I am in Atlanta with my friend Jessica, visiting our friends Thurka and James and their eighteen month old son Gyan. Before that we were in Millidgeville, GA, visiting our friends Claire and Sebastian and their nine month old son Bram. In Millidgeville, we ate barbecue with fried eggplant and okra, and these little french bread, mozzarella, basil, and tomato hors d'oevres that Claire made. Last night we talked about feminism, gender constructions, and female modes of accessing power in the Middle Ages in Poland. (Sebastian is a historian, with a specialization in Poland.) In Atlanta, we ate lamb burgers with sriracha sauce, grilled chicken, potato salad with bacon, and grilled corn. With Thurka and James, Jessica and I talked about our respectively boyfriend/girlfriend, the Atlanta social scene for professional couples and Hindu and Catholic birth ceremonies.
Before we took off for Atlanta, we visited Flannery O'Connor's home in Millidgeville where she wrote most of her famous work. My parents read Flannery O'Conner's stories aloud to each other when I was eight or nine. Overhearing these stories as a child made me uneasy about human nature and what happens to small children who go to spend the day with middle-aged babysitters. Being in her home, and seeing the room where she wrote these twisted, hilarious stories obsessed with sin, retribution, and redemption, I felt connected to all the other beings who had passed through the house in a pilgrimage to her particular capacity to depict evil and good. We chatted for awhile with the executive director of the Flannery O'Conner Foundation. He mentioned that she has a particular following in Japan.