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flounderers unite

June 10, 2010

Raymond Chandler’s cat is terrified.

Other than Poe, never read a real detective story. So it’s high time. Just got a few Raymond Chandler and Jim Thompson books off of Amazon for cheap and I assume once they arrive I will instantly become entangled in some real life intrigue. Nights full of shadowy back alleys, bartenders I’ll call Mac as I drink cheap whiskey with a loosened tie and open vest, lots of symbolic light, spinning newspapers with SENSATIONAL HEADLINES, cinched raincoats and drenched hats from standing in the rain, sucking down Lucky Strikes. I can’t imagine how I’ll explain any of this to the girlfriend.

Anyway, something kind of funny that’s often struck me about a lot of writers, is their rootlessness. Not that they’re all ramblin’ along, Kerouac-style, but there always seems to be lots of job-juggling, never quite comfortable, hustling to make a living. And it’s not like I’m much of a writer, in the real sense of the word, but that tiny window into the day-to-day of Joe Writer, III, just makes me feel a little more sane, that not everybody gets a comfy 9-5, salaried position with insurance and cocktails, or whatever the hell you get. So it made me laugh a little when I did a quick brush-up on Mr. Chandler, via the ever-present From the entry on Raymond Chandler:

Chandler disliked the servility of the civil service and resigned, to the consternation of his family, becoming a reporter for the Daily Express and the Bristol Western Gazette newspapers. He was an unsuccessful journalist, published reviews and continued writing romantic poetry. Accounting for that time he said, “Of course in those days as now there were…clever young men who made a decent living as freelances for the numerous literary weeklies…” but “…I was distinctly not a clever young man. Nor was I at all a happy young man.” [4]

In 1912, he borrowed money from his uncle (who expected it repaid with interest), and returned to North America, eventually settling in Los Angeles with his mother in 1913[5]. He strung tennis rackets, picked fruit and endured a lonely time of scrimping and saving. Finally, he took a correspondence bookkeeping course, finished ahead of schedule, and found steady employment.

Not having too rough a time of it and not borrowing money from any uncles in the UK, but you get the idea. I guess I better start contributing something to society here. I may be a little too comfortable, actually. Now, where are those Luckys….

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