So you can read my books

Monday, September 3, 2012


I am William Faulkner. I am dead.

Yet I did not die.

I, like so many who did not believe in an afterlife,

live here in the jazz club, Meilori’s.

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, I find myself standing outside the window of the storefront of humanity, still observing as a writer but unable to reach out and touch with fingers of new prose.

Except through Roland’s kindness.

Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained that by now we can almost bear it. Of course there are still problems of the spirit. Yet one question looms above all:

When will I be harshly killed?

By terrorist plot,

by Nature’s increasingly hostile hand,

or by the cruel strangulation of mishandled economics.

Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing

because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat of wresting something from nothing.

You must learn them again.

You must teach yourself that the basest of all things is to be afraid.

And teaching yourself that,

forget it forever,

leaving no room in your writing for anything but the old truths of the heart,

the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed - love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice.

Until you do so, you labor under a curse.

You write not of love but of lust,

of defeats in which no one loses anything of value,

of victories without hope and,

worst of all, without pity or compassion. Your griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars.

You write not of the heart but of the sex glands.

I remember that night in Meilori’s when McCord and I talked.

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.

Forgotten the words by being too busy living them.

So write those words in your prose.

Write them so that others may prove their truth by living them,

And in so doing, forgetting them as they forget they are breathing.
*Photo 1954 by Carl Van Vechten

As the restrictions on this collection expired in 1986, the Library of Congress believes this image is in the public domain.

However, the Carl Van Vechten estate has asked that use of Van Vechten's photographs "preserve the integrity" of his work, i.e, that photographs not be colorized or cropped, and that proper credit is given to the photographer.

Such has been respectfully done.


  1. Hmm, when Faulkner speaks, I'm stunned for a few minutes. Maybe, it's because I agree.

    Personally, I like the idea of Meilori's, but then, I have a healthy respect for spirits, the undead kind.

  2. D.G.:
    Faulkner really does have a way with words. His ghost refuses to let me use the past tense!

    I would so love to actually visit Meilori's. It seems a great, wild place to be entertained ... if you brought your track shoes for a hasty exit! :-)

  3. Good seeing you back on the screen, Roland. Hope Isaac didn't run you in too many circles.

    Faulkner is every writer's BFF.

  4. Love the idea of this Meilori's jazz club :)

  5. This was a really cool post. Tweeted and FB'd.

    Hugs and chocolate,

    Hope all is well in LA.

  6. Kittie:
    Isaac didn't run me in circles but a car did run me down. Luckily only a side-swipe! The ghost of William Faulkner is smiling wide at your compliment.

    As a muscian, you could play there ... if you brought a bodyguard! :-) Meilori's is that kind of jazz club! I really like the concept of a haunted jazz club, too!

    Thanks so much for tweeting and Facebooking it! The great thing is that there are no cover charges for getting into Meilori's. Getting out again ... that's another matter entirely! :-)

  7. Meilori's could be pretty scary, but with McCord there, I might risk it! It would be something to see :)

    William is so eloquent. And right, of course. Don't let it go to his head, though. He'll take over your blog.

  8. You do write of fear, death and passion in your stories Roland. I find the world inside Meilori's fascinating.


  9. Hope you are on the mend Roland and everybody affected by the devastation of the hurricane are getting their lives back into some semblance of order. If thoughts can help people recover mine are winging their way across the ocean.

  10. Angela:
    McCord always watches out for the living that enter his haunted jazz club. :-) Yes, William might just take over my blog, but he has competition with Hemingway and Twain!

    The world inside Meilori's captivates me as well, I guess that's why I write of it so much!

    Luckily it seems the hurricanes are through with us this season. We'll have time to pull ourselves back together. Thanks for caring! Roland

  11. Cool post! I hope you're doing okay after the hurricane.

  12. Susan!
    I've missed seeing you here. I'm glad you liked the ghost of William Faulkner and his musings. I'm still limping with shaky finances but ... boy! It could have been worse. :-)

  13. I love this. Do you think you can buy the ghost of a literary genius a drink? If so, I would gladly belly up to the bar with my all-time favorite writer. Faulkner - love him!

  14. Melinda:
    The ghost of William Faulkner is just as fond of the ladies as his mortal self once was! Whisky is his favorite beverage should you ever wander into Meilori's and see him. Keep an eye out for McCord ... just in case you need rescuing! :-)