On the Sunday evening before Phyllis and I left for our Thelma and Louise odyssey through the Low Country and central Georgia, she and Art hosted a book event for me. About 15 of their friends came, including a number of couples so I widened the discussion to be mothers and daughters and mothers and sons. My friend Connie drove all the way from Jacksonville, Florida, to be there — and she sent this picture, taken while I was speaking.
I feel most like an author when I’m speaking about the book to people who’ve read it, or are interested in reading it. That’s why these book events are so affirming. I didn’t write the book just as an exercise for myself. I wrote it to be read. Connecting with readers, fully embracing the role of author, is a gift at this stage of life. Thanks to Phyllis and Art, and to those who’ve hosted an event, and are going to host.
Flannery O’Connor would never have said it took readers to make her feel like an author, She had, at quite a young age, complete confidence in herself as a writer — although that confidence didn’t extend to other aspects of her life, like the anticipation of a love life even though she was gravely ill. The work was out there for people to read, and if they did or not, her sense of herself as an author never appeared to waver. Among the many things I admire about her, that confidence in her talent is surely one.