On Thanksgiving break, many college students eat a lot of pie, sleep in late at their parents’ house, watch football and visit with extended relatives.
But the celebrated Southern novelist Flannery O’Connor found a less typical way to spend her Thanksgiving vacation in 1946.
That was the time, according to a new book, when O’Connor decided to start the work of fiction that eventually became her acclaimed novel, “Wise Blood.”
O’Connor’s Thanksgiving from that long-ago autumn figures into her book, “A Prayer Journal,” published this month.
O’Connor (1925-1964) is best known for her vividly strange novels and short stories that explored spiritual themes set within a Deep South landscape. A devout Catholic whose life was cut short by lupus, O’Connor spent most of her time in her native Georgia.
From January 1946 to September 1947, O’Connor kept a prayer journal that was only recently discovered among her papers. This is the first time the journal has been published in book form.
In the journal, we learn that she had a genius for gratitude, which is a nice art to emulate as another Thanksgiving arrives.
“I am impressed with how much I have to be thankful for in a material sense; and in a spiritual sense I have the opportunity of being more fortunate,” O’Connor wrote near the beginning of her journal.
Not a bad sentiment for all of us to remember as we bow over the turkey and dressing today.
O’Connor, were she still around, would no doubt approve.