Who am I? Once that question would have disturbed me.
But since my friendship with McCord, I understand that the artist should have a different ambition than to be remembered.
It is my ambition to be, as a private individual, abolished and voided from history,
leaving it markless, no refuse save the printed books.
I wish I had enough sense to see ahead thirty years ago,
and like some of the Elizabethans, not signed them.
It is my aim, and every effort bent, that the sum and history of my life, which in the same sentence is my obit and epitaph too,
shall be them both: He made the books and he died.
Who am I?
I am William Faulkner,
and much of my perceptions were shaped here in McCord's legendary jazz club, Meilori's.
the center, the focus, the hub; sitting looming in the center of the French Quarter’s circumference
like a single cloud in its ring of horizon,
laying its vast shadow to the uttermost rim of horizon; musing, brooding, symbolic and imponderable,
tall as clouds, solid as rock, dominating all: protector of the weak, judge and curb of the passions and lusts, repository and guardian of the aspirations and hopes of the helpless.
Here, McCord and I would talk about everything :
How words go straight up in a thin line, quick and harmless,
and how terribly living goes along the earth, clinging to it,
so that after a while the two lines are too far apart for the same person to straddle from one to the other.
That sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they have forgotten the words.
The world in minuscule would be scoured by our words. The shadows themselves seemed to gather around our table to listen to us where glass and bottle clinked.
The three potted palms around us hissed like dry sand in the dark moving air.
I can hear him still :
“All life asks is to look at it and listen to it and understand it if you can. Only the understanding it isn’t really important.
The important thing is to believe in life even if you don’t understand it.”
I can hear him laugh.
“Not that you’ll ever get it quite right. But that’s all right. Because tomorrow
Life is going to be something different, something more and new to watch and listen to and try to understand …
and even if you can’t understand, believe.”
I thought I knew what I believed in about life. Until that night when McCord asked me to his table to talk of a mysterious 75th year anniversary.
He talked of impossible things in such a way that I believed. He held his tale fixed yet vibrant so that seventy-five years later, when I, a stranger looked at it, it moved again since truth is living.
If you would be caught up in his narrative as I was caught up, read ADRIFT IN THE TIME STREAM.
If you would gaze upon the timeless beauty of Meilori, alas, you cannot. But one mortal woman comes close ...