Saturday my parents and I went up to Asheville to see the family that’s left up there, see the old graves, see downtown Asheville, and check out the Thomas Wolfe house.
The Thomas Wolfe house was pretty cool. I absolutely love Look Homeward, Angel and learning more about such a literary giant was cool. Also Asheville has a really interesting vibe about it. It’s kept the small arts town feel and there’s no place I’ve been to that’s exactly like it.
Seeing the old graves and feeling the ghosts whistling through the trees was nice for me.
The thing I’m most excited about, though, is that there’s this shop in downtown Asheville that sells, well, pretty much anything that’s old. Imagine a thrift store that’s a million times more interesting than any thrift store you’ve ever been to. They’ve got cases of Chinese Revolution pins, and Soviet flasks, and Mongolian bows and arrows, and old newspapers and pictures, and old clothes and hats, and even a pair of 19th century fighting gloves with metals claws they’re selling for 250 bucks. It’s an extremely interesting place. But here’s what excited me more than those items I mentioned: They had a stack of Scribner’s Magazine issues. Original. From anytime from 1871 to the 30s. If you don’t know Scribner’s, they’re the publishing company that published just about everyone back in the 20s and 30s. Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Wharton, Wolfe, Faulkner, etc. They really had just about all the big names back then (most of them, incidentally, discovered by a genius editor named Maxwell Perkins). Anyway, I went searching through the stacks at this store trying to find any with short stories by these famous writers, and while I didn’t find any Fitzgerald stories like I was really hoping for, I did find the January 1931 issue which includes the first publication of a short story by one William Faulkner, described in the issues as “the writer of As I Lay Dying and The Sound and the Fury, regarded by many as one of the most important young writers in America.” So I immediately bought it. For 15 dollars.
An original issue of Scribner’s which has the first publication of a Faulkner short story? I don’t even have to tell you how big of a deal that is to me.