Nathan Barrett

Nov 21, 2020

2 min read

Mr. Faulkner, I presume?

when the writer
stops writing to people
and starts writing to
the writers,
he’s beginning to be taken seriously;
he begins to find command
in his voice.
readers notice, he is communing with the gods.

That’s a little hyperbolic and a little grandiose. But the point is that when you write and read enough, you begin to formulate a kind of relationship with the authors. Perhaps it’s real, perhaps it’s imagined. I assume that the writer, here being William Faulkner, welcomes the relationship or they would not have kept writing.

There’s something transcendental that takes place, a kind of communion with the writers, these people you’ve never met or ever could meet. Perhaps it is nothing more than merely having learned enough about them that one can make reasonable assumptions about what they would have said, done, refused, etc. But, then again, perhaps it is a communion on some higher plain ….perhaps.

This, as a writer, is where you want to be, whatever the nature of the relationship(s). There’s nothing miraculous about human accomplishment. We have a tendency to put our idols on godlike pedestals and believe that we could never attain or accomplish anything that would ever in the least bit resemble the quality of their work.

I suppose this poem is a kind of converse of that, in that you, the writer, might become the god, the untouchable that you saw in another author, and that you might become this in someone else’s eyes. We forget or loose track of the fact that they are men, women, postal workers, grocery clerks, teachers who took the time to figure something out that most people don’t, and time is the key; they took the time to figure it out. They were not born into it like a monarch. They worked until one day the role was reversed. They worked until they realized that others were looking at them the way they were looking at their role models.

Again, the conjecture is somewhat hyperbolic and grandiose, but hyperbole and grandiosity are often convincing and, at minimum, usually interesting.