Posts tagged with "flannery o'connor" - Faerye Net 2010-07-10T14:54:01+00:00 Felicity Shoulders List slippers 2010-07-10T14:54:01+00:00 2010-07-10T14:56:03+00:00 <blockquote>It&#8217;s always necessary to remember that the fiction writer is much less <em>immediately</em> concerned with grand ideas and bristling emotions than he is with putting list slippers on clerks. <strong>-Flannery O&#8217;Connor</strong>, <em><a href='' title='More info about this book at' rel='powells-9780374508043'>Mystery and Manners</a></em></blockquote> <p>In my <a href="" target="links">last blog post</a>, I meant to include this quote. (In fact, at one point I intended to call the post &#8220;Collecting List Slippers&#8221; in its honor.)</p> <p>In context, O&#8217;Connor refers to <a href='' title='More info about this book at' rel='powells-9780140449129'><em>Madame Bovary</em></a>:<br /> <blockquote>Sometimes she would draw; and it was great amusement to Charles to stand there bolt upright and watch her bend over her cardboard, with eyes half-closed the better to see her work, or rolling, between her fingers, little bread-pellets. As to the piano, the more quickly her fingers glided over it the more he wondered. She struck the notes with aplomb, and ran from top to bottom of the keyboard without a break. Thus shaken up, the old instrument, whose strings buzzed, could be heard at the other end of the village when the window was open, and often the bailiff&#8217;s clerk, passing along the highroad bare-headed and in list slippers, stopped to listen, his sheet of paper in his hand. </blockquote></p> <p>In yet further explanation, I proffer this link about the nature of <a href="" target="links">list slippers</a>, shoes made, sole and all, from fabric and thus very quiet to walk in. (Although in the quote above, I think their informality rather than their stealth is their primary characteristic.)</p> <p>Okay, so obviously this quote needs a lot of unpacking, and perhaps it&#8217;s just as well that I left it out of the other post. But it also deserves more than the slight mention I&#8217;ve <a href="" target="links">already given</a> it &#8212; it&#8217;s a massively important point about writing made succinctly and pungently. I think of these list slippers every other day or so.</p> <p>As everyone&#8217;s friend John Gardner writes in his <a href='' title='More info about this book at' rel='powells-9780679734031'><em>Art of Fiction</em></a>, &#8220;If we carefully inspect our experience as we read, we discover that the importance of physical detail is that it creates for us a kind of dream, a rich and vivid play in the mind.&#8221; As writers, we are trying to do so many things: amuse, inspire, impassion. But we have to see the small as well as the large. We build our castles in the air one brick at a time. Everything matters, from list slippers and the buzz of piano strings up to despair and delusion.</p> <p>Everything matters. How could I not love that?</p>