Wednesday 15 August 2012

They pay brisk money for this crap?

Between Brain Pickings, FiveBooks, Melvyn Bragge's In Our Times, Slate's Culture Gabfest and Letters of Notes, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by all the recommendations for stuff you should be reading.

So, I say no. Mostly. At least occasionally. I often Instapaper to assuage my guilt. (Occasionally, I email links to friends to achieve the same goal.) But more and more I am coming to accept the fact that I'll never be able to read even a corner of the internet, let alone the whole thing.

And that's also why I avoid reposting stuff from these sources here. Mostly because it's pointless (why would you come here to find it?). But also because I don't want to pass that guilt forward.

However. I was so utterly charmed by this letter from Raymond Chandler to his agent about science fiction that I for once am not resisting:

6005 Camino de la Costa
 La Jolla, California 
Mar 14 1953 
Dear Swanie: Playback is getting a bit tired. I have 36,000 words of doodling and not yet a stiff. That is terrible. I am suffering from a very uncommon disease called (by me) atrophy of the inventive powers. I can write like a streak but I bore myself. That being so, I could hardly fail to bore others worse. I can't help thinking of that beautiful piece of Sid Perelman's entitled "I'm Sorry I Made Me Cry."  
Did you ever read what they call Science Fiction? It's a scream. It is written like this: "I checked out with K19 on Aldabaran III, and stepped out through the crummalite hatch on my 22 Model Sirus Hardtop. I cocked the timejector in secondary and waded through the bright blue manda grass. My breath froze into pink pretzels. I flicked on the heat bars and the Brylls ran swiftly on five legs using their other two to send out crylon vibrations. The pressure was almost unbearable, but I caught the range on my wrist computer through the transparent cysicites. I pressed the trigger. The thin violet glow was icecold against the rust-colored mountains. The Brylls shrank to half an inch long and I worked fast stepping on them with the poltex. But it wasn't enough. The sudden brightness swung me around and the Fourth Moon had already risen. I had exactly four seconds to hot up the disintegrator and Google had told me it wasn't enough. He was right." 
They pay brisk money for this crap? 

[Originally posted on Letters of Note]

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