Monday, November 24, 2008


Last of the colorful leaves for a while (taken over the weekend). We had a heavy frost last night and today truly looked like November winter.

This photo could be a model for an abstract painting, perhaps a sketch, a beginning of a Jackson Pollack sort of piece. The branches form a sort of creative architecture. Nature -- and the way one frames it aesthetically – has been a source of artistic inspiration for many people.

Been reading “The Maltese Falcon,” Dashiell Hammett. Such a classic! The architecture of this book could be imagined as a series of entangled branches, leaves, fruit, rotting fruit. With fog rolling in off of the bay…

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(District Attorney) Bryan: Who killed Thursby?
(Private Detective) Sam Spade: I don't know.
Bryan: Perhaps you don't, but you could make an excellent guess.
Sam Spade: My guess might be excellent or it might be crummy, but Mrs. Spade didn't raise any children dippy enough to make guesses in front of a district attorney, and an assistant district attorney and a stenographer.
Bryan: Why shouldn't you, if you have nothing to conceal?
Sam Spade: Everybody has something to conceal.
Bryan: I'm a sworn officer of the law, 24 hours a day, and neither formality nor informality justifies you withholding evidence of crime from me. Except, of course, on constitutional grounds.
Sam Spade: [ranting] Now, both you and the police have as much as accused me of being mixed up in the other night's murders. Well, I've had trouble with both of you before. And as far as I can see my best chance of clearing myself of the trouble you're trying to make for me, is by bringing in the murderers all tied up. And the only chance I've got of catching them, and tying them up, and bringing them in, is by staying as far away as possible from you and the police, because you'd only gum up the works.
[turns to stenographer]
Sam Spade: You getting this all right, son, or am I goin' too fast for ya?
Stenographer: No, sir, I'm getting it all right.
Sam Spade: Good work.

~ Dashiell Hammett, from “The Maltese Falcon”


Anonymous said...

your photograph reveals
Hammett's prose also
"patterned integrity"
how branches
branch -
can be "aesthetics" or "Nature" -
but Sam (between
the lines) calls it
getting it
all tied up, evidence, fruits
of ripe

Katie said...

Really wonderful photo! I agree that it's Pollackesque. Sorry to hear about the heavy frost though!

I really must rent Maltese; I haven't seen it in years. Great scene you've featured! Yes, lots of fog rolling off the SF bay lately.

Ms M said...

thanks, Katie :-)
At least the wonderfully-colored leaves lasted longer than usual this fall.
We're going to watch Maltese again soon. It's been years since we've seen it, too. I think it was one of John Huston's first movies as director. What a treat!

And thank you, Anon, for your exquisite prose. :-)