Sunday, December 27, 2009

Flannery O'Connor's Stories

Flannery O'Connor is one of my favorite writers. No matter how many times I read her short stories they still make me laugh out loud, or send shivers down my spine. Her stories are visual, dry as toast, revealing, and they pack a wallop. One of my favorites is "A Good Man Is Hard To Find". It's hilarious, but also scary in a very fundamental way. Here is a quote from it. 
Alone with The Misfit, the grandmother found that she had lost her voice. There was not a cloud in the sky nor any sun. There was nothing around her but woods. She wanted to tell him that he must pray. She opened and closed her mouth several times before anything came out. Finally she found herself saying, "Jesus. Jesus," meaning, Jesus will help you, but the way she was saying it, it sounded as if she might be cursing.

"Yes'm, The Misfit said as if he agreed. "Jesus thown everything off balance. It was the same case with Him as with me except He hadn't committed any crime and they could prove I had committed one because they had the papers on me. Of course," he said, "they never shown me my papers. That's why I sign myself now. I said long ago, you get you a signature and sign everything you do and keep a copy of it. Then you'll know what you done and you can hold up the crime to the punishment and see do they match and in the end you'll have something to prove you ain't been treated right. I call myself The Misfit," he said, "because I can't make what all I done wrong fit what all I gone through in punishment."

Lord, I wish I could write like that.