does not describe me fully
it is where to start

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My Flirtation with Faulkner

I sidled up to Absalom, Faulkner’s giant, brushed up against his shoulders, winked, and said, “Come hither.”

He approached, though his slightly mocking look was anything but encouraging. “I am too deep for you,” his look seemed to imply.

Me, not deep enough? Psh, I’m as deep as they come.

Maybe I said it out loud because he threw up his arms and allowed me to stand before him.

“I’ve heard great things about you,” I said.

He allowed a weak smile, but said nothing.

Then, without any seeming prompt, he started talking.

And talking.

I was beginning to think he would run out of breath. But, no, he kept talking.

Good lord, I thought. This guy can string a sentence for pages.

But, I shrugged it off. The getting to know you process is always fraught. Give him a chance.

And, he kept talking.

At this point, I was beginning to wonder if he thought I was deaf, dumb or mute, and that’s why he went on and on in spirals of time and place that had me gasping as I tried to keep up.

And, he talked.

I started edging away in fitful intervals; fitful, because I wanted to make sure I was doing the right thing. I mean, I had heard so much about this guy!

My smile became pasted on.

It was a tremulous smile, though, borne of doubt about what the right thing to do was. I really had heard great things about this guy.

And, he talked.

I could not decipher whom he was talking about or whether that person was still alive or whether he was reminiscing or … what!

Maybe I was not deep, after all, because I put up my hand and said, “Sorry, I really have to go.”

He smiled that slightly derisive smile of his, which seemed to confirm his first impression of me as someone not of sufficient intellect to appreciate him.

Well, okay. But, life is too short.

I walked away.

Thus ended my flirtation with Faulkner and Absalom; well, Absalom, Absalom, if you want to get technical about it.



Patricia O'Sullivan said...

I've heard it said you are either a Faulkner person or a Hemingway person. Have you flirted with Hemingway?

Judith Mercado said...

Patricia, I read Absalom, Absalom because my reading group chose it. This post describes my experience. With respect to your Faulkner/Hemingway point, at our discussion, someone asked me how I felt as a writer about Faulkner’s serial adjectives, long-running sentences, etc. I said that there are Hemingway people and Faulkner people (exactly your point), and each has validity and that both are brilliant, just making a different literary choice. As for me, The Old Man and the Sea is practically my favorite novel of all time, so you can appreciate that I would have difficulty with someone who writes like Faulkner. Nonetheless, I appreciate Faulkner’s gifts, not only of description, but also of mastering the psychology of his characters. I am glad this was our selection, but I was also glad to allow myself to admit I was never going to love it.