Friday, January 25, 2013

A Cool College

Every year or so around this time a group of  students from Centre College visits Andalusia.  And I must say I look forward to their visit more than just about any other group that comes out here.  Tuesday morning was no exception as the big blue bus with the Kentucky thoroughbred painted on the side rumbled up the driveway.  The students and their professor, Dr. Mark Lucas, got off and made their way to the front steps where I told them about Andalusia and why it's such a special place.  I really didn't need to, however, as they have read just about everything in the Library of America edition of O'Connor's works.  As in past years, these collegians were attentive and asked excellent questions.  It didn't matter that it was about 40 degrees outside (which was something of a reprieve for them seeing as it was only 4 above zero when they left Danville, Kentucky the day before).  The Centre students were interested in learning all they could about Flannery and her home.  After I led them into the house, I noticed that there wasn't the usual boisterousness we often get with groups of young people.  Standing outside Flannery's bedroom, they were reverently quiet.  You could tell they were in awe of where they were and I just think this speaks volumes for them, their professor, and their school.  No, I'm not an alum nor do I work in the admissions department, but in my humble opinion if you or someone you know is thinking about college you'd be hard-pressed to find a better school than Centre
- Mark

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Busman's Holiday

On Tuesday, Toby Aldrich, docent at the O'Connor Childhood Home in Savannah, visited Andalusia.  It was the first time he has been out here since 2006 and, not surprisingly, was duly impressed with all the work that has been done on the farm since that time.  The reason for his visit?  Because the childhood home is closed this week for cleaning, he decided to take a busman's holiday and visit our site.  After touring Andalusia, Toby planned to see the O'Connor Room at Georgia College and Memory Hill Cemetery.  From there he was going to head across the state to tour Carson McCullers's home in Columbus.  Now that is a docent who loves his job!  Some time after Toby  left, it occurred to me that I've never mentioned O'Connor's Childhood Home on this blog.  My bad!  The town house on Charlton Street is a must-see attraction in Savannah and, for all you Flannery fans, it needs to be on your bucket list of places to go.  The Flannery O'Connor Childhood Home Foundation has done a masterful job restoring the home where the future author spent the first third of her life.  There are many original  pieces on display in the home, including the perambulator you see here that her parents used to walk their infant daughter along the sunny squares of Savannah.  The best part of visiting the home, however, is the delightful tour you will receive from the affable Mr. Aldrich.
- Mark

Friday, January 11, 2013

An Interesting Question

As I was chatting with Craig earlier about an idea I had for this week's blog post, he raised an interesting question.  If Flannery O'Connor were alive and writing today how would her work be different from the fiction she penned more than half a century ago?  Or would it be any different?  Would her style and themes have evolved?  If she were writing today would she sound more like Barbara Kingsolver, Dorothy Allison, or Cormac McCarthy?  While this is pure speculation on our part, I imagine that if O'Connor were writing in the twenty-first century there would be a grittier, even harder edge to her short stories and novels.  So yes, even though it might cause her mother to faint, I believe the Flannery of today would sound something like Dorothy Allison.  Don't think so?  Read Allison's semi-autobiographical novel, Bastard out of Carolina.  Though Allison's thematic concerns are more sociological than O'Connor's, I think her work is O'Connnoresque and suggests what Flannery's prose might look like were she writing in 2013. 
- Mark

Friday, January 4, 2013

Suite Andalucia

To get the new year off to a rollicking start, here's a  sunny piece of music by twentieth-century Cuban composer, Ernesto Lecuona.  The pianist on this recording is the composer himself, whose inspiration for Suite Andalucia is the region in southern Spain that may or may not have influenced the naming of the O'Connor family farm. As pointed out on our website, no one is really sure why the place is called Andalusia.  Sitting here on a cold, damp morning in early January, it is hard to imagine anywhere in middle Georgia evoking images of Andalucia.  No matter, sit back and enjoy the music and have a very good 2013.
- Mark