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Yes, absolutely! 0

Dear Bradshaw,

It seems there are people destined to achieve greatness, born to be brilliant, as if their fate was inevitable. I’m talking about people like Thomas Edison, William Shakespeare, and Joan of Arc. These are people, I believe, who couldn’t have helped being who they were. Meanwhile, think of everyone who has ever lived and how many names we remember: Moses, Buddha, Socrates, Zarathustra, Lao Tzu, Jesus, Julius Caesar, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Copernicus, Galileo, J.S. Bach, Mozart, Monet, Napoleon, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Pablo Picasso, Marlon Brando, Albert Einstein, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Walt Disney, Bob Marley, John Lennon, Bruce Lee, Bradshaw . . .

So who am I? What am I doing here, other than inhaling my share of polluted air and twiddling my thumbs? Who besides a handful of people will ever read what I write? Must trillions of souls live and die while only seven hundred sixty-three (more or less) merit remembering?

Changing the subject from cheese to chairs, and regarding your preference for film, I also admire movies. I consider them a culmination of art forms: writing, acting, directing, music, and more. In fact, I’ve amassed a substantial DVD collection of what I consider classics, including films by Chaplin, Hitchcock, Welles, Kubrick, Coppola, Scorsese, Bergman, Fellini, De Sica, Kurosawa, Truffaut, and Woody Allen even.

But when push comes to shove, I’m more drawn to books, perhaps because I process and retain information better when I see the written words. Also, books are simpler, more primitive than films. Watching a film requires a TV and DVD player, remote control with batteries, electricity, socket, cord, plug, and all kinds of other confusion. A book is ink and paper, and can be opened and closed at will. Reading is also quiet and personal. You can curl up in bed with a book, or carry it in your pocket and pull it out anywhere: on a train, a plane, while waiting for a bus or sitting in a park.

Another advantage is that you can imagine the characters as you see them in your mind. Jay Gatsby doesn’t have to look and act like Robert Redford or Leonardo DiCaprio, or Tom Joad like Henry Fonda. As phenomenal as films can be, I don’t think stories like Gone with the Wind or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn have the same impact in films as they do as books.

I always return to writing. Writing is my peace of mind, my reason for being. It’s also relaxing, fun, amusing, entertaining, adventurous, and I relish the freedom of imagination and the delicacy of word crafting. So I spend my time writing, reading, taking walks, playing the harmonica, listening to music, thinking, daydreaming, napping, and laughing as loud and often as possible. Sometimes it’s enough just to smile or breathe in and out.

Okay then, I’m not Confucius, Sir Isaac Newton, Saint Francis of Assisi, or the prophet Muhammad. But maybe it’s enough to acknowledge the splendor of life, reminding myself that one day, inevitably, Death will tap me on the shoulder whoever I am. When that happens, I can only hope to say, “Did I have a good time? Was it all worth it? Yes, absolutely!”

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