Tucker's article says
He makes his home near Washington National Cathedral....There is no bed..., no bookshelves, no couch, nor much to sit on other than a kitchen chair. He does not have a car, a driver's license or any mechanized means of transport, not even a bicycle. He has no cellphone, no DVD player, and his Internet connection is sporadic. Though he loves movies and trash daytime television--in particular, those judge shows--he has only a 10-year-old, 13-inch TV and has never had cable.He created his first book, the novel The Known World, in his head for a period of about 10 years, then wrote it all down in 2001 when he was laid off from his job for three months. It won the Pulitzer Prize.
Ordinarily, I'm a very fast reader--consuming a book a day is not unusual. All books don't allow this, though--this book especially. I have spent the past three days reading The Known World, and I'm on page 72 out of 388, and I'm worrying that I'm going too fast lest I miss something. I don't have any words to describe his writing other than to say it's unlike anything else I've ever read. Well, a few of my favorite writers come to mind: Tolstory, Faulkner, Robertson Davies--but even they write on the surface at times. Jones is an architect, and he uses words to build his stories. He's also a painter and a poet and a sculptor with words.
Jones, for all his shyness and unassuming ways and modest output, has won in addition to the Pulitzer Prize,
the National Book Critic's Circle award, the PEN/Hemingway Award, a MacArthur "genius grant," the Lannan Literary Award, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and a bunch of (by comparison) trifling stuff. He's won nearly $1 million in literary awards alone, never mind earning hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties.Well, it's time for me to be moving again, and that means more downsizing. Edward P. Jones has set a shining example for getting along without a whole bunch of stuff. I really don't need a short ton of books, let alone seven bookcases to hold them. True, he's had a very different life, but he's been firmly in charge of it.
I went to grad school at the age of 60 and graduated 18 months later on what would have been my mother's 101st birthday. I still remember from those days what a thrill it was to have read Elizabeth Bishop and Allen Ginsberg for the first time, knowing they'd been around and famous for their writing for a long time despite my ignorance.
This is one of the very best things about being my age. There are still riches unmined in the library.