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  • Gail Wilson Kenna

Imagination is not a toothbrush for our teeth.

It is being and spirit in search of matter.

Unlike George Saunders, a story by me will not be in The New Yorker.

And were you or I to write a collection of short stories, the book has scant chance of

publication except by SELF. Forget this, I tell myself.

Instead, remember that Imagination needs daily brushing to deflect decay.

Write and read good literature, thus allowing Imagination a two-hour brushing.

That’s all Flannery O’Connor wrote daily. Yet everything in her converged in that brief time

as she sat awaiting Imagination’s visit.

I apologize if this has the pedantic ring of Julian in “Everything That Rises Must Converge.”

But understand I am turning 80 in fifteen days. For 56 of those years, I have taught literature and writing. This week my current RCC-RILL class will discuss “The Mom of Bold Action” by George Saunders. If you need deep laughter about writ-large craziness, find the

story on the internet. (It was published in The New Yorker.)

Better yet buy a copy of Liberation Day. Webmaster Ilona bought a hardcover on Amazon for $5.00. My copy says $28.00 on the book’s cover. Who can explain this difference in price?

I can only add that George is a literary dentist who uses a loving and gentle drill to expand the cranium to allow room for greater consciousness.

O’Connor said to the hard of hearing you shout and to the blind you draw large figures. Her tradition is tragi-comic. Saunders is master of the absurd, a satirist with heart.

How O’Connor became so important to me is explained in an essay that won first in two literary contests. I would be delighted to send a file for “A Woman Reader from the Boogie Woogie West” to anyone who is interested.

Next week: South Africa calls in two novels, written with fifty years between them.

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