Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Yoknapatawpha County

I'm an escapist. I love chess. Nothing makes me happier than playing a six hour chess game except maybe one thing. Escaping to Yoknapatawpha County. That's where I want to be.

When I go to Yoknapatawpha County, and immediate feeling of peace washes over me. And I don't just plan to go there in my head either. I plan to go there for real. I've already driven to Oxford, and gone to see Rowen Oak, Faulkner's home, but that was before I had read The Sound And The Fury.

When I went to see the plantation, I looked at the rooms, the kitchen, the upstairs bedroom, the room where Faulkner wrote on the walls. I imagined things from The Mansion, because that's certainly what this was. Ok, I even acted a little silly. I imagined that everyone who'd ever read Faulkner felt the way I did. I asked the plantation tour guide if she knew anything about who the character of "Flem Snopes" was based on. She looked at me like I was crazy. Oh well, that wasn't the first time anyone had ever looked at me like that, and as I get further and further into my Faulkner obsession, I'm sure it won't be the last. But I'll be honest, I don't even think she knew who Flem Snopes was.

Now that I have read The Sound And The Fury, my determination to go to searching Mississippi for clues has grown. I want to see the tree that Caddy climbed, and even more, I want to see the window on which Lettie scratched the words "Lettie was here." I've heard it's still there. I've heard that scene appears in several of his books, and I haven't encountered it yet. It is supposedly a scene where a little girl scratches her name in the glass while the confederate soldiers march by. It's from real life, as real as it gets. A friend of Faulkner said when he saw that glass he said, "She's still there, like a ghost." I have to read more by Faulkner, and find that scene, and then, if it still exists, I have to find that glass window and see those words scratched there.

I love books. I am currently reading Tom Jones, by Henry Fielding. Amazing book. I'm enjoying it. I'm also reading lots of indie books. I don't want to wait till I finish all these other books to get back to Faulkner. Maybe I will set aside a little time each day to visit Yoknapatawpha County.