The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

When Legends Gather #267:
Raymond Chandler Birthday Birthday Edition

A congress of Black Mask authors
(yes, that's Dashiell Hammett on the upper right)


Vanwall said...

What made the pulps tick. Only Bellem missing, then it would be perfect. Seated far right under Hammett - Norbert Davis, one of the best writers from that period, IMNSHO, tho not much read these days due to lack of stories in print. Poor Bert died so young, :( - such a melancholy life for such a clever and funny writer.

Tom Sutpen said...

Thanks for pointing him out, Rob! Other than Chandler and Hammett, I wasn't able to identify more than one or two of the others (and then only from their signatures in the photo), so I thought going with the most high-profile Black Mask-ers the better part of valor.

Vanwall said...

I've seen all the names named somewhere in my collection of errata, but I seem to remember all of them were very high-profile when that picture was taken - Joe Shaw could really pick 'em. I've read so much pulp over the years, when I read a new crime novel, half the time I seem to have read it before, and these guys plus a coupla others were the reason why - they hammered the whole genre into shape in the 20' & 30s.