Monday, April 4, 2011

Mules, horses, Faulkner, Capote, Williams and Weird Tales.

"A mule will labor 10 years willingly and patiently, for the privilege of kicking you once."

--William Faulkner

We had mules. I remember two we had before my Father joined the Marines in a vain attempt to control a small part of his life. He had decided he didn't want to be in the army. If fighting was what they wanted then he thought the Marines best, or at least that is my guess at his motives because he never said why, or for that matter spoke much about what he did during the war. He was more forth coming about time spent in Hawaii waiting for enough "points" to send him home.

The mules were Pretty Boy and Peter Dick and they were a fine pair. I can remember riding in the wagon as they struck a trot taking us to town with him standing up while rolling a cigarette and never wasting a flake of Bull Durham.

After the war we had a team of horses and a tractor. Mules will kick and bite and horses bite and kick. Every now and then one of these, while being harnessed, would turn and try to take a chunk out him. Dad would hit the horse on the end of his nose and continue harnessing him. The mare, that's a female horse for you city folks, never did that. But she would kick on the odd occasion my dog decided to get too close to her rear hoofs.

She never hit the dog and the horse never bit my Dad.

I have never read Faulkner, Capote, Caldwell or Williams to any extent because I found them not of my liking, although Faulkner made many memorable quotes. I always felt that they were pimping Southerners. I found the introspection and hinted at incest and other nasty crimes around the corner too much by half again.

The Southerners I knew were busy trying to scrape a living from the soil or leaving the medieval sharecropper society for the northern cities and the promise of steady jobs.

Capote wrote some fantasy/horror stories. And I think Tennessee Williams' first published story, "The Vengeance of Nitocris," was in Weird Tales August of 1928.

Weird Tales predated Amazing Stories but it was horror/fantasy not science fiction although some writers moved back and forth between the two genres. If T and A was thought to sell space opera, then T and A with a bit of BDSM thrown in was just the thing.

Faulkner also wrote something to the effect that if you sat in the lobby of the Peabody hotel in Memphis long enough you would see everyone of any importance in the Mississippe delta.

Since I never got near the Peabody until long after Faulkner was dead he could not have been right.

Of course I didn't live in the delta, much less be of any importance.
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