Friend Mary called from Minnesota on Wednesday evening to see how I was doing recovering from the flu and to ask where my writing is going from here. As I begin to do book events again, she and I are both aware of the rich trove of material that is evoked by conversation around Good Daughter Good Mother. Not incidentally, I’m aware of the strong mother-daughter theme in the life of Flannery O’Connor, whose farm I will visit at the end of April. Diagnosed with lupus at the age of 25, O’Connor returned home to Georgia from New York, where she was living and writing. Regina O’Connor was living in the family mansion in downtown Milledgville, but the ailing Flannery couldn’t do stairs. The two retired to Andalusia, the dairy farm four miles outside of town that Regina ran, tending to everything so that Flannery could use her limited energy to write. Did Regina want to run a dairy farm at that point in her life? We’ll never know. Did Flannery really want to be there, utterly dependent on her mother for everything? The answer, I’m sure, was “yes and no”.
In response to Mary’s question, I’m not sure where my writing will go — whether I’ll return again to attempting some fiction, as I was doing before I began to focus on the memoir, or whether I’ll try to pursue more reflective writing on Conscious Aging, or whether I’ll gather up more material from the book event conversations and work that into another book. I do know that writing is important to me, and that writing daily is a big part of how I organize my life in retirement. I know I plan to continue the blog, for which their still is a cadre of faithful readers even after nine years. For that I am astonished and grateful.
Stay tuned along with me for the direction to emerge.