This month’s story for the Willa Cather Short Story Project is “The Fear That Walks by the Noonday.” This story appeared in The Sombrero, an 1895 University of Nebraska year book.
You can read the story on the Willa Cather Archive (WCA) here — The Fear That Walks by the Noonday.
I was surprised when I clicked over to the WCA to see Dorothy Canfield’s name next to Cather’s as cowriter. Dorothy Canfield Fisher would also go on to become both a popular and influential writer and activist. Check out a brief bio here on Goodreads. Some of her works are available at Project Gutenberg.
Apparently Canfield had the idea for the story and Cather wrote it. Here’s Canfield’s memory about the story, as quoted in James Woodress’s Willa Cather: A Literary Life:
“At a football game where we happened to be on the same grandstand, I gave her the idea of a football story—of all things! A fancy that had just occurred to me. She wrote the story, and very generously, I thought, put my name with hers as if I had helped write her story although I would have been perfectly incapable of that at that age. The story got a prize, $10.00—all of that! She gave me half of it. I thought it was generosity itself and still do” (83).
That $10 in 1895 is a little over $300 today.
The story is about a football team and involves a ghost. Can’t wait to dive in!
Read “The Fear that Walks in Noonday” sometime this month and then come back to discuss it on the response post I’ll share on August 25th, the fourth Wednesday of the month. Or, feel free to read it now and comment here if you can’t wait until then!
New to this blog? Learn more about the Willa Cather Short Story Project here. In a nutshell, we’re reading one Cather short story a month. I remind everyone of what story we’re reading on the second Wednesday of the month and then share a response on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Jump in anytime!