There are many mentions of her lupus diagnosis and resulting condition, which are shared in a variety of ways, depending on the audience. And more general discussion with closer friends about how her wellness affects her fundamentally: “I have never been anywhere but sick. In a sense sickness is a place, more instructive than a long trip to Europe, and it’s always a place where there is no company, where nobody can follow.” (June 28, 1956)
She occasionally recounts exchanges with her mother, Regina, and with individuals on the farm at Andalusia, which include a reproduction of their speech patterns, which are sometimes humourous too. She refers to a Cathlick newspaper (when she nearly always uses Catholic, even Catholicity), the “picter show”, and she isn’t afraid of using “ain’t” between friends, for effect. There’s a playfulness to it.
Her way of looking at the world, more broadly, also makes me smile. Consider this, in response to the question of how she offers criticism on other writers’ manuscripts: “The person who teaches writing is not much more than a midwife. After you help deliver the enfant, it is ungracious to say, Madame, your child has two heads and will never grow up.” (Her answer is more concrete thereafter, in a letter from November 29, 1956.)
Beyond A Habit of Being, most of my Flannery reading has been cultivated from the public library and, now that the system is closed so we can #flattenthecurve, I may have to pause my Flannery-ing for a spell, but I hope to pick it up again before too long.
If you’d like to peek at my previous posts, the first is here, the second here.
Care to reveal your favourite Flannery quotation, either from this post or from your own explorations?