Thursday, March 26, 2009

Raymond Chandler

It was 50 years ago today that Raymond Chandler died. Arguably the most influential crime writer, he left behind seven completed novels and roughly two dozen short stories. There are some who prefer Hammett or Ross Macdonald, but I’m a Chandler guy all the way.

I read all the novels in order and all the short stories and essays I could get my hands on. I was barely 50 pages into The Big Sleep when I ordered the next two Chandler novels from Amazon (all Black Lizard editions). When I decided to start writing again, it was Chandler’s style I tried to imitate. It was like watching a whale knit.

Some out there dig Hammett more because his writing is spare. They think all of Chandler’s similes are silly and his description superfluous. But they made the stories more meaty and resonant. There are many times while reading a Chandler novel that I smiled at a great line. Sure, it took me out of the story briefly and made me think about the author for a second. But, by God, I was sure enjoying what I read.

Here’s a smattering of links for you on this Chandler day:
An excellent article on the literature side of Chandler from the Telegraph
essay: Writing The Long Goodbye by Mark Coggins

A little peek at my bookshelf:

(the big fat washed out one is The Long Goodbye.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Clean Slate

I’ve got the self-loathing part down pat. I haven’t been working on my novel as much as I should and continually beat myself up over it. For some reason, I’m just not feeling it. I think the story is good, but I’m not satisfied with the execution. A couple short story ideas popped into my head recently, so I was going to spend this past weekend working on a couple that I would target to the usual markets for these types of things.

Then….my hard drive crashed Friday night. Luckily, I frequently copy my writing to a thumb drive (so I can work at home and at the office) so I didn’t lose much of anything. So Saturday was spent getting a new hard drive and setting the computer up again. The good thing is that I’m taking this as an opportunity for a clean slate. A lot of the accumulated junk, I’m not going to get back. With a streamlined PC (little music, no movies, few bookmarked websites), I hope to spend more time on the important things….such as writing.

So, here’s a weekend inspired haiku to send us off:

Oh no! Hard drive crashed.
Diligent in your backups?
Rise like a phoenix.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Random Album Game

I saw this over on Stephen's blog. It's a lot of fun.

Here are the rules:

1: Go to
The first random Wikipedia article that comes up is the name of your band.

2: Go to
The last four or five words of the very LAST quote on the page is the title of your first album.

3: Go to
The third picture in the top row, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4: Use Photoshop or whatever to put it all together.

5: Post it.

Here's mine:

I got lucky because my random Wikipedia entry was actually a band name. :)