Whilst trolling social media this fine morn, I'm struck by the vividness of a memory. It was in December 2012, in the shadow of the Mayan End Days, that I discovered the best writings of William Faulkner. Think of it: newsies were talking up doomsday, which was really just the mathematical ending of the calendar, or the point where the Mayans stopped counting time, which is appropriate as they are no longer an empire. It's like: "after this point, no one will care about us". But in this soup of doomsday talk and the Sandy Hook massacre, I took a trip to the library, and as the world looked a dark place, I nursed a tiny light within my head. This was a thirst for learning, an exploratory thing, for I had heard the name William Faulkner in so many quarters, even from Orpha. Orhap. Oharp.
And behold there was an artesian well. Within the context of the crackers(poor Southerners, as opposed to the whitey euphemism), I saw a rich palette of humanity, tales of proud lives, prouder deaths, outraged virginity, outraged religious fervor, a study of black versus white that transcends color, creating a hybrid black/white who finds each side of him hates the other. I saw beautiful technique, from planning and story to the final language, and brother is his final language a rich tapestry, carried so far, to such a far degree, that it seemed at times he was stumping for a different breed of the English language.
Admittedly, I was a less connected person in 2012, though I was appalled by Sandy Hook. I would go so far to say the sadness did permeate my shell and I was wondering why, but I wondered about so much, much as I do now. I saw the tears as I crept into my cave to read away the hours.
Pylon stuck with me as a spectacularly planned bit of fiction, and I found myself thinking of it later, even much later, practically composing a book review in my head eighteen months after reading the book, as if it haunted me. It was a little, base story, but disguised within were larger themes. The book was called "cubistic" by a famous critic. This seems to apply, yet does not satisfy me. WF wrote a tale outside Yoknapatawpha with foils of several real people, with an odious version of a storyteller, which may lead us to think that this is Faulkner looking at Faulkner, and even in that the Faulkner looking at the media as well. But in base scenes, he approaches a kind of hope, and thats the kind of uplifting that dovetails to his later win of the Nobel Prize, that the story is dualized, at once small in theme and grand, important in the same passages, that the importance of the book is hidden, that it remains humble instead of taking on the self-importance of so many other works.