Friday, August 30, 2013

The Dead of Night

Just back from a wonderful lunch with Richard Howorth. Among other things, he told me about the time an insidious city official chopped down a magnolia tree in the dead of night to put up a statue of William Faulkner ("click" here to see me making out with it!) that no one in Faulkner's family wanted, and Faulkner would have wanted least of all. By coincidence, I was sitting in Square Books just the other day, reading the collected letters of William Gaddis, and Gaddis quoted Faulkner on his wish (I will get this wrong) to have himself thoroughly eradicated from history as a person, and let the books do all the talking. (Faulkner said it better.) I would quote it directly, but I merely leafed through it in the store - which is like stealing! - and don't have it on hand. Richard also told me about a defrocked Baptist minister who became a furniture salesman but didn't find it fulfilling, so then he became "a hell of a bookseller." One of the main things I love about Richard, which are many, is that he can still identify "a hell of a bookseller" when he sees one.