Faulkner anecdotes

One category of stories concerns Faulkner’s drinking, and these are told with some awe and implied admiration:

-The time he attended a polo match, drank too much, borrowed a polo pony and rode it onto the field, fell off, and woke up “starin’ right into Darryl Zanuck’s teeth bendin’ over me” (so he is quoted). “It was such a feelin’ of horror that I became instantly sober.”

-The time they cleaned out his office after he had left Warner Brothers, and in his desk found only an empty bottle and a sheet of yellow foolscap on which he had written, five hundred times, “Boy meets girl”

-The time he hired a male nurse, whose duties were to follow at three paces with a small black bag containing a bottle, to be produced as needed, and to make sure that Faulkner reached the studio on time the next morning.


Another variety of story revolves around Faulkner’s refusal to become involved in Hollywood’s social life:

-The time, for example, when (it is alleged) he was at last prevailed upon to attend a party at the house of his current employer, found himself increasingly bored but, not wanting to seem rude by excusing himself publicly, went to the second floor, opened a window, and escaped by climbing down a trellis.

-The time he accepted an invitation to a party at Marc Connelly’s house and his friends, thinking that attractive feminine companionship might make him more responsive to the occasion, got him a “date”. After picking her up Faulkner spent the evening sitting in a chair, puffing his pipe and sipping a drink. At last the girl went to Connelly and said, “I don’t think Mr. Faulkner likes me. He hasn’t said a word to me all evening. I’m going home.” Connelly hurried to Faulkner and asked, “Don’t you like your date?” Faulkner puffed his pipe, looked up and said, “Which one is she?”…


Another kind of story hinges on Faulkner’s impermeable Mississippi mannerisms and outlook:

-And the time (probably the most famous of the Faulkner Hollywood stories) when he grew tired of reporting to the little office assigned to him and asked his superiors if they would allow him to write “at home”. The permission was given: some weeks later his employers were horrified to receive a post card postmarked “Oxford, Mississippi”- the place he had meant.

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