Flannery O’Connor: What Kind of Writer

Only one observation I’ve heard about Flannery O’Connor during the trip here doesn’t ring true. The guide at her childhood home in Savannah said she’d be astonished at how popular her writing has become.

I don’t think she’d be astonished at all. She knew she had talent. She knew she had the capacity to work hard, and develop that talent. She was a young writer, and from the South, in the 1950’s when she told her first publisher that she’d be happy to take editorial direction on her first novel, Wise Blood, within the scope of what she was trying to do. But she thought he’d entirely missed what she was trying to do, and she wasn’t about to change the oddness of the novel just to fit an editor’s sense of what would sell.

I wish I could have met her.

2 thoughts on “Flannery O’Connor: What Kind of Writer

  1. It’s wonderful that you walk in Flannery’s paths. What a great experience. You’ve inspired me to read her work.

    I have often thought about people who I greatly admired that I would want to met, but they have died. Some tell me that maybe one day we’ll have that opportunity.

  2. for Katie: It was a great honor to meet someone who’d crossed paths with Flannery. I didn’t ask the woman what she remembered; the encounter was more than 60 years ago. But I was moved that she came to sit and talk to visitors, and honor the author. The woman, who’d been a college student when she met Flannery, fit right in on the porch.

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