“By the way, would you convey my compliments to the purist who reads your proofs and tell him or her that I write in a sort of broken-down patois which is something like the way a Swiss-waiter talks, and that when I split an infinitive, God damn it, I split it so it will remain split, and when I interrupt the velvety smoothness of my more or less literate syntax with a few sudden words of barroom vernacular, this is done with the eyes wide open and the mind relaxed and attentive. The method may not be perfect, but it is all I have.”
These are the words of the ever crabby, completely fabulous Raymond Chandler (thank you dear readers for introducing his books to me) in a letter to one of his editors at The Atlantic magazine.
Talking with William Kuhn last week had got me going on all things literary, so this time we’re turning our attention to authors who have lived in this sunshine noir place called Los Angeles. It’s loved and loathed by writers, and you all know what my particular take is…as in, “there’s no place like home.”
Stay tuned for some wit and wisdom from the likes of Lillian Hellman, Aldous Huxley, Anita Loos, Truman Capote, Dorothy Parker, F. Scott Fitzgerald, etc. And of course I reserve the right to mix it up with the thoughts of some luminaries of Old Hollywood, like I do…
In the meantime it’s your turn to wax lyrical on the writing process. I yield the floor.
Good on Chandler. This reminds me of the trouble my mother had with the Virago editor and making sure that what she’d purposely written wouldn’t be corrected. She didn’t achieve her aim on a lot of constructions and it bugged her till the day she died.
I am going to look for your mom’s memoir…and I hope you have started working on yours!
Still haven’t got back to mine but now I know my heart op doesn’t have to happen just yet, I must. It’s a year since I moved but it’s just been one health thing after another! I think I’ve bought up all the second-hand copies of Muv’s book from Amazon so I’ll send you one. Email me your address and I’ll post it. x
You take care! And I am sending you an email now. xox
Dah-ling! I’m not stalking you, honestly – but I just saw your comment re: your mother’s memoirs. I’d love to purchase a copy. May I DM you via Twitter so we can make arrangements? If copies are still available?
Ha! I’m calling the coppers, dah-ling. I’ve just seen they’re selling copies of my mother’s book on Amazon US so I’ve not bought all available copies! https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=benedicta+leigh
Excellent – thanks!
Fantastic post. So excited to read your literary explorations- as only you can do!
I fell off the blogging wagon again, and when I turned my computer back on there you were! I will send you an email.
I am imagining his frustration if he had met/used our online editing programmes…. 😀
Ah, don’t get me started on those! I’m sure at some point they will be refined but now some of the “editing” suggestions are nonsensical.
Reblogged this on Pdlyons's Explorations and commented:
ain’t it the trut
One response to Chandler’s first plaint might be “Better a writer than a dishwasher, Ray!” or, “It’s better to be building a castle on a cobweb than to have to build an actual castle, Crabapple!”
Crabapples who are masking good humor are some of my favorite people!
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