Happy Birthday, Flannery O’Connor!

ImageToday – March 25, The Feast of the Annunciation (and, fittingly, The Incarnation) – is Flannery O’Connor’s birthday. I just love her.

Here are a few reasons why (in her own words, because no other words will do):

1. “A story is a way to say something that can’t be said any other way, and it takes every word in the story to say what the meaning is.” 

2. “There is something in us, as storytellers and as listeners to stories, that demands the redemptive act, that demands that what falls at least be offered the chance to be restored. The reader of today looks for this motion, and rightly so, but what he has forgotten is the cost of it. His sense of evil is diluted or lacking altogether, and so he has forgotten the price of restoration. When he reads a novel, he wants either his sense tormented or his spirits raised. He wants to be transported, instantly, either to mock damnation or a mock innocence.”

3. “Anything that comes out of the South is going to be called grotesque by the northern reader, unless it is grotesque, in which case it is going to be called realistic.”

4. “Art never responds to the wish to make it democratic; it is not for everybody; it is only for those who are willing to undergo the effort needed to understand it.”

5. “I come from a family where the only emotion respectable to show is irritation. In some this tendency produces hives, in others literature, in me both.”

6. “There is no excuse for anyone to write fiction for public consumption unless he has been called to do so by the presence of a gift. It is the nature of fiction not to be good for much unless it is good in itself.”

and most of all, because:

7. “I think there is no suffering greater than what is caused by the doubts of those who want to believe. I know what torment this is, but I can only see it, in myself anyway, as the process by which faith is deepened. A faith that just accepts is a child’s faith and all right for children, but eventually you have to grow religiously as every other way, though some never do. […] What people don’t realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross. It is much harder to believe than not to believe. If you feel you can’t believe, you must at least do this: keep an open mind. Keep it open toward faith, keep wanting it, keep asking for it, and leave the rest to God.

Here are some audio recordings of her reading her short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” and her essay “Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction.”

http://www.mhpbooks.com/audio-flannery-oconnor-reads-a-good-man-is-hard-to-find/

Here is a wonderful article written about her by one of my favorite Catholic writers and bloggers, Amy Welborn:

http://catholiceducation.org/articles/arts/al0058.html

As she would say at the end of her letters to Maryat Lee:

Cheers,

Tarfunk

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1 Comment

Filed under Catholicism, Flannery O'Connor

One response to “Happy Birthday, Flannery O’Connor!

  1. Pingback: Girl History Month – Flannery O’Connor, Southern Original | Romancing the Bee

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