My heroine is Flannery O'Connor. Not just because she is one of the finest writers from my Southern homeland, but because she became a kind of patron saint for me in a sisterhood of suffering while I was writing my previous two novels, Ya-Yas in Bloom and The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder during the worst of Lyme disease.
The photograph of her on crutches outside her mother's farmhouse in Georgia, looking at her peafowl, was above my desk while I wrote. In the dark woods that were the worst of Lyme disease, during the years I was on supplemental oxygen, in a wheelchair, while tubes into my body helped antibiotics try to kill off the Lyme spirochetes, and during the six months of daily injections of antibiotics when I moved among bed, wheelchair and writing chair, Flannery gazed down at me. Next to my altar to Our Lady of Guadalupe, this Georgia writer kept watch, reminding me, with not an ounce of sentimentality, to write.
Now that I'm better, now that I can boogey to Dr. John again (even if I can't drink beer because I'm still throwing back a few antiobiotic caplets), I still think of Flannery, who would probably never want to be called a patron saint, but might let a Southern gal like me look to her for inspiration.
Read the rest of this Women's History Month essay at AOL News.
By the way, Gina Misiroglu of Red Room put me in touch with the AOL people, which is one of the great ways she's bringing traffic to Red Room and getting attention for Red Room's authors.
Lastly, I feel honored to have HarperCollins bring out a deluxed copy of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood in June 2011.
Causes Rebecca Wells Supports
Lyme Disease Foundation