The Quotable William Faulkner
Whether or not you’re crazy about William Faulkner’s novels, you must admit the man was a quote machine.
With his silky, smooth Southern accent, he could drop wisdom bombs on you in the blink of an eye. You might remember Faulkner’s dig at Ernest Hemingway I highlighted in a recent post.
Back when I was reading The Blind Assassin, I pulled out some of my favorite quotes from that book–and there were many. This time, I thought I’d highlight some of my favorite Faulkner quotes. Note that these quotes aren’t only from The Sound and The Fury (all quotes were taken from our friends at Good Reads).
Take it away, Mr. Faulkner:
“Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”
“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth. ”
“Given the choice between the experience of pain and nothing, I would choose pain.”
“In writing, you must kill all your darlings.”
“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore. ”
“Don’t be ‘a writer’. Be writing.”
“It’s a shame that the only thing a man can do for eight hours a day is work. He can’t eat for eight hours; he can’t drink for eight hours; he can’t make love for eight hours. The only thing a man can do for eight hours is work. ”
“The next time you try to seduce anyone, don’t do it with talk, with words. Women know more about words than men ever will. And they know how little they can ever possibly mean.”
“War and drink are the two things man is never too poor to buy.”
“A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station….”
“Dreams have only one owner at a time. That’s why dreamers are lonely.”
“The best fiction is far more true than any journalism.”
“You should approach Joyce’s Ulysses as the illiterate Baptist preacher approaches the Old Testament: with faith.”
“To live anywhere in the world today and be against equality because of race or color is like living in Alaska and being against snow.”
Mark Twain not withstanding, Faulkner might be one of the most quotable writers in the history of the planet. And these quotes are just the tip of the iceberg.
I love the final quote about equality. Do you have any favorites?
(Photo Source: Gary Bridgman/Flickr)