On Story

I hate literature by Christians that beats you over the head with its moral. And I like it when smart people agree with me. So I submit this Flannery O’Connor quote that was buried in a footnote in a philosophy of reason/religion book I have to read:

“Now this is a very humble level to have to begin on, and most people who think they want to write stories are not willing to start there. They want to write about problems, not people; or about abstract issues, not concrete situations. They have an idea, or a feeling, or an overflowing ego, or they want to Be A Writer, or they want to give their wisdom to the world in a simple enough way for the world to be able to absorb it. In any case, they don’t have a story and they wouldn’t be willing to write it if they did; and in the absence of a story, they set out to find a theory or a formula or a technique. Now none of this is to say that when you write a story, you are supposed to forget or give up any moral position that you hold. Your beliefs will be the light by which you see, but they will not be what you see and they will not be a substitute for seeing.”

–Flannery O’Connor, Mystery and Manners, p 90

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