Slog, Korrektiv, slog!

“Did you get the article I sent you?” asked my father.


“It’s about the new book of Flannery O’Connor’s letters.”

“It’s not letters, Dad, it’s a prayer journal. It’s getting noticed everywhere, which is really cool.”

“No, I’m talking about the book of letters.” [Good Things Out of Nazareth: Letters of Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, and Caroline Gordon, edited by Benjamin Boatwright Alexander]

“Oh. No, I hadn’t heard about that.”

But my mother had. She saw an interview with Alexander on EWTN.

Hat tip to Greg Camacho, who sent a link to this fine radio interview about the prayer journal, featuring editor Bill Sessions, noted Catholic lit guy Paul Elie, and Carlene Bauer, who got the jump on Korrektiv Press’s Lives of Famous Catholics by doing a fictionalized version of the quasi-romance between O’Connor and the poet Robert Lowell. (Yaddo, Yaddo!) Bonus Percy mention: Sessions says he has letters from our man as well.

Anyway, let’s write some stuff and publish it. You know, like all these fine people did.


  1. But I can’t find the book of letters.


    • Matthew Lickona says

      It ain’t out yet. But it’s on his CV, and he’s got the permissions and stuff, so I think it’s safe to say it’s gonna happen.

  2. Ironic Catholic says

    Can we write letters to each other and publish those?

    • Ironic Catholic says

      Or turn the blog comments into a book. Someone will review it as a meta-commentary on Joyce’s Ulysses. Fame will be ours!

      • Ironic Catholic says

        “The Blogging Sound and the Comments’ Fury”

        My work here is done.

        • Matthew Lickona says

          “The Blogging Sound” is right up there with The Long Friends for sheer sphincter-tightening terror.

          Ask not for whom the blog sounds
          It sounds for thee

          And can you not here the sounding? “Blog…blog…blog” The grim kerplunking of a generational clock winding down.

          I’m gonna go put away the sharp objects and take a walk.

          But yes, a fantastic idea.

          • Ironic Catholic says

            Somehow, someway, I think you are being a bit ironic. And that’s MY game. But yes, go take a walk. I have a letter to compose. (yo ha ha ha ha)

    • Oh, my, the possibilities are, well, intriguing if not endless…

      You see, Foote here keeps all his letters, but Percy not so much, I’m sure…


  3. Ironic Catholic says

    In all seriousness, I am about to write a public letter to Anne Lamott. You know, in case you guys and gal want fuel for the fodder.

    • Matthew Lickona says


    • Will it be Jesusy?

      • Ironic Catholic says
        • Matthew Lickona says

          Well, that was lovely. I see where you promised to keep any correspondence confidential, but it would be super cool if you let us know whether or not she responded.

          • Ironic Catholic says

            Thanks. Honestly, her story just breaks my heart.

            • I’m not sure if I’m going to get in trouble for saying this, but I think – a suspicion nowhere near solidifying into an opinion – that the coming days will need Dorothy Day (yes, me, I said it) as a guide through the thicket of metaphysical slums that pass for clarity these days – we will all need to find in ourselves the poor, the weak, the vulnerable, and feed that person, that ugly, horrid visage in which Christ’s face shines, if we only give it a chance.

              IC, you are one of a kind. (And so is Anne, by the way!)


              • And so are you, JOB. 🙂

                You may appreciate Dorothy Day a lot more if you read her journals and letters, and read about her from deeply Catholic or Orthodox biographers. I think a lot that is remembered about her, and publicly lauded, is what people who were not versed in Catholicism saw. It’s accurate but not the whole story. They didn’t think it important to mention her dedication to daily mass, her frankly very conservative devotional prayer life, her devotion to Therese de Lisieux. They don’t mention her scathing remarks to pro-choicers at a university she was invited to speak at in the 70s. They don’t consider that her life as a single woman (and mother) was the closest she could make to a personal consecration, in the time period and under the circumstances. She was indeed an original, and I think the beatification process will reveal just how deeply Catholic she was.

                The woman was just fearless. I am nowhere, nowhere near that fearless.

                You may have read all that stuff and realized she wasn’t your cup o tea (which is fine) but if you haven’t read it, you may be surprised. I was involved in the movement for a long time and *I* was surprised!

                • During my five weeks of dusting and re-shelving my too many books after the Great Fall, I found some that I didn’t know that I had. One was Therese by Dorothy Day, and I’m about 40 pages or so from the end of the book now. I really like it. She does a great job of introducing us to Therese’s family, especially her sisters who, up to now, have just been an amorphous mass to me. Ms. Day also gives a good picture of Therese’s spirituality without being the least bit sentimental, which is probably a first.


                • IC,

                  Yes, that and more! I’ve been a big fan of Day’s for a long, long time actually. Back in High School she made a big impression on me – and my admiration has grown since then. (I read The Long Loneliness twice!)

                  My parenthetical was more self-deprecation than Day-deprecation.

                  My favorite Day story: finding out that one particular CW House had become a bit of a bordello – with the workers sleeping with each other, etc. She goes in and literally cleans house – throws the bunch out on their ears and berates them for turning a place to welcome Christ into a den of iniquity or something to that effect.

                  I pray for her canonization – oh, but she has a long, rocky road to hoe in that department, for sure!

                  But then again, we all do…


                  • My favorite (more a wry observation):

                    The CW was (is?) a group of Christian anarchists. And Dorothy was the head anarch.

                    Yeah, there are some doozy stories out there. I could go on about the state of the CW and what would Dorothy say, but I that would be another letter or something. 🙂

        • That is a great letter, IC. Great website, too. Thanks!

  4. Also, I feel the razor-winged chariot of derision beating at the nape of my neck. Believe it or not, Groundwork is moving forward – that is, slogging forward, if you will…


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