I Want to Make My Books a Proper Meal

Our little one is a voracious reader. No surprise there.

We’ve finally told her that after her bedtime routine (more reading, that) she’s no longer allowed to play computer games or watch videos; she can only read books until lights out.

Within 4 days after her weekly library trip, she moans that she doesn’t have anything to read. We know what she means, of course. Though she’ll have us read The Seven Sneezes every night for a month, reading on her own must be something new and exciting.

I know the feeling.

Just recently I discovered that Raymond Chandler completed, not 6 but 7 novels. Somehow in over 40 years of familiarity with his work I’d missed Playback, his final complete book.

If you’ve read anything I’ve written about Chandler, or if you’ve ever read any of my fiction, you’ll have an inkling what a monumental discovery that was for me.

But it’s the last one. I’ll never again discover “one more last Chandler novel” because he stopped writing, abruptly, just before I was born. (Precisely 9 months before I was born, in fact, but I’m not given to metaphysical flights involving the transmigration of souls, so I’ll just have to earn my place in the wake of his ship.)

And here’s where this falls under the category “stuff that keeps me up at night” — I feel like I owe you that feeling of delight, of treasure unearthed, with every single book I write.

If I serve you a meal which falls short of delight, at least your stomach is full.

If, because I don’t put in the work, I serve a book which doesn’t fill your soul, I feel badly.

I don’t want to feel badly.

So I’ll have to do the work, won’t I?



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