Me, Flannery O’Connor & Comic-Con

There’s only one reason why my afternoon would turn into a hot mess of geeky convention goers and Flannery O’Connor, and that’s the downtime between covering panels at San Diego Comic-Con. (Duh, couldn’t you have figured out?)

For the first time (EVER!!), I’m actually in San Diego for Comic-Con. Several years ago, being in San Diego for SDCC was pure coincidence with horrible results (traffic is so awful here, I don’t even know why San Diego-ites leave the house during this week) and for the past couple, I’ve been enjoying all the things that come out of the Convention Center via television and long hours in my cubicle. This time, I was given the opportunity to come in person and yeah…it’s been quite an experience.

The main thing I’ve learned, besides the fact that Hall H is huge, that bringing a power strip will make you the most popular person ever and that everyone talks to everyone (which makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside)–oh and that I somehow manage to break every tech equipment around me once I step inside the convention hall–is that somewhere, there’s a girl named Lauren Wheeler who isn’t quite so bright.

Here’s where Flannery O’Connor comes in. It just so happens that my first semester deadline for grad school is Monday, July 25th at 9AM Colorado time. That’s the first Monday after five days in San Diego. That means my shit needs to be together by 8:00AM PST, less than 12 hours when I return home. This. Is. Awesome.

This also means I’m spending every free moment I have doing homework. Unfortunately, I don’t have the attention span to actually write while throngs of cosplayers mill about but I can at least read. Right now, I’m in the middle of A Good Man Is Hard To Find, my very first foray into the writings of Flannery O’Connor. I was excited to read her work (especially after the residency) and I’m enjoying every paragraph. I won’t try to explain why because that requires me to think critically and that’s not happening at the moment. I’m busy telling you this other story, okay?

Anyway, I’ve been trying to be “green” by purchasing used books from Amazon and this edition of A Good Man Is Hard To Find has clearly been used. By a Lauren Wheeler, at least. I can’t tell how old she is or when she scribbled all over the book, but I do appreciate the little peacock sticker she affixed to the page next to her name, because according to Wikipedia, O’Connor had a thing for birds.

That’s where her insight ends.

I’ve been trying to figure out what was going on in Lauren’s brain while she read this book, because her notes and markings make very little sense. At first, when she highlighted a passage about a tramp, I was confused because…well, why did she? But maybe I was missing the point. Then she wrote notes like “SHOWING INOSANCE” or “HATE NELSON HAS FOR MR. HEAD” next to a sentence that literally said something along the lines of “Nelson hates Mr. Head.” Soon after that, she scribbled “SUBURBAN IS ARTIFICAL” next to a line about how Nelson and Mr. Head did not see any dogs on the street. Wait, what?

In the following story, the character mentions an iron lung. Lauren drew a cylinder with the words “iron lung” pointing to it. Page 135 has a flower drawn in highlighter. On page 201, she wisely noted “WIERD SHE IS NOT SHORT.” What does this mean?

I can’t figure it out. I’m hoping Lauren was merely copying notes down from her English teacher but some of the stuff she’s written down really has nothing to do with what I see are the main themes of each story. The story about Nelson and hating Mr. Head is riddled with symbolic imagery, but she decided to write “ARTIFICAL” at least three times throughout. Okay, sure. That word (spelled properly) is in the title of the story but…tell me more, Lauren.

Lauren, I salute you. You had the opportunity to read Flannery O’Connor before me. Without you, I wouldn’t be able to and for that, I am forever in your debt. But if we ever cross paths, I hope we can have a long (and interesting) discussion about your takeaway from the book.

So what does this have to do with Comic-Con? Really, nothing at all. I’m tired.


  1. Suburban is Artifical is going to be my new band name and our debut album will probably have to be Wierd She is Not Short


  2. Just a note about something fun:

    Atlanta artist Ande Cook is painting a portrait of Flannery and chronicling the process at her blog–and the viewers are learning about Flannery and her stories. Just a note about a fun project.



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