This Day in Death

8.20.13: Author Elmore Leonard – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:20 am August 21, 2013

ELMORE_LEONARDLeonard’s Ten Rules of Writing, which is totally just a rip off of Thomas Pynchon’s Four Thousand and Seventy-Eight Rules of Writing. It took me months to read, and for some reason required my acquiring a working knowledge of both Spanish imperialism and the production of Benzethonium chloride, but I’m told it was totally worth it.

 

Elmore Leonard, author of Get Shorty, Be Cool, and probably a few books that didn’t indirectly lead to keeping John Travolta in Level 7 Thetan armor, died yesterday at the age of 87. On a positive note, Leonard’s death gives me the opportunity to prove that I have read books. The spine damage on this Anne of Green Gables paperback should put an end to all those rumors to the contrary. NOW LET’S GET LITERARY, MOTHERFUCKERS!!!

As described in a 2008 Washington Post profile, Mr. Leonard’s world is “populated by cops who aren’t exactly good, crooks who aren’t exactly bad, and women who have an eye for the in-between.”

What galvanizes this gallery of rogues and scoundrels, more often than not, is a scheme — a kidnapping, con job or robbery that will bring quick and easy money. As it turns out, the money is neither quick nor easy, and the schemes are doomed from the start, spinning down unexpected tangents and threatened at every turn by absurdity.

Pass. Those kinds of stories always get me so anxious, what with all their twists and turns and who knows what other kinds of geometric queasiness. That’s why I prefer books where the characters come up with a plan, it’s executed without any complications, and then the story ends early so we can all get a good night’s sleep. It’s kinda a niche without a lot of entries, so I’ve taken to just reading the first two chapters of a book and then skipping to the last ten pages. You save time and your nerves. I’ve also made my own edit of Cool Hand Luke, where Luke quickly learns to respect the prison system. In my version, most of the movie focuses on Luke communicating clearly with the prison bosses and making sure he doesn’t overeat before strenuous exercise. At the end he’s released after having served his full sentence. Once you take out all the card-playing and general cool-handedness it really becomes a film we can all learn from.

 

Source: The Washington Post

 

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