The Gordon Method

As I've read Caroline Gordon's letters and essays and lectures, I've collected what I call my "Gordon Method" textbook: her best, most timeless advice to writers. Here's a sample of one of my favorites, sent to Flannery O'Connor in November, 1951, while O'Connor was revising her first novel, Wise Blood.  Gordon writes to O'Connor: "I… Continue reading The Gordon Method

“The Electric Give and Take”

"[Caroline Gordon's] letters to O’Connor, which cover 13 years from 1951 to O’Connor’s death in 1964, are the most detailed literary critiques I have ever read, covering everything from naming characters, to proper viewpoint, particularly as she guided O’Connor through the writing of her first novel, Wise Blood. She was a hard taskmaster and would not… Continue reading “The Electric Give and Take”

Regina O’Connor, The Diplomat

In The Letters of Flannery O’Connor and Caroline Gordon, one my favorite O’Connor letters tells a story about how the displaced persons who lived at Andalusia interacted with the longtime farmhands: “The D. P. [the Displaced Person, Mr. Matysiak] and Shot nearly choked each other in the wagon the other day and now my mother… Continue reading Regina O’Connor, The Diplomat

A Peripety

I think you need in this story [“The Enduring Chill”] what Aristotle called "a peripety," the unforeseen incident which brings about a solution and yet springs out of what has gone before. Suppose that, as very well might be, one of the students in this class is a sort of Fr. Wiegel, a young priest… Continue reading A Peripety