Thursday, September 17, 2009

Quote du Jour for Ethan Bartlett

Flannery O'Connor is perhaps best when she is just writing anything, not necessarily when she is formally writing a story. A quote on Southern Writers:

Manners are of such great consequence to the novelist that any kind will do. Bad manners are better than no manners at all, and because we are losing our customary manners [She speaks of the South here], we are probably overly conscious of them; this seems to be a condition that produces writers. In the South there are more amateur authors than there are rivers and streams. It's not an activity that waits upon talent. In almost every hamlet you'll find at least one lady writing epics in Negro dialect and probably two or three old gentlemen who have impossible historical novels on the way. The woods are full of regional writers, and it is the great horror of every serious Southern writer that he will become one of them.
Ha! How long and deep is the list that could fit under the rubric "It's not an activity that waits upon talent"! I'm duly humbled, and you should be too. But is there really such a thing as "no manners at all"? I'm trying still to wrap my mind around that concept.

No manners at all. Would that be like "no taste"? I've been accused of that.


Unknown said...


Ethan said...

Very little of what we think of as talent waits upon talent; most often it waits on hard work.

I thank you for the dedication.