Sometimes I read an article I wrote, and I think, “I wish I had written that,” then it hits me that oh, wait. I did write that.
A case in point:
This morning someone left a comment on my post “Let It Ride,” telling me he was doing a podcast about the movie and wanted to know if I would like to join the discussion. Not remembering having ever written about the film, though it is one I like, I went back and read the post. The piece turned out to be not so much a rehashing of the movie (which the critics hated and apparently, so did the screenwriter, because she had her name removed from the credits), but a discussion of the philosophy of luck.
I generally do not like stories about gambling. They set my teeth on edge because of the inevitable slough of despair the character falls into when the addiction gets the better of him. Despite that, Let It Ride is one of my favorite movies, probably because although the story takes place at Hialeah amid the horse racing culture, it is not a movie about gambling. It’s the story of how the forces of the universe align to give Jay Trotter (Richard Dreyfuss) one perfect day, how he had the wisdom to recognize the gift, and how he had the courage to accept it. Not everyone accepted the gift. Even those who saw what was happening to him and were jealous, refused to follow his lead when he so generously offered to share the luck.
I think the part I liked most about that particular post was my summation: What does this philosophical vision of the movie teach me? Perhaps that luck — and life — should be taken as it comes, we should trust ourselves, and beyond that, we should just let it ride.
So, that was an example of something that I wish I’d written and had. On the other hand, there are a lot of things I read that I am very glad I didn’t write. The last book I read (or attempted to read) was a mystery written by a man from the point of view of an alcoholic woman journalist who kept sabotaging her life. It was a popular book, though I don’t know why. A writer struggling with alcoholism is such a trite theme; hundreds, if not thousands of books (though not a single one by me) have been written with that same generic character.
Another book I was glad I didn’t write was the one I read before that — a novel by a youngish white woman whose point-of-view characters were a flamboyant black woman and an old man (who turned out to be younger than I am). I thought such stories were no longer acceptable in a world where people don’t appreciate race appropriation.
I suppose I should be grateful that I like the things I write since there is so much writing out there that I don’t like. I also suppose I will follow through and email the guy about his podcast, though I’m not sure I’ll accept his offer. I really have nothing much more to say about the movie than what is already in this post and the one where he left his comment.
Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.