Monday, November 1, 2010
I want to grow up to be "Chandleresque"
There was no readily available photo of Mr. Chandler at a typewriter. I can't remember if he only wrote in longhand. At any rate, he is the star I'd pick for a poster on my wall, the subject of swoons and fantasies. His works, that his. Surely there is something to be said about being an icon.
Think of (your name here) being used as is his, "Chandleresque." It is unambiguous. You know at once it alludes to powerfully visual descriptions and clipped, smartass (or, not to be incongruous, wiseacre), hard-boiled dialogue from his world-weary, occasionally duped (but not for long) detective, Philip Marlowe.
Who would you wish to be...not having to take on their baggage but only their unique talent and output? I know he began his writing career at what they refer to as "later in life," thought not quite so excessively "later" as mine. Reality is not a condition of this reverie. I would be Chandler.
Say his name and words like pulps and noir are immediately linked. He is quoted for phrases such as, "the tomcat smell of eucalyptus," which, especially after a rain or a hefty mist, describes precisely the scent of Southern California air. It is the fragrance of hilly side roads on which his protagonist awaited blackmailers.
My current writing intentions have him hovering like a pipe-smoking guardian angel or hard-drinking, disembodied muse. Aspirations move and motivate us. Think of giving the world titles and characters which will not be forgotten, which are shorthand for the complex world he opened to us in mid-1930s America.
Not that the noir genre is ever far from my mind, but today it has moved back to the front of the line, following a Netflix choice for Saturday night. I will write about it tomorrow or the next day.
I really am interested in hearing which writer you would be and why. To keep the length of this post manageable and to ward off readers yawning, I have given only the most basic, possibly superficial reasons why Chandler is my choice. Give me a break, I already wrote my 2,000 plus NaNoWriMo words and still have a commercial assignment to finish in the next hour. And it is not yet 10 a.m. I am not smug but neither am I discontent. It is November 1 and it is a good day.