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February 4, 2013

What would be the best environment for a writer?


"To become a landlord in a brothel. In my opinion it's the perfect milieu for an artist to work in.

It gives him perfect economic freedom; he's free of fear and hunger; he has a roof over his head and nothing whatever to do except keep a few simple accounts and to go once every month and pay off the local police. The place is quiet during the morning hours, which is the best time of the day to work. There's enough social life in the evening, if he wishes to participate, to keep him from being bored; it gives him a certain standing in his society; he has nothing to do because the madam keeps the books; all the inmates of the house are females and would defer to him and call him “sir.” All the bootleggers in the neighborhood would call him “sir.” And he could call the police by their first names. -- Paris Review - The Art of Fiction No. 12, William Faulkner

Bonus Link: Alex Grant: Dress Like a Literary Great: William Faulkner

Posted by gerardvanderleun at February 4, 2013 11:55 AM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

Your Say

Later in that interview Mr. Faulkner expressed the opinion that:

People between twenty and forty are not sympathetic. The child has the capacity to do but it can't know. It only knows when it is no longer able to do—after forty. Between twenty and forty the will of the child to do gets stronger, more dangerous, but it has not begun to learn to know yet. Since his capacity to do is forced into channels of evil through environment and pressures, man is strong before he is moral. The world's anguish is caused by people between twenty and forty. The people around my home who have caused all the interracial tension— the Milams and the Bryants (in the Emmett Till murder) and the gangs of Negroes who grab a white woman and rape her in revenge, the Hitlers, Napoleons, Lenins—all these people are symbols of human suffering and anguish, all of them between twenty and forty.

And continued

...if 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 find myself grateful that I have outlived the first category, and never considered any other reality but the second.

Posted by: Rob De Witt at February 4, 2013 1:19 PM

He has a point, although the girls all keep bugging him. Living in a cabin out in the woods is probably ideal.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at February 4, 2013 3:33 PM

Nah Chris, I do it regularly. You go stir crazy after two weeks. We are social creatures.

Posted by: Casca at February 5, 2013 8:32 PM

Faulkner was fundamentally wrong about that. People are not homogeneous. Trying to make them homogeneous makes them crazy.

Posted by: james wilson at February 5, 2013 10:15 PM

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