People without hope not only don’t 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 experience. The lady who only read books that improved her mind was taking a safe course—and a hopeless one. She’ll never know whether her mind is improved or not, but should she ever, by some mistake, read a great novel, she’ll know mighty well that something is happening to her.
Flannery O’Connor, Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose (via habitofbeing)
Apparently this has gone mini-viral since I last checked my Flannery O’Connor tumblr.
If I were to live long enough and develop as an artist to the proper extent, I would like to write a comic novel about a woman - and what is more comic and terrible than the angular intellectual proud woman approaching God inch by inch with ground teeth?
The high-school English teacher will be fulfilling his responsibility if he furnishes the student a guided opportunity, through the best writing of the past, to come, in time, to an understanding of the best writing of the present…
And if the student finds that this is not to his taste? Well, that is regrettable. Most regrettable. His taste should not be consulted; it is being formed.
There is a question whether faith can or is supposed to be emotionally satisfying. I must say that the thought of everyone lolling about in an emotionally satisfying faith is repugnant to me. I believe that we are ultimately directed Godward but that this journey is often impeded by emotion.
He told the old woman then that all most people were interested in was money, but he asked what a man was made for. He asked her if a man was made for money, or what. He asked her what she thought she was made for but she didn’t answer, she only sat rocking and wondered if a one-armed man could put a new roof on a garden house.
I am always astonished at the emphasis the Church puts on the body. It is not the soul she says that will rise but the body, glorified. I have always thought that purity was the most mysterious of the virtues, but it occurs to me that it would never have entered the human consciousness to conceive of purity if we were not to look forward to a resurrection of the body, which will be flesh and spirit united in peace, in the way they were in Christ.
I think it is safe to say that while the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted. The Southerner, who isn’t convinced of it, is very much afraid that he may have been formed in the image and likeness of God.
Any discipline can help your writing: logic, mathematics, theology, and of course and particularly drawing. Anything that helps you see, anything that makes you look. The writer should never be ashamed of staring. There is nothing that doesn’t require his attention.
You do not write the best you can for the sake of art, but for the sake of returning your talent increased to the invisible God to use or not use as he sees fit.