Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Marking the 55th anniversary of Raymond Chandler's death

Raymond Thornton Chandler (July 23, 1888 – March 26, 1959) lost his job as an oil company executive during the Depression, and turned to writing definitive detective fiction. If more oil company and energy executives had followed his example, with half of his success, the world would be doubly blessed today.

As I've said before, wherever you're going for advice in your life, Chandler's almost certainly better:

Everything written with vitality expresses that vitality; there are no dull subjects, only dull minds. All men who read escape from something else into what lies behind the printed page; the quality of the dream may be argued, but its release has become a functional necessity. All men must escape at times from the deadly rhythm of their private thoughts. It is part of the process of life among thinking beings. It is one of the things that distinguish them from the three-toed sloth; he apparently–one can never be quite sure–is perfectly content hanging upside down on a branch, and not even reading Walter Lippmann. I hold no particular brief for the detective story as the ideal escape. I merely say that all reading for pleasure is escape, whether it be Greek, mathematics, astronomy, Benedetto Croce, or The Diary of the Forgotten Man. To say otherwise is to be an intellectual snob, and a juvenile at the art of living.

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