Scott Derrickson on Flannery O’Connor

Horror film director, Scott Derrickson, in his Christianity Today interview, on southern gothic novelist Flannery O’Connor:

Flannery O’Connor is my creative hero. I think she’s the greatest American writer. Her book, Mystery and Manners, is my creative bible. I’m humbled by the comparison. She’s a true American treasure.

She said to the deaf you have to shout and to the blind you have to draw large and startling pictures. That phrase itself is as good of an apologetic for horror as you’re ever going to speak.

What I love about her work and what I’m still learning is the manner in which she trusted the complexities of narrative to place her readers in the right range to gather what they needed or to miss it if they weren’t prepared for it. In the end her stories are like moral mazes, and you’re not going to be able to get to the end and have a clean takeaway but she will have placed you in an arena of thought until you’ve worked something out.

She does all that while being shocking and entertaining and giving you a great tale. If there’s an artist’s philosophy that I aspire to, it’s hers. There’s a love of mystery there.

A Good Man Is Hard To Find is one of my most favorite stories of all time and worth reading.

I like Derrickson’s description of the moral maze you’re in by the end of one of her stories. It’s not just a twist or a shocking action, but a reverberating event that makes you rethink characters, flip heroes and villains, and question your own assumptions.

Is there anyone quite like O’Connor?