Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Habit of Being

I love the title of this book. It says so much about what I'm reaching for in my search for a home. As I scramble from house to house, place to place, I'm really striving to develop a habit of being, a way of finding my truest center--a way of living that feels right.

This book of letters reveals the life of one of my favorite writers, Flannery O'Connor. Flannery grew up in the South (Georgia), and since I'm traveling through Southern states on a visit to see my husband's family, it seemed a good excuse to recommend this book and her work in general.

Flannery returned home to Georgia to live and fend off what proved to be a fatal illness: Lupus. She wrote astonishing stories in her short life. I believe she was 39 when she died.

Despite our numerous differences--she's from the South, I'm from the North; she lived in a rural town, I grew up close to a big city; she was a serious Catholic, I'm a questioning, uncertain Jew; I feel connected to her because I, too, had a serious blood condition and lived for several years under the threat of death.

She died. I'm still here, yet I continue to marvel at how she found strength and home in her faith.


  1. I reeeeeeeeeaaaallllllly want a biography of her that was recently published, but I have yet to find it at a reasonable price. Sad.
    I've read all of her short stories and love her writing. Her life, and Flannery O'Connnor the person are equally fascinating.

    Lupus is an autoimmune disease...not singularly a blood condition (not to be bossy- my mom has it, so I'm a slightly educated layperson about it, lol). That said, this post does highlight a thread common to you both, which is interesting. Where is your writing available? (Or should I be looking in your profile and finding you elsewhere online, like a good little blog commenter?)

  2. Krebiz--Thank you for the better definition of Lupis. You can find links to my writing on my website: Thanks for asking. Glad to meet another F. O'Connor lover. Do you have a favorite story?


  3. I don't have a favorite, and I can be horrible at remembering titles of short stories, but I remember being sufficiently spooked by one that I read several years ago that the story has really stuck with me - a family goes on vacation, the grandmother sneaks the cat into her basket, and they have trouble on the road, end up murdered and the story closes with the murderer petting the cat, who's skulking and rubbing about his ankles.

  4. Krebiz,
    A Good Man is Hard to Find.
    It shocked people that a nice Southern "lady" could write something as chilling and disturbing as that story.

  5. You mean the same one that everyone talks about? Haha. Doesn't say much about me and how I usually ferret out the unusual.

    I read the entire collection of short stories over the course of a couple of weeks, so titles were completely lost on me. Most of the time, I didn't even make note of the title, just turned the page to the next story and carried on. Which wasn't a bad way to experience them, I have to say.

  6. There's nobody like O'Connor. She was one of our greatest national treasures, I think.

    Watching the news reports of that creepy Phillip Garrido wandering the streets with his "daughters" and handing out tracts, I'm reminded of the blind preacher, Asa Hawks, in WISE BLOOD.

  7. Jon - I feel this way, too. Her exploration of violence and faith is more relevant than ever.

  8. Jessica,

    You are living a dream, reading one of my favorite writers in one of my favorite places--Asheville and the Blue Ridge Parkway!

    Eat a big ol' biscuit for me and try to down some "sweet tea."

    Take a slide down Pisgah Falls if you want a rush!!!

    Love you! Love the Blog!

  9. Sweet, Susan! I ate a half dozen yeast rolls, handmade by my friend's grandmother. Right out of the oven, butter melting. Washed it down with a fresh, juicy peach.