When I saw that Oprah(tm) had selected three Faulkner novels for her summer book club–”As I Lay Dying” (my favorite Faulkner), “The Sound and the Fury”, and “A Light in August”–I was both pleased and shocked. Pleased, because Faulkner is one of my favorite writers (though I have to admit that I love his short stories and novellas more than his thicker tomes); and shocked, because I’ve always thought of Faulkner as the property of English majors who can make hay all evening over his historical and literary allusions, and the idea of comparing “Fury” with “Desperate Housewives” (yup, Oprah(tm) does just that) makes me cringe.
So, lubricated by a pint of bourbon (well, two glasses–I’m not Faulkner) and a sunny summer afternoon while I waited for some contractor or other to show up and do something about the upstairs project my wife has initiated, I set out to reproduce in Faulknerian tones and Hemingwayesque counterpoint a little discussion of what America would be like if we all did, in fact, take up Faulkner one summer.
Like my last story for Somewhat.org, I didn’t do more than one revision–I let the bourbon speak through my pen, typed it up, printed it out, made some little corrections, and sent it away. For a slow and laborious writer, it was a fun little exercise in spontaneity.