Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Thomas McGuane Trashes Faulkner & Talks about How Writing Movies Affected his Fiction

[Interviewer]: Has your involvement with screenplays affected your notion of fiction writing?

Thomas McGuane: It's made me rethink the role of a lot of the mnemonic things that most novelists leave in their books. The worst about these things is probably Faulkner, who frequently had his shit detector dialed down to zero. We all read Faulkner in a similar way: we move through these muddy bogs until we hit these wonderful streaks, and then we're back in the bogs again, right? Everyone agrees that Faulkner produced the greatest streaks in American literature from 1929 until 1935 but, depending on how you feel about this, you either admit there's a lot of dead air in his works or you don't. After you've written screenplays for a while, you're not as willing to leave these warmups in there, those pencil sharpenings and refillings of the whiskey glasses and those sorts of trivialities. You're more conscious of dead time.

--Thomas McGuane, quoted in Alive and Writing: Interviews with American Authors of the 1980s,by Larry McCaffery and Sinda Gregory, University of Illinois Press, 1987, p. 217.

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Ruthie Black naked said...

It's true that Bill didn't write the same way he spoke - - correcting himself constantly. If he did, he've never completed one book. He listened hard and never corrected me. I met him in '58 in New Orleans . . .

J. C. said...

Dead time in Faulkner is like dead time in Wagner. Let's you kick back a little and get ready for the next moment of absolute transcendence. -- J. C.