Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Finishing Up the Flannery O’Connor Literary Project

Finishing the Flannery O'Connor Project @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

I am finishing up my Flannery O’Connor literary project.

I read her biography, her book of essays, her prayer journal, and discussed several of her stories with my Scholé Sisters group. I’ve read blog posts and articles and listened to podcasts.

I am so glad I took the time to read her deeply. Her biography and the discussions were absolutely essential for me. I never would have understood (to a small degree) her stories without a nudge in the right direction.

O’Connor’s essays allow the reader fascinating insight into the way she viewed the world, writing as an art, reading as a practice, and her own stories. My copy of Mystery and Manners is heavily underlined and marked with notes in the margins. What a pleasure to have a “conversation” with Flannery.

It’s almost impossible to decide which quotes to share with you here, so I’ll eeny-meeny-miny-mo it.

The writer operates at a peculiar crossroads where time and place and eternity somehow meet. His problem is to find that location.

The Catholic novelist believes that you destroy your freedom by sin; the modern reader believes, I think, that you gain it in that way.

In my stories a reader will find that the devil accomplishes a good deal of groundwork that seems to be necessary before grace is effective.

Redemption is meaningless unless there is a cause for it in the actual life we live, and for the last few centuries there has been operating in our culture the secular believe that there is no such cause.

Our response to life is different if we have been taught only a definition of faith than if we have trembled with Abraham as he held the knife over Isaac.

At its best our age is an age of searchers and discoverers, and at its worst, an age that has domesticated despair and learned to live with it happily.

Christ didn’t redeem us by a direct intellectual act, but became incarnate in human form…

When tenderness is detached from the source of tenderness, its logical outcome is terror. It ends in forced-labor camps and in the fumes of the gas chamber.


I am embarking on two new literary projects this winter. I’ll share more about them in upcoming posts. Stick around!

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