He was born on this day in 1888. Ended up in California, in the south of it, being deeply affected by it and effecting it. We cannot understand California without him. Drinking too much, walking the rain touched dust smelling streets, into Santa Monica, or into the Santa Ana winds, walking into too many women, some showgirls....all too much. Once he discovered he could write, he did, but he had to work at it. Someone said he wrote like a slumming angel and invested the sun-blinded streets of Los Angeles of a romantic presence. Good and true. He died in 1959 of too much, with sure redemption in his words. His private detective, Philip Marlowe, was "The best man in the world and a good enough man for any world." You should read his novels, but also read his essay, The Simple Art of Murder
. And ruminate on the last paragraph, which begins: "In everything that can be called art there is a quality of redemption. It may be pure tragedy, if it is high tragedy, and it may be pity and irony, and it may be the raucous laughter of the strong man. But down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished not afraid."
I like this line: "I kissed her again. It was light pleasant work."