Today would have been Mary Flannery O’Connor’s 90th birthday. I am reposting this article, which I wrote in 2014, in honor of her.
We think we know them, don’t we? How familiar they are! After all, we’ve spent so much time together. For years, decades, lifetimes even. Minutes add up to days, pages become books, on and on, until their words roll off our tongues as if they belong to us. They are family whose photographs are never pasted into the album.
In the peculiar way that words are comforting, books often feel like home. It’s a tortured comparison, to be sure, but is there a reader alive who hasn’t wanted to crawl into the world of a novel or short story and nest there for eternity? Who hasn’t felt a mesmeric connection to certain authors? What a grand feeling! How light and bold and generous the world seems after you’ve converged with a writer’s words or philosophy! Suddenly, anything is possible. Your wildest hopes and dreams and ambitions are mere…
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