Flannery on fiction writing
More from Flannery O’Connor, as I continue to re-read Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose. This passage is from her essay “The Nature and Aim of Fiction”:
We hear a great deal of lamentation these days about writers having all taken themselves to the college and universities where they live decorously instead of going out and getting firsthand information about life. The fact is that anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days. If you can’t make something out of a little experience, you probably won’t be able to make it out of a lot. The writer’s business is to contemplate experience, not to be merged in it.
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.