Posts Tagged ‘Flannery O’Connor’

Best Zombie Book

Dead Sea, Brian Keene. Even the sharks are zombies. Word.

Saddest Murder Mystery

Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr and the International Hunt for His Assassin, Hampton Sides. A document on the system of Hell.

Best Book of Stories

Everything That Rises Must Coverge, Flannery O’Connor. No surprise. O’Connor is indispensable.

Most Thought-Provoking Book of Poetry

The Sonnets, Ted Berrigan. Serious experiment in style and technique becomes play. You don’t read this book, you live in it.

Most Savage Biography

Deep in a Dream: The Long Night of Chet Baker, James Gavin. Chet Baker was a monster. Gavin tells his story as carefully and neutrally as he can. Result: You love the book, you despise the subject.

Best Anthology of Poetry

Poets of the English Language (5 vols.), edited by W. H. Auden and Norman Holmes Pearson. Wonderfully intelligent selection of poems from Langland to Yeats. The prefaces to each volume alone are worth the cost of the books. If you want to know the English tradition of poetry, this is where to dig in.

Most Reassuring Book

Practical Outdoor Survival, Len McDougall. Turns out you can survive with a knife, a .22, some matches and a few other necessaries. Now you know what to hang on to when we are all reduced to serfdom by our corporate masters.

Gretchen Rubin at The Happiness Project has worked through Flannery O’Connor‘s letters and found eight wonderful little gems of advice on writing fiction.Click here.  My favorite:

I know that the writer does call up the general and maybe the essential through the particular, but this general and essential is still deeply embedded in mystery. It is not answerable to any of our formulas.

Literary analysis is a wonderful thing, but if the story is a great story it will always ultimately evade analysis. And it will not be replicable by formula.

Excellent comments, too, after the post. Recommended.

… If the novelist is not sustained by a hope of money, then he must be sustained by a hope of salvation, or he simply won’t survive the ordeal. People without hope not only do not write novels, but what is more to the point, they don’t read them. They don’t take long looks at anything because they lack the courage. The way to despair is to refuse to have any kind of experience, and the novel, of course, is a way to have an experience.

Flannery O’Connor

Or, for a salvation plea you can dance to, there’s this…

Story and Experience

Posted: Wednesday, October 6, 2010 in Commonplace Book, Narrative
Tags: , ,

“The fact is that anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days. If you can’t make something out of a little experience, you probably won’t make it out of a lot.  The writer’s business is to contemplate experience, not to be merged in it.”

— Flannery O’ Connor