Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Last week we went on a pilgrimage of sorts. Or, I should say, I went on a pilgrimage and Stewart patiently indulged me. We were going to Alabama to visit his mother, but we first made an overnight detour from the Atlanta airport to Milledgeville, GA to Andalusia, the farm where Flannery O’Connor lived during her most productive years of writing (from age 26 until her death at 39).
Andalusia is a most unextraordinary place. A very simple farmhouse – O’Connor and her mother moved here from a more grand place in town, where they had lived with a wealthy cousin. Flannery had inherited the farm from an uncle and the house allowed them to live on one floor – a necessity as her lupus began to restrict her mobility.
The house is simple, the furnishings unremarkable. What a contrast to O’Connor’s inner world, which was populated with grotesque freaks and misfits. She led a quiet and conventional life – many people in the community couldn’t believe that she was the author of the stories that bore her name. Who knows the forces, inner and outer, that shape a person’s imagination and character.