Written by O’Connor when she was barely in her twenties, A Prayer Journal was published last year by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. The book includes a facsimile of the original so you can see the author’s “very innocent” spelling. I loved The Habit of Being because of O’Connor’s ability to laugh at herself and others, despite her often debilitating illness. She did not lose her faith in spite of so many difficulties. This is excerpted from A Prayer Journal, edited by W.A. Sessions:

I must write down that I am to be an artist. Not in the sense of aesthetic frippery but in the sense of aesthetic craftsmanship … It will be a life struggle with no consummation. When something is finished, it cannot be possessed. Nothing can be possessed but the struggle. All our lives are consumed in possessing struggle but only when the struggle is cherished & directed to a final consummation outside of this life is it of any value. I want to be the best artist it is possible for me to be, under God.

Two reviews of this compelling book: NY Times; Virginia Quarterly Review