Saturday, February 13, 2016

Andalusia Farm: Flannery O'Connor's World




I've read Flannery O'Connor short stories for decades. Last Sunday, while visiting the University of Georgia, I wondered how far I was from Flannery O'Connor's Georgia. It wasn't terribly far so I drove to the small town of Milledgeville, to the farm she lived in until her early death at age 39, and where she wrote her published works, on a typewriter, on this small table, in her bedroom.


Wandering the farm was an incredible experience because it brought her stories to life. Many of her short stories are set on a farm run by a widow woman, living with her highly educated, invalid, daughter who lives in the words of ideas. The mother's confidant is usually the tenant's wife.  The tenant house is just yards away from the main house at Andalusia. And, the barn and milking shed are just beyond that.

The visit was an ah-hah experience for me, like a pilgrimage. It tied together many lose ends. It also led me to think about how a few acres were fertile ground for so many deeply insightful and complex stories.