(with regards to our friends at The Toast, who started this with Brit Lit)
HOW TO TELL IF YOU ARE IN A FLANNERY O'CONNOR STORY
Every prosthesis you have ever owned has been stolen. By a Bible salesman.
You have a deep-seated, non-specific, but palpable fear of the line of woods in the distance.
When someone offers you a piece of chewing gum, you take your finger and lift your top lip ever so gently to show you have no teeth.
Everyone in your family is named John Wesley. Even the females.
You never drive on four lane highways or interstates. No matter where you are going, you take dirt roads or two lane blacktops with large ominous clouds shaped like anvils looming in the distance.
You keep a large looped strand of barbed wire in your closet. Just in case you get the urge in the middle of the night to wrap it around your chest, under your pajamas.
Wait. Hold the pajamas. You don't sleep in pajamas. Only in dirty yellowed undershirts.
Every single person you come into contact with, each and every day of your life, is going to Hell. Except maybe that daffy old priest who comes to visit and who hounds you about taking in more refugees of war.
For you, there is only one region of the USA. When you leave it and speak to people, they pretend they cannot understand you and ask you to communicate by writing your thoughts down on a piece of paper and handing it to them.
Every time you see a man repairing large farm equipment, you have the urge to rush to him and warn him to stop. But of course you don't. It never turns out well.
Your hair is naturally curly. And you don't even like Red Sammy's barbecue. You just want your family to get the hell back on the road to your family vacation in Florida.
You have a hard time passing by those statues of jockeys and footmen people place in their yards without stopping to take pictures and post them on FB. Along with a picture of the mailbox and enough other information that people can figure out who it is.
As a child, you had a constant runny nose and liked to take other people's books and hide them in your jacket and steal them.
Sometimes you get the urge to find the nearest street corner and start prophesying.
You have the sense that when you die you might just skip Purgatory and go straight on to Heaven because what you have been living here on Earth has been more than enough punishment to atone for your sins.