How much fun is the Sunday Times?
That much fun, that’s how much.
In the March 1, 2009 edition, which I’ll be happily working my way through until this coming Saturday evening, the Book Review section is filled with fun stuff.
Ever hear about a writer named Flannery O’Connor? I’d heard that name before, but didn’t know a damned thing about him. Turns out that he’s a woman! And she only lived 39 years and died in 1964. As I said, she was a writer, you know, and apparently a pretty good one.
Well, now, thanks to the Sunday Times, I know all about her. She was plain looking, wore glasses that didn’t help her looks at all, had beautiful blue eyes (they always say that about unattractive, intellectually inclined women), probably died a virgin, and didn’t know how to kiss very well. Ever notice that men are rarely attributed with “beautiful eyes”? Of course not. Our eyes are always “piercing” or “deep set and foreboding”. Wish I had beautiful blue eyes. Really.
She drank Coca-Cola mixed with coffee, and as a child dressed her chickens in outfits she sewed for them herself. She even taught one of her ducks to walk backwards. I’ve spent most of my life lining up my chickens in a row. No. Wait a sec, that’s my ducks. My family’s chickens came already dressed from Karl Lutz’s butcher shop and rarely stood up in a row.
Anyway, the poor woman had Lupus and apparently suffered from it quite badly. Looked that up in Wikipedia and it sounds pretty awful.
Also, she was a Catholic who thought that Protestant theological writers were more logical than Catholic theologians, and she was “a connoisseur of racist jokes.” Oh, well, can’t win ‘em all. She also liked someone named Teilhard de Chardin, whoever that is. She answered letters from anyone who wrote to her. Probably the reason her autograph is very reasonably priced on today’s market.
She was good friends with Sally Fitzgerald, who was the wife of Robert Fitzgerald, who was a poet, critic, and who translated Greek classics into English, and of whom I’d also never heard before. Now, thanks to the Sunday Times, when someone mentions Flannery O’Connor, Sally Fitzgerald or Robert Fitzgerald, I can nod sagely and pretend I’m quite familiar with all three of them. I’m not too interested in pretending to be interested in Teilhard de Chardin. He, Robert Fitzgerald, that is, was also her literary executor (Flannery O’Connor’s, not Sally Fitzgerald, although I guess he could have been her literary executor, too, but they got a divorce so I kind of doubt it.) Thank you, Wikipedia.
When Flannery O’Connor was dying she told her friends that she could hear celestial choirs singing “Clementine.” Way cool. If that happens to me when I start to die I hope they’ll sing “You Are My Sunshine.” It’s got a catchier tune and seems a bit more upbeat. Might be an indication of which way I’ll be heading, too. Ms. O’Connor apparently had mixed feelings about her mother. She based several characters on her mom, and then killed them off in unpleasant ways. Alfred Hitchcock could probably have worked with that theme, don’t you think?
Anyway, she doesn’t sound very cool, but she really does sound interesting, and that’s not bad. Now that I can discuss her so well, thanks to the Sunday Times, I just might go and get something of hers to read. You never know, might be good.
Oh, and by the way, since I started writing this note, I went ahead and looked up Teilhard de Chardin in Wikipedia. He was “Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a French philosopher and Jesuit priest who trained as a paleontologist and geologist and took part in the discovery of the Peking Man. Teilhard conceived the idea of the Omega Point and developed Vladimir Vernadsky’s concept of Noosphere.” He was born on May 1, 1881, in Orcines, France and died April 10, 1955, in New York City. Now, I don’t know about you, but I think that any priest who spends his time playing around with rocks is just asking for trouble. Gets the Genesis stuff all out of whack. And “taking part in the discovery of the Peking Man”? Sounds like the studio producer who discovered Jackie Chan or something. Sorry, but I can’t help thinking of Groucho raising his eyebrows in his lecherous manner and saying, “You’ve got the most beautiful Omega Point I’ve ever seen!”
Time to go, now. Have to look up “The Omega Point” and Vladimir Vernadsky’s concept of “Noosphere.” This’ll keep me busy all day!
See why I like The New York Times?