them or sympathize with them; I don’tnbelieve she even knows them. MarynGordon is brazen in announcing hernsuperiority to the community of whichnshe is the self-appointed spokesperson.nTo think of oneself as a writernof literature rather than anjournalist or a popular writer,none must think of oneself as ancitizen of a larger worid. By thisnI do not mean that onennecessarily defines oneself asnoutside the community — mynown prejudice is that to lose thenidentification with the smallncommunity is to losenirreplaceable riches. But if one isngoing to think of oneself as anwriter-artist, one must think ofnoneself as in the company ofnother great artists. Artists whonwill not come from one’s ownncommunity, who have lived inndifferent ages, spoken differentnlanguages, written about peoplenwho exist only because thesenwriters have preserved theirnlives. And if one is a writernwhose early years were formednin a small, closed community,none must have the courage tonunderstand that it is outside thencommunity that one may verynlikely find the people who willnbe the audience for one’s work.nMary Gordon’s audience is outside thencommunity that she rejected, but thatnmustn’t dare to reject her. She is onenwith Dante and Michelangelo, a legendnin her own mind. Meanwhile, a finenwriter such as Maureen Howard — whoncovers most of Gordon’s fictional territory—nis neglected, I daresay becausenshe is not politically correct.nEven by Gordon’s standards, hern”Parts of a Journal” seem moronic, ifnnot a parody by Woody Allen; hern”Some Things I Saw” a mistake; andnher “The Gospel According to SaintnMark” a presumptuous fiasco. But sincenqualitative distinctions are finally inappropriatenin this vicinity, I want tonconclude with some citations of fact.nMary Gordon to the contrary, FlannerynO’Connor did not “contract” her fatalndisease. She was not born in Milledgeville,nGeorgia. She did not discovernthat she was sick, as Gordon implies,nand then return to Georgia, but ratherndiscovered it visiting there and wasnunable to leave. O’Connor’s reputationndoes not largely rest on her posthumousncollection of short stories;nCecil Dawkins’s first name is notnGecile. Get the picture?nIn sum. Good Boys and Dead Girlsnis the expression of the kind of mindnthat would declare, “O’Connor’s facenwas a peculiar one for a writer. . . . [I]tnis a face from the provinces. … It is anface untouched by sexual experiencenor curiosity, which is why, perhaps, itnseems not one of our own.” Thensnooty coarseness of Mary Gordonnprompts me finally to observe that hernphoto on the dust jacket shows a facenthat, as H.L. Mencken said, makes younwant to burn every bed in America. Itnis a face unshaded by sense or scruple,none that in former and better timesnmight have caused its possessor to benleft out on a cold mountainside to bendevoured by wolves. Today, though,nthe most one can hope for would benthe unlikely event of an uncomplimentarynreview; but, as Fats Waller used tonsay, “One never knows — do one?”n].0. Tate is a professor of English atnDowling College on Long Island.nA Song in MynHeart, A Hole innMy Headnby Florence KingnEleanor Roosevelt’s “My Day,”nVolume III: First Lady of thenWorld, 1953-1962nEdited by David EmblidgenIntroduction by Frank FreidelnNew York: Pharos Books;n361 pp., $19.95nEleanor Roosevelt and I go waynback. My father taught me to readnfrom a stack of her “My Day” colurnnsnin 1940. We happened to have a plentifulnsupply of “My Day” in the housenbecause the doctor had refused to benresponsible for rny reactionary grandmother’snblood pressure unless shenstopped reading it. I was at the stagenwhen children discover the scissors andnenjoy cutting things out of newspapers,nso they named me official censor. Farnnnfrom raising the blood pressure as herneariy columns so often did, the samplesnin this third volume, written betweennthe triumph of Eisenhower Republicanismnand her death in 1962, more oftennthan not raise the gorge. There isnenough banality here to choke JohnnChancellor himself.nLauding the pacifistic outlook of then”Interdependence Council,” one ofnthose starry-eyed fringe groups shencould never resist, she wrote in 1956:n”This organization may be only a candlenlighted in a world which at presentnseems very dark to those who would likento see peace and goodwill established.nBut even a candle is better than no lightnat all, as many of us have discoverednwho live in areas where occasionallynelectric light is cut off for a time.”nOn how to be rich without money:n”One of the real gifts that brings younriches, I think, is the power of appreciation.nIf you can enjoy the blue sky, thenbeauty of the fresh snow, or the firstngreen of spring, if you can hear musicnand have it leave a song in your heart, ifnyou can see a picture and take awaynsomething that is real and vital to dreamnabout for days, then you have the abilitynto get joy out of your surroundings.nThat kind of appreciation is perhapsnmore valuable than some more tangiblenkinds of riches.”nAs ever, she is powerfully troubled bynthe tensions of our great cultural diversitynthat she did so much to bring about,nbut offers as solutions the platitudes of anchirpy headmistress settling a squabblenover roommate assignments: “Whethernthe apartment next to you is occupiednby a Greek or an Indian or a Negro or anJew should make very little difference tonyou. My experience is that in New YorknCity one sees very little of his nextdoornneighbor, and unless you want to knownhim, you certainly are not obligated tonmake friends. But you are obligated tonbe courteous and to willingly share thenfacilities which have to be used inncommon,” she wrote in 1957. Twonyears later, the difficulties encounterednby Harry Belafonte when he tried tonrent an apartment in a white-only Manhattannbuilding led her into one of thosenself-consciously noble and unconsciouslynfunny PoUyannaisms that madenmillions of anti-New Dealers apoplectic:n”I can think of nothing I wouldnenjoy more than having Mr. and Mrs.nBelafonte as my neighbors. I hope theynSEPTEMBER 1991/43n