Guy writes book! (Also btw, woman loses limbs and persists)
In the world of Flannery O'Connor scholars, there's a legendary figure, a correspondent of Flannery's known simply as "A." She is central to the collection of O'Connor letters titled The Habit of Being. And although we never get to see A's letters, we do get to see Flannery's responses, and they are quite valuable because they bring clarity and understanding to O'Connor's sometimes-challenging work.
When "A" died and her identity as Betty Hester was revealed, there was much discussion of what an important thinker she was. Sally Fitzgerald, the editor of The Habit of Being, was a friend of mine, and one day I asked her about Betty.
"The reason she was so important is because she was always wrong," Sally said. "Flannery felt like she had to explain everything to her, so her letters to Betty were very clear."
I tell this story only as an introduction of why despite this article's generous headline, it's not exactly inspiring that it took me nearly a decade to write a book.