William Faulkner
"[E]verybody, children on up through all adults present, had to have a verse from the Bible ready and glib at tongue-tip when we gathered at the table for breakfast each morning; if you didn't have your scripture verse ready, you didn't have any breakfast."
"[I]f we Americans are to survive it will have to be because we choose and elect and defend to be first of all Americans; to present to the world one homogeneous and unbroken front whether of white Americans or black ones or purple or blue or green."
"I don't think that I would make any generalization about an opinion of women—and I'm inclined to think that every young man should know one old women, that they can talk more sense—they'd be good for any young man—well, an old aunt, or and old school teacher, just to listen to."
"Let the writer take up surgery or bricklaying if he is interested in technique. There is no mechanical way to get the writing done, no short cut. The young writer would be a fool to follow a theory. Teach yourself by your own mistakes; people learn only by error."
"One of the saddest things is that the only thing a man can do for eight hours a day, day after day, is work. You can't eat eight hours a day nor drink for eight hours a day nor make love for eight hours—all you can do for eight hours is work. Which is the reason why man makes himself and everybody else so miserable and unhappy."
"Remember, all Tolstoy said about Anna Karenina was that she was beautiful and could see in the dark like a cat. That's all he ever said to describe her. And every man has a different idea of what's beautiful. And it's best to take the gesture, the shadow of the branch, and let the mind create the tree."
"My general impression of Hollywood is that of a vary wealthy, over-grown country town. In fact, it reminds me very much of a town that has sprung up as the result of an oil boom.I know very few actors, but the ones with whom I did come in contact were normal, hard-working people, leading much saner lives then we are led to believe."
"I imagine as long as people will continue to read novels, people will continue to write them, or vice versa; unless of course the pictorial magazines and comic strips finally atrophy man's capacity to read, and literature really is on its way back to the picture writing in the Neanderthal cave."
"Beginning with Sartoris I discovered that my own little postage stamp of native soil was worth writing about and that I would never live long enough to exhaust it, and by sublimating the actual into apocryphal I would have complete liberty to use whatever talent I might have to its absolute top."
"Personally I find it impossible to communicate with the outside world. Maybe I will end up in some kind of self-communion—a silence—faced with the certainty that I can no longer be understood. The artist must create his own language. This is not only his right but his duty."
Excerpted from Lion in the Garden: Interviews with William Faulkner, 1926–1962, Edited by James B. Meriwether and Michael Millgate.

Permissions granted by Jill Faulkner Summers and Lee Caplin/Picture Entertainment Corp., www.pictureentertainment.com. © Copyright 2005, Jill Faulkner Summers. All rights reserved.


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