One of the highlights of my trip to New York City last week was a visit to The Strand, one of the oldest bookstores in the city, which features 18 miles of books. I about died. It was this book-lovers dream come true.
And it wasn't just the books, right? The place was packed, filled with people who had come from all over the city and all over the world to stare at, and fondle, and buy books. Nothing but books, everywhere you looked.
In 2005, I lost most of my books, but I am slowly replacing them. I bought a trio of Faulkners -- As I Lay Dying, Light in August, and The Sound and the Fury -- and I even found a copy of a book I never expected to find, City of Glass: The Graphic Novel. I've read them all before, but nothing beats having them in your possession. Then they're there for you whenever you need them.
When I got home, I started re-reading As I Lay Dying, which is probably my favorite Faulkner novel, although that's like picking your favorite child.
And at night it is better still. I used to lie on the pallet in the hall, waiting until I could hear them all asleep, so I could get up and go back to the bucket. It would be black, the shelf black, the still surface of the water a round orifice in nothingness, where before I stirred it awake with the dipper I could see maybe a star or two in the bucket, and maybe in the dipper a star or two before I drank. After that, I was bigger, older.I wondered what agents and editors would say today if Faulkner wasn't Faulkner. What's with the bucket, Bill? Enough with the bucket already! Get on with it and tell the damn story.
Last night, I dreamed I was trapped in a bathroom with Paul Auster. I put my hands over my face in horror. "The only way this could have been worse is if this was Faulkner!" I wailed.