"All of us failed to match our dream of perfection. So I rate us
on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible. In my
opinion, if I could write all my work again, I am convinced that I
would do it better, which is the healthiest condition for an artist.
That’s why he keeps on working, trying again; he believes each
time that this time he will do it, bring it off. Of course he won’t,
which is why this condition is healthy. Once he did it, once he
matched the work to the image, the dream, nothing would remain
but to cut his throat, jump off the other side of that pinnacle of
perfection into suicide. I’m a failed poet. Maybe every novelist
wants to write poetry first, finds he can’t, and then tries the short
story, which is the most demanding form after poetry. And, failing
at that, only then does he take up novel writing."

-excerpt from an interview with William Faulkner from the Paris Review Interview Archive


  1. How insanely haunting. Thanks so much for posting this. I need to revisit Faulkner. It's been years.


  2. Nice post here..
    Keep on writing..

  3. great quote, really.

  4. What a powerful quote, thanks for posting it. I've been reading your blog for a while and you really have a good eye for the awesome :)