Celebrate the eccentric at Flannery O’Connor parade

Flannery O’Connor once wrote: “Writing a novel is a terrible experience, during which the hair often falls out and the teeth decay.”

I completely agree; maybe that’s why I stick with articles – short and sweet. But short and sweet wasn’t apart of O’Connor’s character. She was a rough and tumble wordsmith, a defiant writer who vigorously rejected revisions and edits in her stories. (OK, maybe we do have something in common).

But it wasn’t only about her, O’Connor thought about her audience, resorting to fiction about the perils of divine Southern life, to disconnect from her real world in an effort to not alienate her audience. A devout Catholic, she believed the world views of her readers differed from her own.

In an excerpt from the book entitled “"On Her Own Work," O'Connor notes, "There is a moment in every great story in which the presence of grace can be felt as it waits to be accepted or rejected even though the reader may not recognize this moment."

O’Connor is often called one of Savannah’s most eccentric characters, which is captured in both her writing and persona. Old photos show her rimmed glasses perched on the sharp features of her face.

A 20th century hipster, perhaps?

At the age of 13, O’Connor moved with her family from Savannah to the neighboring town of Milledgeville, which resulted in her experience with life on a farm – a theme that would often show up in her prose.

To celebrate her life, Joni Saxon-Giusti, proprietor of The Book Lady Bookstore, organized the Flannery O’Connor Birthday Parade and Street Fair, taking place Sunday, March 29 from 1-4 p.m. at Lafayette Square (at the corner of Abercorn and East Charlton streets). The parade will scurry around the square where O’Connor’s childhood home and current museum stands.

To enjoy this family friendly event even more, take another piece of advice written by O’Connor: “When in Rome, do as you done in Milledgeville.” Meaning be yourself, your crazy Georgian self.