At home I’m in the midst of clearing and packing and eliminating and — well, if things don’t more along a little faster, perhaps some setting fire to things and running away to laugh across the street as it burns.
Nah, that won’t happen. Probably.
And while I was very happy to get a box full of the print edition of my comic Gothic novel, The Mangrove Legacy, I was already planning to get them all sold at Authors After Dark so that box can be eliminated, too. I find it ironic that I am having such trouble eliminating the chaff from my relatively small flat; after all I have a lot less than I did even five years ago. But I don’t have any trouble eliminating extraneous words from my prose. I know I tend to err on the side of terse (despite writing a 120K gothic novel, ahem), but it just seems more satisfactory to eliminate words that just slow down the flow of the adventures.
I’ve been re-reading some Raymond Chandler for a project and it’s a delight to remember when I used to read much more widely in the noirish world of Hammett and Chandler. While the films of the genre tend toward the darkness and danger, it’s good to remember how much humour there is in the works. Of course, Hammett created the absolutely delightful Nick and Nora Charles (somewhat based on himself and Lillian Hellman) of the The Thin Man and its movie, so the sparkling wit is perhaps better known, but Chandler’s Philip Marlowe (heh, there’s that name again 😉 has a mordant humour that sustains him through the usually unpleasant events that he seems to always get himself into.
I have a bit retroactive crush on Hammett (handsome and a terrific writer) but I’m finding a lot of fun in Chandler, too. For all the terse dialogue and hard-bitten characters, I’m finding that there’s a lot more description than I remember. It can be really evocative — like the way Marlowe notices Anne Riordan’s hat in Farewell, My Lovely and how that affects his impression of her. He finds it a ridiculous hat and yet admires the way she carries it off. I need to remember that sometimes we do need a little colour, a little description and that it can add a lot of nuance and character itself.
Or maybe I just need a gimlet 😉 Yeah, that sounds really good.