Outside of Milledgeville, Georgia, was the Cline–O’Connor farm, Andalusia. Seated on the veranda in a rocking chair overlooking the sloping hills was a badly crippled woman, slowly degenerating from lupus, living with a mother who loved her but was not on her wavelength, and living in a town largely unable to appreciate her at the time.
She had a difficult hand to play. Her name is Flannery O’Connor, and she always did her own thing. The truth is, Flannery was a complex and mysterious female writer who had a deep desire for mystery and privacy of self. So if there are things we do not know about her, so what? And if she would not eat eggs of chickens she personally knew, what of it? Should genius not be allowed some endearing personal and private idiosyncrasies? She did her thing.
I am writing how I knew her and how I saw her and what she meant to me as a writer and thinker and believer. I would not have Good Sister Flannery, whom I saw as a nun without a habit, not be recognized as the virtuous as well as talented person and teacher she was. I had much unalloyed admiration of her, but how the reader sees her must be ultimately left up to the reader.
I knew her and saw her as a part of the larger picture of God’s grace, which is working everywhere. By sharing some of these memories of her, I am very imperfectly trying to pass on some of the knowledge and humor she shared with me.