Writing Wins and Woes: Recluse Series; William Faulkner

Today I am writing about one of the great greats of writing. Despite my high esteem of Faulkner, I have yet to read a book of his. However, after researching this man, I am sincerely going to make another attempt. The book I attempted to read of his was Sanctuary and quite honestly, I found it very confusing. Onward into the man, though.

William Faulkner wrote some 13 novels, many short stories and also screen plays. He didn’t like playing to Hollywood and his interest in screen plays was strictly monetary. He had purchased a large house, Roan Oak and he supported quite a few relatives as well as his own wife and child, so he needed the money.

Mostly his novels took place in the south, in a place called Yoknapatawpha County. This place didn’t actually exist but most believe it was the county he was familiar with, Lafayette County, Mississippi. Some of his most famous works were: The Sound and the Fury, Light in August and Absalom, Absalom. In 1949 he won the Nobel Prize for literature. He was also a two time Pulitzer Prize winner and won two national book awards. Wow.

In the beginning of his writing career, Faulkner was a poet. Faulkner was named after his great great grandfather and he was enamored with the man, often including him in his stories. He was a prominent man, accentuated by being shot and killed in the town square of Ripley, Mississippi. In his later life, he was also a best selling author.

His mother and grandmother were also photographers and he took to this art form as well. When he was little, he had a “mammy” and he gave her much credit for his upbringing. and writing development. He never graduated high school because it didn’t challenge him enough.

In the tender years, he fell in love with a young girl named Estelle, but she pledged herself to another man. It was her view that the engagement would naturally dissolve because he was stationed in the Hawaiian Territorial Forces but instead he sent her a ring through the post and she eventually married him. Faulkner was heartbroken. He moved to Connecticut with his mentor. Eventually he joined the RAF and trained as a pilot. He made up many war experiences although he never really saw combat. In 1919 he enrolled in the University of Mississippi but dropped out after three semesters. Sherwood Anderson was a friend of his, whose books I have read, and he encouraged Faulkner to write about Mississippi.

By 1930 his old girlfriend, Estelle, had divorced her husband so Faulkner was free to marry her. They had a daughter named Alabama who died a week after birth.He had written a few books by this time. This was about the time he started screen writing. His wife gave birth to his only surviving daughter, Jill. He also partially raised his brother’s daughter. His brother died in a plane crash; a plane incidentally that Faulkner had given him. Later his niece published a book, Everyday by the Sun, about her experiences with her uncle.

Faulkner had many failings. He was an alcoholic and frequented brothels, yet he was a thoughtful father and uncle. He hosted many parties, paid for educations and provided for siblings, in-laws and his long living mother. He was friendly to friends and strangers but never courted his fame. He avoided interviews and even when he was filming Faulkner’s story, Faulkner avoided seeing Vincent Minnelli. He attended one of his movie premiers when it was in his hometown but refused to give a speech. Later when a Faulkner story was presented on screen, he said it  bore no resemblance to his work and walked out on it. In 1962 he died at the age of 65.

Writer’s Journal: I was very happy to have an article published this week in Guardian Angel Kids. I worked very hard on blogging this week both mine and a guest blog I will link to when it comes out next week. I also did some work for a book on mothers another fellow writer is preparing. Unfortunately, I did no work of my own. Hope to remedy that next week. Join me next week as I finish out my series with JD Salinger, the most famous writing recluse of all.910



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