Sunday, March 25, 2012

Flannery O'Connor's Birthday

It's the birthday of the writer who said, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd," and "Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going to never was there, and where you are is no good unless you can get away from it." She didn't want a biography written about her because, she said, "Lives spent between the house and the chicken yard do not make exciting copy." That's Flannery O'Connor (books by this author), born in Savannah, Georgia (1925). When she was five years old, she trained a chicken to walk backward, and a newsreel company came to her house to make a film about it, which was shown all over the country. She said, "I was just there to assist the chicken but it was the high point in my life. Everything since has been anticlimax."

She spent much of her life on her family farm in Milledgeville, Georgia, raising poultry and writing novels and short stories: Wise Blood (1952), The Violent Bear It Away (1960), A Good Man Is Hard to Find (1955), and Everything That Rises Must Converge (1965). This last book of short stories was published after her death in 1964, at the age of 39, from complications of lupus.

She said: "Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. There's many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher."

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