Flannery O’Connor spends time in Lansing

Flannery O'Connor

A day late and a dollar short” could’ve been a title of a short story by the famed Southern writer Flannery O’Connor, who is known for her highly unusual plots and characters. Instead it’s my belated birthday wish for O’Connor who would’ve celebrated her 85th birthday yesterday. Born in Savannah Georgia in 1925, O’Connor was a genius when it came to writing and naming her short stories. It’s hard to image what she would be writing if she hadn’t died so young, but you can pretty much bet her stories would  be tight, tough, acerbic and a bit off kilter like her famed “A Good Man is Hard to Find”. Read more about O’Connor by clicking here.

O’Connor was outspoken, but also humble. Once when asked about her achievements she pointed to the film of her and her pet chicken walking backwards that was made in the 1950s, and said it was the high point of her life. Hardly. Watch the news real, which at the time was the equivalent to a viral video on YouTube, by clicking here.

On a speaking tour in 1956, O’Connor visited Lansing Michigan. The visit would have been a minor asterisk, except for the fact she gave a presentation for the first time on the “grotesque in Southern writing”. I’m pretty certain the Lansing literary group, which met at Eastern High School, was taken aback by her frankness. You probably could’ve beaten them with a wooden leg to borrow a device from O’Connor. Read more revealing letters O’Connor sent about the visit in a recent post on Mittenlit.  And thanks to Brad Gooch about the author’s visit to Lansing Michigan with some quotes from some bringing the visit to my attention in his biography “Flannery”. 

Today is also the birthday of Robert Frost (1874) who lived in Ann Arbor Michigan while teaching at the University of Michigan in the 1920s. While in Ann Arbor Frost lived in two different locations and one of his homes was purchased by Henry Ford for display in Greenfield Village. It was pure coincidence because at the time of the purchase Ford did not know the simple farm house was Frost’s home. Some people have all the luck as Flannery O’Connor would’ve said

Bill Castanier has been an award-wining weekly newspaper editor, advertising and public relations executive in his 40 year career. In addition, he has been an executive with a newspaper trade association and founded Michigan’s first technology association, I-TE@M. He writes a weekly newspaper feature on Michigan authors and is on the Board of the Kerrytown BookFest and the Michigan Notable Book Awards. He has the only daily blog on Michigan literature (Mittenlit) and founded Spartanpodcast.com.

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