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.
Flannery O’Connor, Mystery and Manners p. 84 (via habitofbeing)
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 that 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 p. 78 (via habitofbeing)
Redemption is meaningless unless there is cause for it in the actual life we live, and for the last few centuries there has been operating in our culture the secular belief that there is no such cause.
Flannery O’Connor, “The Fiction Writer and His Country” (via habitofbeing)
The Catholic novelist believes that you destroy your freedom by sin; the modern reader believes, I think, that you gain it that way. There is not much possibility of understanding between the two. So I think that the more a writer wishes to make the supernatural apparent, the more real he has to be able to make the natural world, for if the readers don’t accept the natural world, they’ll certainly not accept anything else.
Flannery O’Connor, “On Her Own Work,” 116 (via habitofbeing)
Most of us have learned to be dispassionate about evil, to look it in the face and find, as often as not, our own grinning reflections with which we do not argue, but good is another matter. Few have stared at that long enough to accept the fact that its face too is grotesque, that in us the good is something under construction. The modes of evil usually receive worthy expression. The modes of good have to be satisfied with a cliche or a smoothing down that will soften their real look.
Flannery O’Connor, “Introduction to A Memoir of Mary Ann,” in Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose, ed. Sally and Robert Fitzgerald, 225. (via habitofbeing)
The Church is founded on Peter who denied Christ three times and couldn’t walk on the water by himself. You are expecting his successors to walk on the water. All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful.
Flannery O’Connor, letter to Cecil Dawkins, 9 Dec 58 (via habitofbeing)
One of the awful things about writing when you are a Christian is that for you the ultimate reality is the Incarnation, the present reality is the Incarnation, the whole reality is the Incarnation, and nobody believes in the Incarnation; that is, nobody in your audience. My audience are the people who thing God is dead. At least these are the people I am conscious of writing for.
Flannery O’Connor, letter to A., August 2, 1955 (via habitofbeing)
On the subject of the feminist business, I just never think, that is never think of qualities which are specifically feminine or masculine. I suppose I divide people into two classes: the Irksome and the Non-Irksome without regard to sex. Yes and there are the Medium Irksome and the Rare Irksome.
Flannery O’Connor, letter to “A,” 22 September 1956 (via habitofbeing)