Quote of the Week: Raymond Chandler

Sometimes it seems to me you could base a whole blog on Chandler quotes, he just had so many interesting things to say about writing and he said it all so very well. Every now and again I stumble across yet another one and say, “Ah.” It can even be something I've read before, but on this particular encounter it resonates. So it was for me today.

Clearly, what he says here is an arguable point. Though, on consideration, were that not the case, why would he have bothered saying it?
“When a book, any sort of book, reaches a certain intensity of artistic performance it becomes literature. That intensity may be a matter of style, situation, character, emotional tone, or idea, or half a dozen other things. It may also be a perfection of control over the movement of a story similar to the control a great pitcher has over the ball.”

So this is this blog’s third Chandler quote. I doubt it will be the last.


John McFetridge said…
He states it really well. I don't see anything to argue about there.

"Intensity of artistic performance."
Clea Simon said…
That and the "perfection of control." Something to aspire to, for sure. (If there are nonauthors reading this, believe me, when you're maneuvering an 80 or 90,000 word story around, you can feel like you're trying to steer a cruise ship. I often forget things I wrote only about 100 pages earlier...)
These are two of my favorite Chandler quotes:

“It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window.” Raymond Chandler Farewell, My Lovely

“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 patios 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 stay split.” Raymond Chandler

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