By William Faulkner
“Read, learn, learn. learn everything—trash, classics, reliable and undesirable, and notice how they do it. similar to a wood worker who works as an apprentice and experiences the grasp. learn! You’ll soak up it. Then write. whether it is stable, you’ll discover. If it’s now not, throw it out the window.” —William Faulkner
Absalom, Absalom! is Faulkner’s epic story of Thomas Sutpen, an enigmatic stranger who involves Jefferson, Mississippi, within the early 1830s to wrest his mansion out of the muddy bottoms of the north Mississippi desert. He used to be a guy, Faulkner acknowledged, “who sought after sons and the sons destroyed him.”
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Regions, Genres, Chapters I must confess that I jumped into writing this book like someone might jump into a beat-up car and take to the road. And while I’ve never been one for driving (or driving metaphors), I was surprised by how often the discussion returned to themes of mobility, transportation, and mapping. Indeed, at times, my research seemed to shift into and out of well-worn grooves, taking me to both established regions of the country and more obscure, less familiar scenes. In the end, I decided to focus each chapter on a specific region and its established regional styles, but only to show how modern experience eroded local ties and opened up the sonic terrain in new ways.
As this last chapter suggests, though, this abstraction allowed pop music to attain its own significant expressiveness. In the slow silencing of region, community, and personality, popular song finds a more thrilling, more open relation to the transience and detachment of late modernity. In the end, Holly’s abstract pop exposes popular song as it always anxiously mediates body and identity, as it establishes provisional alliances and exchanges, and so as it lets us experiment with more dynamic ways of being human and being modern.
Indd 38 2/19/13 4:11 PM Lord, It Just Won’t Stop! 39 And here come Christmas And I ain’t got nothing at all I’m just a po’ cold nigger12 At the end of the day, the worker seemed to have cultivated nothing but bewilderment and fear. Nothing he touched belonged to him, and all he made could be taken away at a moment’s notice. Over time, everywhere in his life, he experienced the irrationality of his newly rationalized world. His experience revealed a widening gap between reality and its abstract manipulation, between his emotional investments and the machinery of labor and economy to which they were forced to conform.
Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner