Conversations with Flannery O'Connor

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Overview

Flannery O'Conner says

I write every day for at least two hours, and I spend the rest of my time largely in the society of ducks.

If you want to write well and live well at the same time you better arrange to inherit money.

My advice is to start reading and writing and looking and listening. Pay less attention to yourself than to what is outside you and if you must write about yourself, get a good distance away and judge yourself with a stranger's eyes and a stranger's severity.

Mine is a comic art, but that does not detract from its seriousness.

Don't be alarmed if you hear something that sounds like 'Help!' It is only the peacocks.

The disease is no consequence to my writing, since for that I use my head and not my feet.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780878052646
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
  • Publication date: 2/1/1987
  • Series: Literary Conversations Series
  • Pages: 146
  • Product dimensions: 6.22 (w) x 9.18 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Q. What is a Short Story?

O'Connor: This is a hellish question inspired by the devil who tempts textbook publishers. I have been writing stories for fifteen years without a definition of one. The best I can do is tell you what a story is not.

1) It is not a joke.
2) It is not an anecdote.
3) It is not a lyric rhapsody in prose.
4) It is not a case history.
5) It is not a reported incident.

It is none of these things because it has an extra dimension and I think this extra dimension comes about when the writer puts us in the middle of some human action and shows it as it is illuminated and outlined by mystery. In every story there is some minor revelation which, no matter how funny the story may be, gives us a hint of the unknown, of death.

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