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.