Daniel Barth’s excellent piece on William Faulkner’s encounters with noir while toiling as a screenwriter in LaLa land reminded me of a letter published in Time magazine shortly after Faulkner’s death. A Jewish novelist whose name unfortunately escapes me wrote in to describe a conversation he had with the great man when the two were working on location, polishing the script for a western. The young man was worried that he was wasting his talent in the service to Mammon and he poured out his tale of woe to Faulkner as they walked through the stables near the set. Faulkner walked, and listened, and thought, and then said “A writer should write about what he knows. You were raised among Jews, not among horses. You should be writing about Jews.”
There’s been no Faulkner since Faulkner.