“There are two kinds of truth: the truth that lights the way and the truth that warms the heart.” Raymond Chandler

When night falls downtown, it isn’t Hollywood noir…

IMG_2025It’s always about light…

IMG_1895And color…

lachinatown

And shadow…

“When you read a story, you accept its implausibilities and extravagances, because they are no more fantastic than the conventions of the medium itself. But when you look at real people, moving against a real background, and hear them speaking real words, your imagination is anaesthetized. You accept what you see and hear, but you do not complement it from the resources of your own imagination. The motion picture is like a picture of a lady in a half-piece bathing suit. If she wore a few more clothes, you might be intrigued. If she wore no clothes at all, you might be shocked. But the way it is, you are occupied with noticing that her knees are too bony and that her toenails are too large. The modern film tries too hard to be real. Its techniques of illusion are so perfect that it requires no contribution from the audience but a mouthful of popcorn.”

Raymond Chandler

 Mr. Chandler, in that little note about the movies was talking about Hitchcock’s “Strangers on a Train.” He wrote two drafts and then was fired — pretty standard for Hollywood — as was his reaction to the final screenplay. He hated it.

“What I cannot understand is your permitting a script which after all had some life and vitality to be reduced to such a flabby mass of clichés, a group of faceless characters, and the kind of dialogue every screen writer is taught not to write—the kind that says everything twice and leaves nothing to be implied by the actor or the camera.”

And now we’re going to take one of my long orbital swings through Hollywood and history, right back to…me, Vickie Lester. I, like Mr. Chandler disliked having my screenplays rewritten. I disliked it so much I stopped doing it, and turned to writing novels. It’s not like the words of a book, once written, are inviolate. A good editor will work your tail off, urging you with every wile and witticism they’ve got to clarify, pick up the pace, and polish the text.

I can’t say that I’m jaded about the motion picture industry, I just wasn’t somebody well suited to tinker with the Dream Machine.

I love it here. It’s my home. And everyone I know (almost everyone) works in the industry. And contrary to what Mr. Chandler said, I do complement it from the resources of my own imagination.

So, my first novel was about Hollywood, and so is my second (still in progress), and the third? Most likely, yes, all about the place that brought you over the rainbow.

 

Pink on the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz, at the 2014 Oscars

11 comments

  1. How prescient…I have been enjoying immensely the TCM Summer of Darkness Film Noir class which just ended on Friday. Raymond Chandler of course played a huge role in that Noir universe…

    • I missed the Film Noir class! But I know what I’ll read before bed tonight, The Big Sleep 😉 . Seriously, I came to Chandler late, but now he’s one of my favorite authors.

  2. There are two songs I used to sing in the backyard under the moon and star in grubby old Fontana…Somewhere Over The Rainbow…and When You Wish Upon A Star…. they were my affirmation to a future better than the present I knew then and my promise to my self that I would make my own magical world a reality. I don’t know if I have ever said this to you but, Thank you Vickie Lester for being a part of those dreams that have come true for me…(including holding for a moment something golden) and thank you for making new dreams for boys and girls everywhere who today look to the stars for there hopes and dreams. I love you.

  3. That song (Somewhere Over the Rainbow) has followed me around for ages. I have heard it almost everywhere I’ve gone, and in every imaginable music genre. One day I will find out why, but in the meantime it makes me cry.

  4. erickeyswriter

    What is the building in the first photo?

    Yes, I’m a complete outsider when it comes to Hollywood, but I did want to be in the industry when I was much younger. I toyed with the idea of screenwriting but ultimately decided it wasn’t for me. But that certainly doesn’t mean it isn’t the perfect place for some people. I prefer keeping my stories on the page for now.

      • erickeyswriter

        Bookstores are a rarity down here. There are a smattering of used bookshops and a few B&Ns and a handful of Christian book stores and one really neat place called The Map Store but there don’t seem to be many good, general bookstores. Ugh…

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