If you could have any author – living or dead – write your biography, who would you choose?

My favourite author is Neil Gaiman. I have read everything he’s written more than once and love his narrative technique. I’d always known *of* him but I didn’t really start getting into his work until I started listening to Amanda Palmer, who’s his wife. 

That being said, I don’t think I’d pick him to write my biography. My life isn’t dark or mystical enough for a Neil Gaiman book. My other favourite author, who was my favourite for the longest time before Gaiman took the mantle, is Raymond Chandler, and that’s who I’d pick for my biography. 

I know that the same argument can be made for Chandler as it was for Gaiman, my life isn’t as dark or as crime filled as Chandler’s writing but it’s his style that most attracts me. Chandler writes in this very matter of fact way where he calls a spade a spade. He lacks the pomp and circumstance of Tolkein (who I loathe) and the imagery he uses is phenomenal. Consider the two brow quotes used to describe two (very different) blondes. 

Very tall [Galadriel and Celeborn] were, and the Lady no less tall than the Lord; and they were grave and beautiful. They were clad wholly in white; and the hair of the Lady was of deep gold… but no sign of age was upon them, unless it were in the depths of their eyes; for these were keen as lances in the starlight, and yet profound, the wells of deep memory.

It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window.

The first is Gladriel’s description by Tolkein and the second is a Chandler description from ‘Farewell, My Lovely’.  I know they’re very different books with different view points and themes etc. But (in my mind) the Tolkein description is so long and drawn out that it makes it dull. When I first read LOTR I felt my eyes glaze over every couple of minutes until I forced myself to focus on this book that people raved about. Chandler however provides two sentences and very little more to describe the woman. Unfortunately I don’t have my copy of Farewell my lovely on me and the Internet doesn’t tell me who this is about so I can’t say who it was. 

I love the crazy exaggeration of Chandler’s writing. It’s not a blonde that could get a bishop to kick that hole. No, the bishop has no choice in the matter! Just by her mere presence there are holes all over the church. 

His descriptions of his lead characters are just as good. 

I’m an occasional drinker, the kind of guy who goes out for a beer and wakes up in Singapore with a full beard.

This is the man I want to write my biography. The man who can take any remotely attractive woman and make her a goddess. Who can take any dull trip to the shops and turn it into an escapade. Who can take any argument and turn it into a scathingly witty back and forth. 

Gaiman writes normal people living fantastic lives fantastically. Chandler writes normal people living normal lives extraordinarily. And that’s why I choose him. 

If you haven’t read any of Raymond Chandler’s books, I highly recommend you remedy that and suggest the ‘Killer in the Rain’ collection of short stories to start with. And please comment here or tweet me @Magician_Luke with who you would want to write your biography. 


Inspiration for today’s blog post came from: