Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Writers' Wednesday: Visiting Andalusia Farm, the Home of Flannery O'Connor

Last week I had the awesome opportunity to visit Andalusia Farm in Milledgeville, Georgia - the home of American author Flannery O'Connor. If you're not familiar with her work, she wrote primarily about life in the South, featuring flawed (really wacky, in some cases) characters most of whom need to find grace/salvation/God. She was hugely influenced by her surroundings and spent most of her short life on the family farm with her mother, writing, until she died of lupus at the age of 39.

Getting to visit her farm was like touching her creative soul, for me. I felt such a profound connection while I was there, walking the grounds, sitting at her piano in the parlor, peeking into her bedroom and seeing the typewriter where she wrote almost all her short stories, coming eye to eye with one of the peacocks that still live on the grounds (she raised over 40 of them).

I felt inspired and also at peace, because even though the property is set off a fairly main road in a decent-sized town, it's back in the woods, and once you drive up the dirt road to the main house, you definitely feel like you've left modern civilization behind.

If you're ever motoring through south-central Georgia, take time to stop at Andalusia. Even if you're not a writer, it's a neat glimpse into a piece of mid-1900s southern farm living. And if you are a writer, I challenge you NOT to find inspiration in the beauty of the place and the knowledge of a brilliant creative mind that once lived and wrote there:

The backside of the farmhouse - check out the awesome water tower

Her bedroom, where she also wrote (you can see the crutches she used later in life too)

A peacock and I having a "moment"

The beautiful wide front porch - where apparently she entertained quite often and "loved her martinis" according to our tour guide. My kind of writer!

The kitchen where Flannery and her mother ate & discussed affairs of the house and farm. The perfect model for the kitchen in "Good Country People"

Flannery's piano! Yes, I played it while I was there :)

The dairy barn in the back of the property. Again, the perfect model for the hayloft where Joy-Hulga lost her leg in "Good Country People"!

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