March 2, 2009

Flannery

Joy Williams on Flannery O’Connor:

When asked why she wrote, she replied, “Because I’m good at it.” She found sickness “more instructive than a long trip to Europe.” She was buried the day after she died. Robert Giroux sent a copy of “Wise Blood” to Evelyn Waugh hoping for a blurb, and Waugh replied, “The best I can say is: ‘If this really is the unaided work of a young lady, it is a remarkable product.’ ” One should pretty much ignore her own pronouncements on her art, though in her last years she increasingly endeavored to explain her intentions. She was an anagogical writer, of that there is no doubt. The civil rights movement interested her not at all. When she received a request to stage one of her stories, she wrote, “The only thing I would positively object to would be somebody turning one of my colored idiots into a hero.” Her kinship, she believed, was with Hawthorne. She also described herself as being “13th-century.” She is reported to have had beautiful blue eyes.

(via sullivan)

comments

  1. Daryl Scroggins on March 2nd, 2009 at 11:12 am

    I love the way this is written. It presents a pointilist cascade that generates, in me, a flickering of emotions–a long gaze at fire. She was so strange, so admirable in many ways and so painfully boxed in in other ways. So acutely perceptive of human weakness and suffering, but also apparently able to walk on past it to other business of the day. In the end, though, I am very grateful for the fine work she produced. It has never failed to show something new of the Mystery with each reading.

  2. Amanda Mae Meyncke on March 2nd, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    Absolutely. Reading her book “The Habit of Being”, which is really just letters, shows the side of a woman I longed to know more of, and spent most of my time in college researching, reading about, and creating art over. In some ways, she is everything I would want to be, and a very close friend all at oncet.

    (oncet is not a mistake.)