Flannery O’Connor is one of the most canonical American short story writers, if not the most. English majors across the US read her works in awe. Whether it’s ‘A Good Man Is Hard to Find’, ‘Everything That Rises Must Converge’, or one of her many essays, O’Connor’s work has helped shape young minds for generations. And now, thanks to the quarterly journal Image, we’ll now get a look at O’Connor’s young mind.
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O’Connor’s journal will be released in Image’s 94th issue, which will ship in November. The journal, which O’Connor titled “Higher Mathematics”, was written when she was eighteen years old. She covers all the topics you’d expect of a young person: her relationship with her mother, her college classes, etc. However, the sharp eye O’Connor had for social paradoxes, and her understated wit are on display as well.
What’s perhaps most inspiring and infectious (two words not usually associated with O’Connor) about this journal is her anxiety over her career. She’s conflicted. She understands and is often elated by her writing abilities. However, she’s extremely anxious nothing will come of her literary ambitions. As evidenced by the journal itself, O’Connor always had words that needed to be shared. Imagine the uncertainty she felt not knowing whether or not she’d be read.
Image has provided a brief excerpt from the journal which you can read here:
Jan. 11, ’44. If I should begin to feel sorry for myself—however erroneously—I could easily move myself to a liquid-eyed condition, and that would be disastrous. I have such an affection for myself. It is second only to the one I have for Regina [her mother]. No one else approaches it. I realize that joyfully just now. If I loved anyone as much or more than myself and he were to leave, I would be too unhappy to want myself to advance; as it is, I look forward to many profitable hours. I have so much to do that it scares me.
If you are in need of O’Connor’s words, you can order it here. A good man may be hard to find, but Image just made it a lot easier to find a good journal.
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