About a month ago, lovely agent Brenda Bowen (Sanford J. Greenberger Associates) posted about award ceremonies. She referenced Virginia Euwer Wolff’s remarks at the 2001 National book awards (the winning book was True Believer).
Ms. Wolff mentioned September 11th, and how she (like many writers) wondered how they would ever write again and if it would matter. She went to visit the World Trade Center site with her son while she was in town for the ceremony.
The following is an excerpt from her speech:
What I saw was living proof of Faulkner's six. Faulkner said in 1949 in the Nobel speech that if we are not writing about these six things we are not doing our job. They are love, honor, pity, pride, compassion and sacrifice. I think of them as Faulkner's six. I used to have them on my wall until I memorized them and now they're on this wall in here.
Are these things in your manuscripts? One or two? All six?
Reading Brenda’s post and Ms. Wolff’s words made me want to examine my reason for writing—my reason for telling stories. Because at the end of the day, whether we’re writing middle grade adventures or literary horror, these six elements should be somewhere, reminding us to find and exhibit grace where we still can. Our characters are fiction, but we write from a place that’s not.
Anyway, it was a nice reminder for me. Keeping the “Faulkner six” in mind while writing certainly couldn’t hurt :)
Have a wonderful weekend!