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Flannery O’Connor Didn't Care If You Liked Her Work (nd.edu)
25 points by pan_cogito 80 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 3 comments

I was introduced to Flannery O'Connor 40 years ago by a black literature professor teaching a class of mostly male (I think we had one female in the class of ~50), mostly white engineering students who were mostly indifferent to the subject at hand. I have to admit, going in I was one of those engineering students who wasn't super excited to have to take a literature class. But then he had us read some of O'Connor's stories and discuss them. I was hooked. And I could also see what he was doing. He was trying to wake us up to our white privilege indirectly by letting Flannery do the talking. I could see that it made some of my fellow white male classmates a bit uncomfortable. Even a bit angry in some cases. He'd always say in this sonorous, deep voice "Gentlemen, in this class we're trying to see beyond the mundane issues of life." (with emphasis on "mundannnne") I ended up really enjoying that class. It couldn't have been easy to be a black adjunct professor of literature in an engineering school at that time. In a lot of ways I got the impression that he seemed to think we were shallow - and at that time and at our age (18, 19) we definitely were - and he was trying to expose us to stories that would shake us up some.

I felt not a little conflicted when I learned recently that the writer of these stories which seemed to be critiquing racism in very strong terms herself held racist views. Now we need to wrestle with that and this essay seems helpful.

Reminded me of someone recently asking on Reddit for advice on making videos for YouTube. They had been at it for a few weeks and only had a handful of YouTube subscribers to show for it. They wanted to give up.

The thing I always remind folks of in that situation is that to succeed at many things, particularly creative things like YouTube and writing, you have to do it for intrinsic reasons. You want the writing or videos out there because somehow the act of putting them together and publishing satisfies you even if not another single person was there to see it.

I think it applies really well in entrepreneurship. It's not a strict rule obviously. There's people making stuff for other people all the time. But one of the best ways to stick through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship is to be working on something that has that intrinsic satisfaction. You're the best user. Even if no one buys the thing, at least you have a piece of kit that fixes some need you have.

> They had been at it for a few weeks and only had a handful of YouTube subscribers to show for it. ... you have to do it for intrinsic reasons

You're at odds with the passive income crowd. lol.

FYI: an escort created a channel, put up some informative videos, then gave up. A year later she happens across her old channel, which grew to about 20,000 subscribers on autopilot, then rapidly to 100,000 after some more videos. (100,000 is the threshold of a lifestyle business if you're monetized, with 1 million being a career.)

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