How I love the work of Flannery O’Connor. Her novel Wise Blood is one of my favorite books, and I also love O’Connor’s non-fiction. I’ve read The Habit of Being, her collection of letters, many times. The passage I read is from her O’Connor’s essay “Writing Short Stories,” in Mystery and Manners:
I lent some stories to a country lady who lives down the road from me, and when she returned them, she said, “Well, them stories just gone and shown you how some folks would do,” and I thought to myself that that was right; when you write stories, you have to be content to start exactly there—showing how some specific folks will do, will do in spite of everything.I don’t understand why these lines have haunted me for so long — but I think of them often — what some folks will do, will do, in spite of everything. For instance, I thought about them a lot when I was trying to identify my Four Tendencies framework. It does explain what some folks will do. If you’d like to hear O’Connor read her famous short story, “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” it’s here.