Lately, Flannery and I are spending a few minutes together in the evenings. There is really no better (well, at the very least, no cheaper) solution for a Southern girl’s slight homesickness than relaxing into a short story that examines sharecroppers or the pitfalls of racism or flowers or a young woman’s silly dreams or the pain of aging in a warm, comfortable drawl.
I have this collection of her stories (The Complete Stories, introduced by Robert Giroux) and a number of other books on my bookshelf that I’ve never read — books that I purchased because I wanted to take more courses than my college scholarship covered, so I would buy the textbooks for courses I never actually took. I’m connecting so closely with Flannery, and wish I had studied her more when I had the chance.
On Sunday I got my Chicago public library card. My favorite thing about living in a real city is the breadth and depth of the library systems, and getting my library card was on my list of Twenty-five Things that I wanted to do here in the Windy City. Also on that list: eat brunch until I can successfully identify the top-ten brunch locations within fifteen miles. So far, I’m pretty sure that Bongo Room is going to stay at the top of the list. And Yolk? Please do not invite me there. Completely overrated.
The seventh floor of the downtown library is the literature floor. After a bit of wandering, I found an entire shelf of literary scholarship about Flannery’s life and writing and death and family and topical collections and so on. There was so much to choose from, but I didn’t check out anything. I want to take a little more time getting to know her before other opinions enter the mix.
I’m trying to do the same here, in our new home. Everyone “loves” Chicago, but I want to know it so I can know if I actually love it, or casually like it or find it mildly annoying. So it might be a while until I have a clear, specific answer on the entire city and how well we fit in it.
This week, however, we are doing very well and it is starting to feel normal. And that is a good sign.