Tools of the writer’s trade


The best job that was ever offered to me was to become a landlord in a brothel. In my opinion it’s the perfect milieu for an artist to work in… My experience has been that the tools I need for my trade are paper, tobacco, food and a little whiskey. (William Faulkner)

George Plimpton The Writers’ Chapbook (Viking 1989) 57

10 thoughts on “Tools of the writer’s trade

  1. An intriguing idea! But I’m wondering what a brothel landlord actually does. Take rent on the spot? Would he disappear when the police turn up, assuming the brothel is illegal?

    1. I’m not sure it would be easy to work there as a writer. Constant interrruptions, dealing with awkward customers, maybe the police turning up now and then…

  2. I recently tried to read his (William Faulkner’s) book Sanctuary and I wrote on the inside cover that it wasn’t worth the paper it was written on. It seems that many of the writers of that era were the product of hedonism. I guess a brothel would be filled with stories.

      1. Hemingway is better by far. But you are correct, they were a hyper-masculine bunch. They were heavy drinkers and most of them thought of themselves as womanizers. They aren’t getting away with as much today.

      2. Thinking more in terms of online porn, and other online distractions.

        My male college friends spent a fair amount of time drinking wine from bota bags and reading Hemingway and Faulkner, often
        out loud at 1:00 a.m., before everyone fell asleep from too much wine.Those are my associations with those authors.

        Stylistically, Hemingway promoted simplicity of a sort, and Faulkner was much more Southern Gothic, florid and emotional, and overwrought. They can both be fun to read in small amounts, and with suitable amounts of whiskey or college-level wine.

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