We went to the Margaret Mitchell House last night to hear Brad Gooch talk about his just-published biography of Flannery O’Connor. I haven’t read the book yet and generally don’t like biographies but I went to the reading just to mingle with a crowd of O’Connor fans and experts for a night. Just to be close to the author who was close to my favorite artist.
Not that he ever met her. But he met her classmates and neighbors and editors. He managed to interview many of these folks in the last years of their lives. He traveled to Copenhagen to find the textbook salesman who had a brief romance with Ms. O’Connor- and now we know what it felt like to kiss her.
The Q&A session made me realize that we all desperately miss her and want to know her. Poor Mr. Gooch didn’t get many questions on the 5 year process of researching, writing and publishing this landmark biography. He was more like a medium at a séance. What did she mean when she said this or wrote that? What was her favorite food? Did she enjoy music? What would Flannery think of the movie “Doubt”?
I teared up when I heard that she owned 39 peacocks when she died at age 39. Mug leaned over and whispered that his heart was a-flutter. I guess that’s what we came for.