Rowan Oak, the home of William Faulkner from 1930 until his death in 1962, has the feel of a sarcophagus from which the King has been ghosted away. The ornamented shell is there, the bones have moved on, yet the spirit lingers. I think Faulkner would have liked it that way. I’m no expert on his work, but the interpretation (and preservation) of memory runs through his writing. Memory is now preserved and interpreted at Rowan Oak with care and skill.
A few of his own words about time, memory, and writing:
“The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life.”
“Clocks slay time… time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life.”
“I have found that the greatest help in meeting any problem is to know where you yourself stand. That is, to have in words what you believe and are acting from.”
“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
…and most telling of all, “Given a choice between grief and nothing, I’d choose grief.” Memory, indeed.
From the house and grounds:
THIS BROUGHT TEARS TO MY EYES. HIS TYPEWRITER IS THE EXACT SAME AS THE ONE MY MOTHER HAD–I LEARNED TO TYPE ON IT. MY FATHER WAS FROM MISSISSIPPI–WE VISITED ROWAN OAK AND I DUG UP A SMALL BIT OF EARTH FOR MY GRAD SCHOOL FAULKNER PROFESSOR. IN MY OPINION, FAULKNER IS THE KING OF 20TH CENTURY AUTHORS!
Thank you. I hope that new lush growth will come from Faulkner’s soil.
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