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William Faulkner

t the risk of appearing to compare myself with William Faulkner, one of America's premier authors, screenwriters, and outdoorsmen, I state that I'm proud to share three things with Mr. Faulker (1897-1962). We share the same birthday (Sep. 25), a passion for writing, and a great love of the outdoors.

Like most writers, Faulkner's beginnings were marked with struggle, rejection, and adversity. He didn't publish his first novel until 1925. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949, and two Pulitzers (1955 and 1963). The latter Pulitzer, a novel entitled "The Reivers" is a personal favorite, also having been made into a movie starring Steve McQueen.

Faulkner enjoyed a substantial career writing screenplays in Hollywood for famed director Howard Hawks, and was notorious for having multiple affairs with women. This controversial predilection was in direct contrast to his disdain for being awarded literary honors. Upon hearing of having won the Nobel Prize for Literature, he disappeared into the Mississippi woods on a hunting trip for several days.

William Faulkner, sitting, holding smoking pipe

Faulkner was known for his experimental style with meticulous attention to diction and cadence. In contrast to the minimalist understatement of his contemporary Ernest Hemingway, Faulkner made frequent use of "stream of consciousness" in his writing, and wrote often highly emotional, subtle, cerebral, complex, and sometimes Gothic or grotesque stories of a wide variety of characters including former slaves or descendants of slaves, poor white, agrarian, or working-class Southerners, and Southern aristocrats.

The quality and quantity of Faulkner's literary output were achieved despite a lifelong drinking problem. He rarely drank while writing, preferring instead to binge after a project's completion.

Faulkner's screenwriting credits include such films as "To Have and Have Not" (Bogart and Bacall), "The Big Sleep" (Robert Mitchum) and Faulkner's novel "Intruder in the Dust".

Once, on a hunting trip with director Howard Hawks, he shook hands with famed actor Clark Gable, his tunnel vision evidenced by the remark, "I'm William Faulkner...who are you?" (Gable was a household name across the entire nation).

Don E. Webster has been engaged in a wide variety of outdoor pursuits for over 60 years. His recently published book, Bury Me In My Waders -- An Old Duck Hunter Recalls His Fowl Past, currently ranks among the most popular, best-selling duck hunting books on Amazon Books and Amazon Kindle. His next book, “Double-Ought Buck” a novel, will be available in December. Webster was the recipient of the 2013 Phil Ford Humor Award from the Outdoor Writer’s Association of California for his hilarious description of hunting dogs in his MyOutdoorBuddy column entitled “Canine Comics.” Don's website is donewebster.com.

 

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