Flannery O’Connor, Edgar Allan Poe, and Kincaid

Classes are in full swing at the University of Louisville. It’s only been about a month and I’m already worried about my GPA taking a big hit this semester. Adjusting to classes that meet three days a week instead of just once a week like they did at the EKU Danville Campus is a lot harder than I thought it would be. I miss a lot of my friends at the EKU Danville Campus, too. I suppose it’s nice to get the full college experience, something that the EKU Danville Campus lacked. The classroom size at EKU Danville was comparable to my small town middle school; it’s one building, with one little student lounge and I think less than twenty classrooms. My classes are still pretty small at UofL, but it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle here the rest of the time, both on and off campus. People warned me about that before I moved, and I acknowledged it, but it didn’t really sink in until I got here.

From the Norton book over the last few weeks I had to read three stories by Flannery O’Connor; “A Good Boy Is Hard To Find”, “Good Country People”, and “Everything That Rises Must Converge”. I also had to read the classic “Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe, and “Girl” by Kincaid. I’d already read most of them before in other classes, and they were just as weird this time around. Flannery O’Connor’s stories have always intrigued me; her characters are very well written. I often wonder how much writers know and don’t know about their characters; how much of a character study had O’Connor done on The Misfit that we’ll never get to see? I can’t tell if she just edited archetypes extremely well, or if she wrote characters that weren’t archetypes so well that, in my mind, her characters become their own archetypes. I guess we’ll never know. I’ve always been able to read her work fairly easily. I think it’s just the way she writes her characters. I can have vivd recollections of her characters at random moments throughout the day, like while I’m ordering coffee at Starbucks next to an elderly woman who looks like she wants nothing more than to go home and watch Gone With the Wind when it comes on AMC, or while I’m talking on the phone with my boyfriend who’s older and lives in DC, and he’s complaining about big data companies and trying to warn me of the terror of Facebook and Google.

When I’m not in class, ordering Starbucks, or talking to my boyfriend on the phone, I’m writing. I’ve started editing my first novel, which I’ve been sitting on a rough draft of for about a year. It’s kind of priority one right now because It’s a big distraction from my homework. I can’t write about anything else except my novel. It needs to be done, whether it’s any good or not so that I can move on. I’m forcing myself to get it done. I say “forcing” like I don’t enjoy it, which couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m also learning a lot just from doing it. I tore myself away from it to write this blog today. I also have to go see a play on campus tonight called Eda, which is apparently a take on Everyman which I’ve never seen. We’re required to go see plays for my Acting class. There are tests over them. I hate that. I’d rather write a ten page paper than have to try to remember what color the walls were just so that I can prove I was there.

By Eric Shay Howard

Eric Shay Howard lives in Louisville, Kentucky. He's the author of the fiction collection, Crushes, and is a literary editor. He also works at a law firm and is writing his second book. He's a graduate student in the Bluegrass Writers Studio MFA in Creative Writing program at Eastern Kentucky University.

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