Sunday, May 21, 2017

Collaborating with the Neighbors

In her almost 15 years at Andalusia, Flannery started an important tradition that we’re proud to carry on today. When her daily 9-ish to noon time in front of the typewriter concluded, Flannery frequently received guests, from renowned authors like Katherine Anne Porter to local clergy and teachers. The exchange of exciting ideas and new projects was important to those in Flannery’s circle, and they remain so for Andalusia in the modern day in the form of Thursdalusia and our book club.

Thursdalusia, our third Thursday open mic (without the mic), sees local musicians, storytellers, poets, and, once, even a drum circle descend upon the Nail House deck in Flannery’s backyard for their five minutes of fame. Even folks like me who are amateurish musicians and rather poor poets find a little niche in lifting a good joke or story; I prefer the witty “backwards” fairy tales of the great Archie Campbell. No act is too tough to follow, and the critics are few and far between.

There are slightly more critics at the monthly book club meetings, but they’re equally as inviting and gracious. The last Thursday morning of each month entails a discussion of one O’Connor story or novel, beginning at 10:30. I’m grateful to be leading this month’s discussion of one of my favorite stories, “Parker’s Back.” Having taught this story to my freshman students a few times, I’m grateful for the chance to discuss it with some more mature and seasoned readers. Tattoos, thankfully, are optional this Thursday morning. Wise Blood is next month, by the by, so read ahead!

These recurring events are part and parcel of experiencing Andalusia; reading and writing are as much a part of the farm as the barn and pastures. I return to that sentiment that appears here so often: creating and nurturing a lifelong love of learning. Iron sharpens iron in these collaborative events; I relish the poem that puts a new spin on old wisdom or a new view of a story I’ve read a hundred times that shakes me out of a critical rut. New ideas are powerful things, and they’re the currency of Andalusia’s Thursday programming.

Daniel Wilkinson hosts Thursdalusia and is Andalusia's Bon Vivant

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