Dyslexia helps develop a story of perseverance

December 3, 2016

7  comments

*This is the second story and actual interview I wrote about Fannie Flagg that will appear in this Sunday’s Press Register, Birmingham News and Huntsville Times.  Info on where you can meet Fannie Flagg this week are at the bottom of the page.

 

quilt - Leslie Anne Tarabella - blog

Like the tiny scraps of fabric in granny’s worn quilt, our lives fit together, often in surprising ways, to form an emerging pattern and something absolutely beautiful.

Such is the theme in Fannie Flagg’s latest novel, “The Whole Town’s Talking.”

Released on November 29th, this may be Flagg’s most endearing work since her wildly popular “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe” and sadly, may also be her last. Wanting to spend more time with friends and less time under the pressure of deadlines has pushed Alabama’s favorite storyteller to say she’s finished with the long novel format.

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“When I’m writing, I’m always on a deadline,” explained the Birmingham native. “I’m always running behind. I get up early and work four and five hours, and that’s creatively all I can do. I have to have complete quiet, no TV, no email. I have to focus because I have dyslexia which makes it difficult to write.”

Flagg went on to recall a meeting years ago with her idol, Eudora Welty, who said she also regretted that writing started out being fun when she didn’t think anyone was reading her work, but suddenly panicked when she became popular, because of the pressure of knowing there was now a judging audience and publishers to please.

Flagg spent years struggling in school with dyslexia and never knew there was a name for the problems she was experiencing. “I remember my mother tried to help me with the third grade spelling bee, but I just couldn’t remember the words and would burst into tears. Because of this, I had to learn to listen very carefully, remembering everything that was said which made me verbal because I could answer questions better than I could write them.”

To practice her spelling, Flagg would write comedy sketches for herself and memorize them. “I didn’t think anything about them, and although I barely got through high school because my grades were so bad, I found a creative urge to . . .  click HERE to read the rest of the story on AL.com.

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Fannie Flagg will only be making two appearances to speak and sign her new book, both in Alabama. You can find her:

December 6, 6pm at the Fairhope Civic Center, sponsored by Page and Palette Bookstore. Visit pageandpalette.com for tickets and more information.

December 9, 7pm at the Lyric Theatre, Birmingham, sponsored by Books-a-Million

Leave a Reply

    1. We did indeed hit it off but I think all Southerners know how to bond over good conversation. Either that, or fried chicken.

  1. Great post…I can’t believe you mentioned Eudora Welty because my assistant principal who loves reading my writing, gave me a book by Eudora several months ago…I loved it. I had never heard of her prior to reading…just yesterday she mentioned Eudora and here I am reading her name in this post. I am taking it as a sign. I haven’t been writing lately and need to get back in the swing of things…this Eudora thing may be a sign. …also I love Fannie Flagg.

    Take care,

    1. How funny when things line up like this! Eudora is one of those “local” Southern writers (Mississippi) we grew up hearing about. She mainly wrote short stories, which is also my style of writing. I was so happy to hear that Fannie Flagg loved her and actually got to meet her. I also believe E.W. won a Pulitzer Prize for one of her stories. I’ll have to go look it up to be sure.

  2. This must have been a great interview to do. Fannie Flagg has always made me laugh, and I just bought this new book although I haven’t gotten into it yet. Eudora Welty was, of course, one of my own icons. She wrote a book for writers called “One Writer’s Beginnings” which I loved. I am still trying to find a copy of “Delta Wedding” which is supposed to be every Southern Woman’s guide to planning a wedding.

    1. I’ve never heard of either one of those books from EW, but they sound wonderful. I’ll be on the look-out for them as well.

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