Maybe nostalgia indeed is what is used to be. This week the wayback machine’s new release shelf offers a history of avocado kitchens and earth shoes and more “Me Decade” data, while Tom Brokaw, in effect, hears the colors and sees the sounds of those long, strange ‘60s days of political and social change.
Extending back to include pre-boomer interests, The Long Embrace: Raymond Chandler and the Woman He Loved, is an examination of one the most influential crime novelists and his unconventional marriage to a woman 18 years his senior. Their marriage survived against all odds and may have been the crucial factor that led to the creation of Philip Marlowe, that icon of American culture. Author Judith Freeman looks to be pretty comprehensive — but though I could be wrong, I have my own version of how the Chandlers might have met:
- IT'S NOIR OR NEVER
I hauled my carcass to my office in the Cahuenga Building. Twenty-five bucks a day plus expenses were cooling their heels in the outer office, but I didn’t feel up to socking the clock. Another day, another dolorous sinking feeling. I saw the would-be client was a blond, the requisite blond du jour of the day. Another dame, another doll face.
“Mr. Chander? Raymond Chandler?” She pled with a familiarity that bred contempt. “I need your services,” she continued. “My name is Miranda Wright.”
She was arresting, with hair the color of amber waves of grain and big blue eyes like spacious skies. Nothing about her was plain, fruited or otherwise, and God shed his grace further by throwing her more curves than the Grapevine to Gorman. From the arc of her appraising brow to the arch supporting a shapely ankle, she had enough curves to make a cubist put a boot through a Braque. Hairpin curves, bell curves, parabolic curves, logarithmic curves, curves such that the sums of the distances from each point in their periphery from two fixed points are equal. Every square inch of Miranda was curves.