Exquisite Words

Posted on August 29, 2011 by

I’ve missed out on a week of Exquisite Wordage, and blogging generally, for a few reasons: my site picked up a little malware, for one thing and had to be vigorously scrubbed. Mostly, though, I’ve been focusing on my current batch of writing students and my own work in progress.

I hope to ease into being chatty again in September. In the meantime, here’s a bit from Richard Rayner’s A Bright and Guilty Place: Murder, Corruption, and L.A.’s Scandalous Coming of Age:

Throughout this astonishing period, L.A. was the fastest-growing city in the world. In America only San Francisco had ever grown so fast, during the years of the Gold Rush following 1849. But by the 1920s, San Francisco’s boom was long done. New York, Boston and even Chicago had never known an explosion like the one that was happening in L.A. Every working day throughout the 1920s, builders started more than fifty new homes. Each week a new hotel went up. The year 1923 alone saw the construction of 800 office buildings, 400 industrial buildings, 150 schools, 130 warehousees, 700 apartment buildings, and more than 25,000 single dwellings. Property prices doubled, tripled, quadrupled, eventually rising sixfold through the decade. The city began to spread, amoeba-like, in search f its suburbs, although in those days L.A. still meant downtown, thriving with business and residences.

You can almost see this happening in a black and white time-release photo kind of way, can’t you?

Or this, where I quote Rayner quoting Chandler:

In this defeated atmosphere, the expressionless blue of the sky and the unchanging rhythm of perfect days taht followed each other one after the other added to the melancholy. “Outside the bright gardens had a haunted look, as though wild eyes were watching me from behind the bushes, as though the sunshine itself had a mysterious something in the light,” wrote Raymond Chandler.

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