Friday, November 30, 2012

Door Decor

Though it is reported that the O'Connors did very little decorating for Christmas - we're not sure they even put up a tree - we do think Flannery would be pleased with the new peacock wreath we ordered for the front door.  Craig puts it well on the Facebook page: "The front door at Andalusia is all dressed up for the holidays! Was there any doubt about what kind of wreath we would use? And just for the record, our fine feathered friends here at the farm did not have to sacrifice any plumage for this beautiful decoration."  Nevertheless Mary Grace, Joy/Hulga, and Manley Pointer join us in wishing you all the happiest of  holidays.
- Mark

Friday, November 23, 2012

Flann's Fan

While it's fairly well known that Flannery O'Connor has influenced a number of contemporary cultural icons (e.g. Bruce Springsteen, Conan O'Brien, Tommy Lee Jones), she has also inspired some notable modern writers. Starting today, I'd like to focus on a few of these authors.  The first is Heather King, a non-fiction writer I was introduced to this year.  In her own words, Heather is "an ex-barfly, ex-lawyer, Catholic convert with three memoirs: Parched (the dark years); Redeemed (crawling toward the light); and Shirt of Flame (my year of wandering around Koreatown, L.A. 'with' St. Therese of Lisieux, a cloistered 19th-c. French nun). I write, I speak, I teach, I explore the confluence of creativity and transcendence; the sacred and the profane; the weird, the wonderful, and the wacky."  With a writer who is drawn to the "confluence of creativity and transcendence" is it any wonder then that she counts Flannery O'Connor as her literary muse?  There are others, but if you go to Heather's blog you will see that Flannery tops the list of her "patron saints."  Like O'Connor, Heather King has a wonderful sense of humor combined with a depth of spiritual understanding.  She is a splendid writer whose books I cannot recommend highly enough.
- Mark

Friday, November 16, 2012

Mulling it Over

I'm sitting here in front of a blank screen wondering what I'm going to write about this week.  Hmmm.  There's been so much going on at Andalusia lately.  Should I blog about the Bluegrass concert last Saturday? What about the herd of deer that are grazing on the front lawn munching the bumper crop of acorns? Then again I could write about Fr. Methodius, one of the monks at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, who visited the farm yesterday.  Gosh, I can't seem to come up with anything.  Maybe I'm distracted by the intoxicating aroma of apple cider mulling in the crock pot in the kitchen.  Perhaps we're a bit early, but we couldn't wait to get the holidays underway with our annual tradition of keeping a pot of mulled cider brewing during operating hours.  The house smells delightful.  It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving will be here next week. We will be closed in observance of the holiday on Thursday, but the rest of the week we will be open during regular hours.  Craig joins me in wishing you and those  you love a very happy Thanksgiving.
- Mark

Friday, November 9, 2012

Ornamental Birds

It's hard to believe the holidays are fast approaching, but with Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, Christmas won't be far behind.  Therefore, it isn't too soon to start thinking about decorating your tree. And what could be a more colorful touch or a better souvenir of Andalusia than one of these iridescent blue peacock ornaments?  Each one is crafted from glass and accented with gold, silver, and amber glitter and features the signature eye-like design of a peacock's feathers (size: 3.25" H). We just put them out on display yesterday and already have sold several.  If you're coming to the Bluegrass concert tomorrow, the gift shop will be open and you can pick yours up then. Otherwise, call us or stop by during our regular hours to purchase yours for only $6.99 ea.
- Mark

Friday, November 2, 2012

No Bluffing Bob

Recently in this blog I have been featuring people who influenced Flannery O'Connor or encouraged her in her art.  Today, I would like to profile her editor, Robert Giroux. There is so much one could say about him.  He was loved and respected by virtually all who knew him.  Some time after Giroux's death in 2008, I read a piece by a young woman who had been an intern at Farrar, Strauss, & Giroux.  She was hardly someone the publisher of the likes of T.S. Eliot, Thomas Merton, Walker Percy, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn would notice, much less speak to.  Yet, she shared her memories about how Giroux encouraged and inspired her in the publishing business.  When this woman was offered an editorial position with another firm, she was torn because she didn't want to leave FSG.  She talked to Giroux about her dilemma, and he encouraged her to take the opportunity.  Her story is not unique.  Giroux had a real eye for talent, and when he noticed it he was the best editor a writer could hope to have.  Perhaps this is one reason O'Connor decided to leave her first publisher, Rinehart, and go with Giroux who was then at Harcourt Brace.  Giroux had an uncanny ability to recognize a true writer after just one meeting.  Such was the case when he met Flannery.  He knew right away she was not only a competent writer, but one of a very high order.  He was also impressed that she seemed to know what she wanted to do in her fiction. In an interview done near the end of his life, Giroux said "Good writers, I mean, people who are going to be successful, know what they want to do.  They're not confused or wondering about this or that or irrelevant decisions - it's life with a target.  And she [O'Connor] had that quality.  And  you also knew that if she started a job, she'd finish it.  It was competence, the sort that's unexpected." (At Home with Flannery O'Connor: An Oral History, p.86).  Giroux knew that Flannery was the real deal.  There was no"bluff" with her.  Nor was there with  him.  During Giroux's memorial service at the Columbia University chapel four years ago, Paul Elie, an editor at FSG, remarked, "It is tempting to float an analogy between his death and the death of a certain kind of publishing. But the fact is that his kind of publishing was rare in his own time, and so was he."
- Mark