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The Good, the Bad, and Flannery

August 14th, 2007 Posted in The Artful Life

I’m in the midst of a writing frenzy at present, so for your reading pleasure I present an excerpt from Flannery O’Connor’s “The Nature and Aim of Fiction,” which may be found in the volume of her speeches and essays, Mystery and Manners. This came to me some weeks ago courtesy of Adam DeVille, who perused my Amazon Wish List and couldn’t contain the goodness of his heart. You could all take a lesson from Adam.

But back to Flannery:

“Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher. . .

Now in every writing class you find people who care nothing about writing, because they think they are already writers by virtue of some experience they’ve had. It is a fact that if, either by nature or training, these people can learn to write badly enough, they can make a great deal of money, and in a way it seems a shame to deny them this opportunity; but then, unless the college is a trade school, it still has a responsibility to truth, and I believe myself that these people should be stifled with all deliberate speed.

Now a brain teaser: who can make the connection between this excerpt and a famous 1970’s sitcom?