After All That, 1867 is Done

I finished up the first, rough, draft of 1867 last night. I was saying at lunch on Friday that blogging has turned me into a fine writer–I can churn out an ungodly number of words on just about anything in a way that amuses me and, apparently, others. But I’m not sure about my skills as a reviser. And so finishing up something that is as gloriously messy as part 1867 is daunting. I’m trying not to fret, though, because 1887 awaits and the first half of that has to be really good fun. A seance and a wedding.

But I’m going to do some reading in the meantime, before I get that started. I wasn’t expecting  1867 to be so long and involved, but it is. And I want to give my brain time to let 1887 have the same room.

It’s funny. I was trying to explain to the Professor what, exactly, I don’t care for about Flannery O’Conner and I look on O’Conner’s Wikipedia page and I see that she said, “I am tired of reading reviews that call A Good Man brutal and sarcastic. The stories are hard but they are hard because there is nothing harder or less sentimental than Christian realism… when I see these stories described as horror stories I am always amused because the reviewer always has hold of the wrong horror.”

Yeah, but I feel like you can lack “sentimentalism” while still having fondness for your characters. I believe that people are selfish, by nature, which leads them easily into evil. I may still be carrying that around from Christianity, but that seems to me to be a truth. I also believe that most people believe that they are good people–generous, kind, loving, unselfish, and doing what’s right.

In other words, people are often at odds with themselves. They believe themselves to be better than they are. And I don’t think that O’Connor would disagree with me about that. But to me, I find this state sometimes amusing and all too often  tragic. I rarely enjoy watching people who are out of sync with themselves get their comeuppance. It’s not to say that I don’t enjoy it sometimes, but I don’t enjoy a worldview that is “you’re going to get what’s coming to you and it’s going to be bad. Woo hoo!”

4 thoughts on “After All That, 1867 is Done

  1. In all fairness to O’Connor, she did suffer with Lupus her whole life and died of it at a rather young age. I think her circumstances definitely coloured her outlook.

    I find that her stories are good to read as a sort of teaching puzzle. They have excellent craft and working out the symbolism is great. And now and again she’ll have an astonishing point that just claws into your mind.

    But it isn’t light or fun reading at all. And her pervasive gloom detracts.

  2. She was a Catholic writing about southern Protestants and their world-view, so she was bound to feel pretty detached from them.

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