A while ago I was speaking with some folk about their favourite short stories, and it was recommended that I should look at the short stories of Margaret Atwood. Each time I visited a library since, I have idly looked through the books by Atwood, hoping to find a collection. Usually I find only novels, such as The Blind Assassin. However, while waiting for a haircut at Northcote the other day, I decided to pop across the road to the library (yes, my life is a non-stop rollercoaster ride of action and adventure) and found a book of hers, which was full of one or two page stories (I later found out this was a volume of her prose poetry). One in particular stood out, not just, because I too am a fan of Raymond Chandler, but it is both shocking and accurate.
In, In Love with Raymond Chandler, Atwood describes how, what really comes alive for her, is Raymond Chandler’s description of furniture in his stories. How he understands that furniture says so much about people. She goes on to describe an orgy between her and Chandler, where they would run around in a motel room sniffing the furniture, rubbing their fingers along it, rubbing themselves over it. It is wonderfully sensual and cheeky in tone. I also love the line she uses, ‘the eyes of his cold blond unbodied murderous women, beating very slowly, like the hearts of hibernating crocodiles’.
The piece itself is very short, and someone has decided to put it up on their own blog, so here is a link to the text.