Happy Birthday, Mr. Hammett
Today marks the 118th birthday of Dashiell Hammett, the granddaddy of hard boiled detective fiction who gave us such classics as The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man. Despite everything I should remember Hammett for, my strongest association will always be through my undergraduate creative writing teacher, Michael. He was the first person I successfully internet-stalked (to Eastern Europe somewhere) in order to get a recommendation letter to attend the Hamline MFA program and the only undergrad teacher I ever had who was cool enough to take us all out to Gasthofs to pass the boot after finals.
It was some morning back in 1999, when the world was bright and whimsical. Michael had us crack our copies of The Maltese Falcon and lovingly sighed, “Dashiell. Don’t you just love the name Dashiell?”