William Faulkner: 10 quotes on his birthday

American author William Faulkner was born on Sept. 25, 1897, in New Albany, Mississippi. Uninterested in school, he dropped out after 11th grade without receiving a high school diploma. After applying for the US Army and being rejected because of his height (he was 5’5’’), Faulkner enlisted with the Canadian Air Force, but never fought. When he returned from the war, he enrolled at the University of Mississippi and began writing for the university’s paper and magazine. In 1942 he published his first book of poetry, "The Marble Faun," but it received negative reviews and little notice. During a trip to New Orleans Faulkner met Sherwood Anderson, author of "Winesburg, Ohio," and was inspired to try novel writing. Between the years of 1926 and 1931, Faulkner wrote "Mosquitoes" (1927), "Sartoris" (1929), "The Sound and Fury" (1929), and "As I Lay Dying" (1930). However, he received little attention for any of them. ("As I Lay Dying" was written during night shifts while Faulkner worked at a power plant.) It was "Sanctuary" (1929) that finally gained him literary attention. The next several books he wrote sold better than anything he had written before, and Faulkner went on to write several of his most celebrated works, including "Light in August" (1932) and "Absalom, Absalom!" (1936). Faulkner earned little money from his books, however, and consequently worked as a Hollywood screenwriter. In 1950, Faulkner was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, which finally brought him acknowledgment and financial success. 

1. Conscience

"A man's moral conscience is the curse he had to accept from the gods in order to gain from them the right to dream."

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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