned for further inspiration to the smiling face on a clipping I have on my bulletin board. It's a news story of Edward P. Jones, who won the Pulitzer Prize last year for his novel The Known World, a story about life under slavery in the ante-bellum U.S. The news article reported that he (and others) had each just won $500,000 MacArthur Grants that generally go to deserving and very bright folks.

While I still haven't read his novel, Jones' own story as a writer was so fascinating that I had to go hear him speak at a gathering after he had won the Pulitzer. Basically, after about 20 years of working in obscurity as an editor for a tax publication (can you think of anything worse, except perhaps . . . being a tax lawyer!), he was given a gentle heave-ho during his Christmas holiday--which, ironically, had been the first time off he had taken in years.

"Hello, Ed. Since you've worked so long and loyally for the company, I wanted to let you know in person, well, sort of in person . . . "

So after that, he had all this time to focus on writing his novel that has since entered the Pulitzer annals and given him further fame and glory--not to mention half-a-million bucks.

While at his talk, he seemed to get a little testy when a lady in the audience persisted in asking how much research he did to achieve to render the historical setting so real ("No, ma'am. I just made it all up. I really did.") he is amazingly unaffected by his reversal of fortune. So much so that he says he didn't own a car before, and he never will get one. In America, that's almost weird--and wonderful.

Continued best wishes, Mr. Jones! You are inspiration enough that it all doesn't have to end in a blog.

5 Comments:

Blogger Gone Away said...

Do I detect ambitions, Mr Clinkers?

2/24/2005 08:00:00 PM  
Blogger Remainderman said...

That assumes that blogs are the ugly sister (or brother) -- a remark I strongly resemble.

Besides, who needs -- or wants-- money and fame.

2/24/2005 10:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Edward P. Jones said...

Face it, Remainderman: you're a loser. See below..."Insignificant Microbe".

Blue Clinkers: I like a guy with ambition. Get fired, then get going. Give me a call -- we'll do lunch, and I'll explain how. (Remember, I don't drive.)

2/24/2005 10:35:00 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

Any author that has his character eating dirt right off the bat is okay by me.

2/24/2005 11:51:00 PM  
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