Although Faulkner was a lazy postal employee, he was a tremendously hard-working writer. In 1922, he had his first piece of poetry published in The Double Dealer, a literary magazine that featured the work of notable southern authors. Just two years later, Faulkner also published (with financial assistance from Phil Stone) a collection of poems entitled The Marble Faun. But he was soon to discover that his true strength was in writing prose, not poetry. At age 27, the budding author moved back to New Orleans, where he met Sherwood Anderson, the highly regarded author of Winesburg, Ohio. The two men hit it off immediately—Faulkner even stayed with Anderson and his wife for a short time—and the relationship sparked a creative breakthrough. Under Anderson's mentorship, Faulkner's writing blossomed. In 1924, he began work on Soldiers' Pay, a novel about a veteran returning home from the war.
Though he continued to drink heavily while in New Orleans, Faulkner wrote diligently, waking at seven o'clock each morning to begin work on the novel. In fact, Faulkner was so absorbed in his writing that he lost touch with old friend and mentor Phil Stone. In the spring of 1925, Stone sent him a telegram: "WHAT'S THE MATTER. DO YOU HAVE A MISTRESS," to which Faulkner replied, "YES, AND SHES 3,000 WORDS LONG."oak/interactive.html">"Rowan Oak." Though the estate was in shambles (leaking roof, no electricity or plumbing) Faulkner was eager to restore the house to its prior glory.