So you can read my books

Saturday, September 28, 2013


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.


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 blown up?

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.

{To read more from Faulkner, Twain, Hemingway, Hitchcock, even Bruce Lee on writing : }



  1. Start with the deepest basics and build from that point.

  2. This makes me think of something I heard once: Diamonds are always shown off against the blackest of cloths.

    I need about 4 lifetimes. I never read Faulkner. He's on my mile high TBR list!

  3. Alex:
    Yes, exactly. If the characters ring true, then no matter how fantastic the situations, the novel will "read" real.

    Words Crafter:
    I know how you feel. We need more time to do all the things nibbling at us to do. :-)

    Faulkner does the prologues and epilogues to both RITES OF PASSAGE and ADRIFT IN THE TIME STREAM (Sam's earliest adventures.)

  4. For so much that we see, we have no words that we can use. To expose the inner turmoil is too hard for many writers. The willingness of some to explore this inner world is what separates literary ramblings from genre action. They both have their purpose.

    Truth can be in any type of writing, if it comes from the writer's soul.

    I haven't read much of Faulkner either. Perhaps I should remedy that. Any recommendations? (since you know him well, Roland. . .)