Thursday, February 16, 2012

Like Cold Smoke

You know Faulkner is lying about having written Sanctuary for quick cash when he uses prose like this:

He walked quietly up the drive, beginning to smell the honeysuckle from the fence. The house was dark, still, as though it were marooned in space by the ebb of all time. The insects had fallen to a low monotonous pitch, everywhere, nowhere, spent, as though the sound were the chemical agony of a world left stark and dying above the tide-edge of a fluid in which it lived and breathed. The moon stood overhead, but without light; the earth lay beneath, without darkness. He opened the door and felt his way into the room and to the light. The voice of the night--insects, whatever it was--had followed him into the house; he knew suddenly that it was the friction of the earth on its axis, approaching that moment when it must decide to turn on or to remain forever still: a motionless ball in cooling space, across which a thick smell of honeysuckle writhed like cold smoke.


  1. That was an inspirational first-thing-I-read-today, thanks for posting...

  2. Rick, you might find some inspiration on another blog we might know.

    Anne, I can only write like that because I've read Faulkner. Faulkner had to get there first, mostly on his own.

  3. I love Faulkner dearly but I couldn't read Sanctuary. Maybe because I was young when I attempted to read it. I never made it past the infamous corn cob.

    I don't think he wrote the book purely for sensational effect, really. I think he just liked to say outrageous things from time to time. He was a right character, in my opinion, based on the biographies I've read.

  4. Yeah, I think Faulkner was often trying to look like a badass, talking smack in public like that.

    I'm in the last 25 pages now. There's a courtroom scene that you know is the climax; Faulkner is telegraphing his big punch. I wish he'd calm down a bit.

    Faulkner does amazing things with time and space. Do you know that scene in Go Down, Moses where the two men are fighting across the bed over the pistol? The scene circles and circles around them, spinning madly. Totally amazing stuff.