Last week, my husband and I had the opportunity to visit the home of one of my favorite Southern Gothic writers, William Faulkner. My husband knows I love writing and writers, so he planned the trip just for me! In that spirit, I decided to share facts and memories of the visit, as well as personal photos with you, our Suspense Sister friends!—Linda
Nestled in over twenty-nine acres of an area known as Bailey's Woods in Oxford, Mississippi, Rowan Oak, also known as the William Faulkner House, is a primitive Greek Revival style home built in the 1840s. An impressive alley of tall cedar trees lines the walkway to the front door.
|Rowan Oak, the William Faulkner House|
The home was built in the 1840s, and the hand-hewn studs were of 4 by 4 cypress. Faulkner bought the home in disrepair in the 1930s and did many of the renovations himself.
|Rear of the home|
The "Rowan Oak" is a mythical tree, but there are many trees and plants on the property that hearken back to antebellum times.
Though it is unclear whether Faulkner was a man of faith, his wife's bedroom bookcase contains many books of Christian inspiration, which might indicate that she was a woman of faith.
The wall of his writing room, or study, like many the wall of an author, is decorated with an outline of his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, A Fable, scrawled in graphite and red on the plaster wall. His desk faces a window and a large floor fan is aimed at the desk. There is also a twin bed in the room.
|A portrait painting of a stoic Faulkner above the fireplace|
Faulkner once said that the only tools he needed for his trade were paper, tobacco, food, and a little whiskey.
"I have just written such a beautiful thing that I am about to burst—2,000 words about the Luxembourg gardens and death. It has a thin thread of plot about a young woman, and it is poetry though written in prose form. I have worked on it for two whole days and every word is perfect. I haven't slept for two whole nights, thinking about it, comparing words, accepting and rejecting them, then changing again. But now it is perfect—a jewel. I am going to put it away for a week, then show it to someone for an opinion. So tomorrow I will wake up feeling rotten, I expect. Reaction. But it's worth it, to have done a thing like this."
Reading that quote from the same writer's perch, made me feel a kindred spirit with the man. All writers feel that way at some point. Although I have to say I have never declared my work to be perfect. But oh, to reach that pinnacle!
A few of many famous authors who paid a visit to the house are: John Updike, Alice Walker, Salman Rushdie, and even the Coen brothers. Writer Mark Richard once took it upon himself to fix a faulty doorknob on the French door to Faulkner's study.
The original curator of the house, Bev Smith, was responsible for finding many of Faulkner's original manuscripts hidden within the home.
|A cool retreat from the summer sun|
|Massive old tree near the servant's quarters.|
If only old trees could tell stories. I'm sure this one would have many to tell.
Some of Faulkner's books:
The Sound and the Fury, As I lay Dying, Light in August, Absalom, Absalom!, Go Down, Moses, Intruder in the Dust, The Hamlet, If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem, Sanctuary, A Rose For Emily, A Fable, Sartoris, The Mansion...
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Linda Kozar, is a successful author of over 16 traditionally-published and indie-published books, speaker, and podcast host of Chat Noir Mystery & Suspense and Network Coordinator for the Along Came A Writer Network on BlogTalk Radio. Recipient of ACFW’s Mentor of the Year award 2007, she founded The Woodlands Texas chapter of ACFW, is currently on the board of the Christian Authors Network and is a member of Chi Libris, ACFW, RWA, AWSA. Linda and her husband of 28 years, Michael live in The Woodlands, Texas and enjoy spending time with their two grown daughters, wonderful son-in-law and their spunky Jack Russell Terrier, Gypsy.