When Opportunity Knocks: A Book (Falconer), A Movie (Leave No Trace), And Me

Last month I read a good novel (Falconer, by John Cheever), and two weeks ago I saw a very good movie (Leave No Trace) at a local theater. Wanting to write about both I racked my brains for themes common to them. No doubt there are any number waiting to be discovered, but in the end I realized that I’d be better off limiting my focus, so as not to enter rooms that I wouldn’t explore properly and likely would never find my way out of. Therefore I’ll take a look at just one key point made in the book and in the flick: Some folks have the ability to recognize when a meaningful opportunity is at hand, and they act upon that knowledge.

And while I’m at it, I’ll work myself into the discussion. As I noted once before on these pages: If I don’t write about myself, who the hell will? Hey, the answer is a six-letter word that begins with n and ends with y. And the middle letters are obod. Shit, I’m ordinary as hell, but that’s never stopped me from throwing a few details about my life into cyberspace!

In his day, John Cheever (1912-1982) was a celebrated and popular writer of fiction, an examiner of the American scene and psyche. Not sure how well-known he is anymore. Falconer, which hit bookstore shelves in 1977, was the fifth of his six novels. I’ve come across articles online that proclaim it a masterpiece. I wouldn’t go that far, as I found it to be a little too loose at some of the seams, but I enjoyed the heck out of the book.

Set in the 1970s, Falconer tells the tale of one Ezekiel Farragut, an upper middle-classer who, in a fit of anger, murdered his brother and, as a result, found himself deposited in New York State’s (imaginary) Falconer State Prison. Cheever plays flexibly with time in his book. It’s possible that I missed it, but I didn’t notice any mention of the length of Ezekiel’s sentence nor of how many months/years went by on the novel’s pages. This open-endedness clothes Falconer in gauzy mystery. You never can be sure what’s coming next, an approach that pulled me in.

Falconer struck me as an extended dream, a workaday one at times, transcendent at others. It contains many beautifully written, near-hallucinatory sequences. Cheever’s words often drift and float, meant I think to represent how difficult it is for constricted individuals — prisoners — to keep their heads on straight, what with their activities being limited and each day being not much different than any other for them. And even when his passages are direct, they sometimes are dreamy nonetheless. And often heartbreaking too, such as these lines from an inmate who opens his soul to Ezekiel.

In those days I was the kind of lonely man you see eating in Chinese restaurants. You know? Anywhere in this country and in some parts of Europe where I’ve been. The Chung Fu Dynasty. The One Hung Low. Paper lanterns with teakwood frames all over the place. Sometimes they keep the Christmas lights up all year round. Paper flowers, many paper flowers. Large family groups. Also oddballs. Fat women. Square pegs. Jews. Sometimes lovers and always this lonely man. Me.

Yes, Cheever could write.

Okay, then. What about answering opportunity’s call? Farragut is good at that, without even trying in most instances. His prison mates feel comfortable around him, due to his unthreatening demeanor, and unburden themselves to him, as the excerpt above shows. Farragut is open to the opportunity to allow his peers to find a bit of peace of mind.

And in the book’s ending pages, Farragut takes a plunge that he hadn’t been consciously contemplating. A window of opportunity, heavily camouflaged, opens for a few seconds. Farragut sees it, seizes it, and takes the steps that might lead to a better life for himself. We’ll never know how his actions ultimately pan out, as the book concludes only hours after Farragut’s entrance into the unknown. But, as they say, he did what he had to do. And that’s important.

Taking the plunge is a major component of Leave No Trace, one of the best movies I’ve seen in 2018. Directed and co-written by Debra Granik, it is a quiet, contemplative work.

The story begins in a heavily forested state park in Portland, Oregon, and eventually moves to even denser forest lands in Washington state. As far as I could tell, it’s a present-era tale. The movie’s main characters, war-veteran father Will (portrayed by Ben Foster) and his teenage daughter Tom (played by Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie) have been off the grid, societally and electronically-speaking, for years. Will, wanting no part of regular life, has chosen to live by his wits in the woods, and Tom is just happy to be with her dad. The film provides very little back story. That’s not a problem. What matters are Will and Tom’s present circumstances.

In the film’s opening scenes, they cautiously are going about their business, doing their damndest to not be seen or heard in the state park. Theirs is a life of basics. Foraging, chopping wood, cooking, eating, sleeping in a small tent, playing chess and reading. They are content to different degrees, Tom much more so than Will, who is inflicted with emotional demons from his stint(s) in an unspecified war. Probably he served in Iraq and/or Afghanistan. Will and Tom are incredibly close, dependent and reliant on each other.

But their way of life always is in peril, what with park rangers and hikers and joggers rarely too far away. Eventually they are discovered and gently brought into the social service system. Life opens up, potentially anyway, when Will and Tom are relocated to normal housing. The second half of Leave No Trace depicts how they handle the possibilities, opportunities some would say, that subsequently present themselves. Is it better to be among people rather than not? To learn a trade and earn money rather than perpetually scrounging for food in the woods? To become more than what one has been?

Leave No Trace faces those questions. The answers might not surprise you, but the telling ways in which they are revealed will.

Now, getting back to me, let me say this: I wouldn’t be pecking out this essay at my writing perch, in a wood-paneled den on the ground floor of a cozy and comfortable suburban house, if I hadn’t grabbed an opportunity available to me back in 1977. Can’t imagine where I’d be if I’d let the chance pass. Very likely nowhere particularly good.

I’d been floundering for much of the 1970s, a big-time non-success story following my college graduation in 1969. After a series of going-nowhere jobs, I moved to Philadelphia in 1974 to work as a caseworker for Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare (DPW). Idiotically, I quit the job after little more than one year. My hormones must have been totally out of whack for me to do that, along with my mind.

Anyway, during the aforementioned 1977, unhappily spinning my wheels, I applied for reinstatement with DPW, an option that I’d been resisting. They hauled me back aboard. Hallelujah! Mama Mia! Things began to work out swimmingly. My income improved dramatically, I made friends and in 1990 met my wife-to-be. And I stuck around DPW for 33 years . . . damn right I’d learned my lesson. All of which proved that it’s never too late to answer the door when opportunity is trying to get your attention. Do I hear an Amen?

(As I always say: Don’t be shy about adding your comments or about sharing this article. Gracias.)

97 thoughts on “When Opportunity Knocks: A Book (Falconer), A Movie (Leave No Trace), And Me

  1. tanjabrittonwriter August 27, 2018 / 12:34 am

    You tied all those book and movie lessons with your life experience very well, Neil! I am glad to hear that you are happy about the path you chose.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Audrey Driscoll August 27, 2018 / 12:38 am

    It’s interesting that you succeeded by going back to a place you had left. Not the usual plot.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Lynette d'Arty-Cross August 27, 2018 / 2:03 am

    I agree with Audrey that it’s unusual to find such success at a place to which you returned.

    You have me very interested now in both the book and the movie, and you tied them and your life all together very well. Thanks for the reading and viewing suggestions. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 27, 2018 / 1:34 pm

      You know, if you’re thinking of reading something by Cheever, maybe one of his other novels (or some of his short stories) would be a better choice. A bit of googling might help you decide. As for the movie, it’s really good. Take care, Lynette. Thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Anabel @ The Glasgow Gallivanter August 27, 2018 / 4:06 am

    I haven’t heard of the movie or read the book – I have read some Cheever short stories, but no novels. An thought-provoking theme you have picked out! Interestingly (to me, anyway!) John and I had a conversation last night which chimes in. It started with a young person we are worried about who either doesn’t have, or possibly isn’t taking, the opportunities we enjoyed, and led on to what we did with those opportunities resulting in our life today (which we’re very happy with, like yourself).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 27, 2018 / 1:41 pm

      Hi Anabel. I hope things work out ok for the person you mention. Some people don’t have many opportunities in their life. And some people don’t see things clearly enough to take advantage of opportunities at-hand. Have a good week. Be seeing you.


  5. cath August 27, 2018 / 5:16 am

    Cheever has been on my list of books-to-look-out-for for some time. I’ll make more effort to seek him out after reading your review, I’d half forgotten how he came to be on my list. Nice set of connections, enjoyed the trip through your past very much.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 27, 2018 / 1:45 pm

      Cath, I happened to see a collection of Cheever’s short stories in a bookstore yesterday. The New Yorker magazine published many of his stories last century. I remember that one of them (The Swimmer) was made into a movie with Burt Lancaster.

      Liked by 1 person

      • cath August 27, 2018 / 1:55 pm

        You’re right, and The Swimmer is the one that caught my attention, so thank you for saving me some research.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. sniderjerry August 27, 2018 / 7:31 am

    Another great essay. Some people seem to know their destiny right out of the womb. Then there are those like you and me who stumble and fumble a bit. Glad you found your way and your happily ever after.All the best. Jerry

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 27, 2018 / 1:47 pm

      We both came out OK!
      Have a great week, Jerry. I’m always glad to hear from you.


  7. joyce hamilton August 27, 2018 / 8:08 am

    Interesting . I will try to see the movie.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 27, 2018 / 1:48 pm

      It’s a good one, Joyce. It might still be at the Ambler Theater.


  8. greenpete58 August 27, 2018 / 8:12 am

    I read a short story by Cheever in college, but my big memory is the 1968 Burt Lancaster movie “The Swimmer,” based on a Cheever story. Strange, unsettling flick, but very memorable. I’ll have to read “Falconer” some day. And the movie sounds interesting. I’m seeing a lot of “back-to-nature” themes these days, probably due to our digital obsessions. You’d like the book “The Stranger in the Woods,” Neil. A true story. We’re not all cut out for the 9 to 5, and some of us can’t handle human society at all!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 27, 2018 / 1:50 pm

      Pete, a few years ago there was a movie somewhat similar to Leave No Trace. It’s called Captain Fantastic, and it’s a good one too.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. mariezhuikov August 27, 2018 / 8:37 am

    If you don’t write about yourself, who the hell will? Great line and one that I also subscribe to. Ha ha!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 27, 2018 / 1:53 pm

      Hey, we can write about anything we like! That’s the beauty of blogging. Take care, Marie. Good to hear from you.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. lexklein August 27, 2018 / 9:14 am

    This all ties in well with my current efforts to take leaps of faith whenever possible! I’ve read Cheever (love him, but have not read this book) and I saw Leave No Trace a few weeks ago (haunting). Glad you grabbed your brass ring when you could; ‘no regrets’ is the best way to stay happy!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 27, 2018 / 1:57 pm

      Hi, Lexie. I’m probably going to tackle another Cheever book one of these days. But I can’t handle long books anymore, what with my attention span decreasing the older and older I get. So, I hope he wrote other short novels, like Falconer.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Still the Lucky Few August 27, 2018 / 9:43 am

    Like you and Sniderjerry, I stumbled and fumbled, (possibly most of my life) before I found what I really wanted to do. I think there is more than one life-changing opportunity knocking on our door in life. If you miss one, there is always another—or so I hope!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 27, 2018 / 2:00 pm

      Right, I think so too. But they don’t even have to be life-changing. Smaller opportunities can make a huge difference too. Many thanks for stopping by, Diane. Much appreciated.


  12. Alyson August 27, 2018 / 10:05 am

    Thanks for the heads up about the book and the film. As for the opportunities that come our way in life, fortunately there is usually the chance to get it wrong a few times before we hit pay dirt. There is a phrase here in Scotland, “What’s for you, won’t go by you” and I believe that.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Pazlo August 27, 2018 / 1:04 pm

    I struggle with premises that are a stretch.
    The guy trying to live an off-the-grid subsistence lifestyle, but does so in a state park?
    If they didn’t want to be found, why not just go a few miles north into the wilderness?


    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 27, 2018 / 2:04 pm

      Hi, Paz. I don’t want to give away too much about the movie. I think you’d like it, and I think that you will be surprised (if you see the flick) by how things play out, where father and daughter go, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Pazlo August 27, 2018 / 4:59 pm

        Yes, I shall need to see the film!

        Liked by 1 person

    • betunada August 31, 2018 / 11:33 am

      I wuzz gonna comment later — but Pazlo asked the question about which I was to comment: I visit family in Portland (OR) a few times a year and know some stuff, heard more questionable stuff, and … Forest Park (that big hill just west of downtown) allegedly is so dense, labyrinthine, that I’ve heard of groups/families/mini-communes of people who live in there. There are signs cautioning hikers/joggers NOT to go too far off the trail! the “few miles north” is a possibility but one would probably have to go south/southeast. once one leaves the “settled” parts of ORE the block-&-basin mountain ranges are pretty sparsely settled. like other commenters: I hadn’t heard of that movie either so will try to Netflix or something. somewhat related: you see the movie “captain America” starring Viggo Mortensen? quite similar in the live-off-the-land/wilderness with the family plot and ethic ~

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yeah, Another Blogger August 31, 2018 / 2:16 pm

        Hi, and thanks for all the info. I hadn’t known about any of that. And yes, I saw Captain Fantastic. Very good movie, but maybe not as good as Leave No Trace.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Sandra’s thoughts August 27, 2018 / 1:48 pm

    Hi..thanks for your thought-provoking article..it came at a time as if it were meant for me. Getting older now (62), I have been feeling for awhile a sense of “emptiness, unfinished business and thinking, “Is this all there is?”..I have felt genuinely tired and kind of “washed up”-your article (and your others) have caused a spark of, perhaps; hope and maybe a new perspective..I appreciate this very much!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 27, 2018 / 2:41 pm

      Hi there, Sandra. I’m not all that good at giving advice. If any of my articles shed a bit of light for anyone, then I’m glad. Wishing you the best —
      Neil S.


  15. SandyL August 27, 2018 / 1:59 pm

    “If I don’t write about myself, who the hell will?’ Love it. Believe it. It’s true.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 27, 2018 / 2:43 pm

      Thanks to WordPress, we can pour out our hearts!
      I’m glad you paid a visit to my humble site, Sandy. Be seeing you.


  16. JT Twissel August 27, 2018 / 4:29 pm

    I remember Cheever – especially The Swimmer which I read around the time that I was actually on a swim team. When you are in the water competing you don’t hear any noises – it is lonely. I can see where, with your background, both the movie and the book would appeal to you.. Thanks for the reviews.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 27, 2018 / 5:35 pm

      Hey there, JT. I’d be interested to know if Cheever is read much anymore. He was a pretty big name in the 1950s and 60s and 70s, along with Bellow, Roth, Updike, etc.


      • JT Twissel August 27, 2018 / 6:00 pm

        Probably not – people tend to pick up and read books that were made into movies, unfortunately. But I’m not sure how many people read Roth either!

        Liked by 1 person

  17. pjlazos August 27, 2018 / 6:27 pm

    Nice reviews. Both the book and movie sound great. And relieved that you managed gainful employment, Neil. Kudos to you for that. As a government worker myself with 28 years in I’m
    getting ready to make my next

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 27, 2018 / 7:21 pm

      Evening, PJ. Here’s my suggestion for your next move: In 2022, announce your candidacy for governor of PA.
      You’ve got my vote!

      Liked by 1 person

      • pjlazos August 28, 2018 / 7:06 am

        Ha hahahahahaha!!! 😂😂😂
        Although I guess the only way to ever change anything is from the inside, right Neil? I have long said that we need to send a cohort of Grandmothers to Washington. They’ll fix the country up! 👵

        Liked by 2 people

  18. Robert Parker August 27, 2018 / 7:38 pm

    Well, you write better than “ordinary as hell.” Enjoyed your post. I’ve had a tune stuck in my head for days, and when I read this about opportunity, it reminded me of a tune, “I Hear You Knocking” the Dave Edmunds version, I think from the ’70’s, and that’s stuck in my head instead. So thanks for that, too, I was ready for a change!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. viewfromoverthehill August 27, 2018 / 10:43 pm

    Aha: Falconer, about 200 or so pages. You’re staying in the area of your preferred ‘short’ books. Sounds good…..

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 28, 2018 / 6:46 am

      It’s short and good!
      Have a great day, Muriel. Many thanks for stopping by.


  20. Isabelle August 28, 2018 / 6:56 am

    A deep, informative and inspiring post, Neil.
    Your excellent review of Falconer makes me want to grab the book and read it in a chilly autumn evening (there’s already autumn mood in Norway). The extract you gave in the post shows how good John Cheever was at using experimental and descriptive language.
    I watched the trailer of Leave No Trace last week and as you described in the post, it’s a powerful film. It challenges the concept of “a normal and ordinary life” as well as the values most people have adopted in our society.
    I resonate with your thoughts regarding taking the opportunity that comes our way. I resigned from my long-term job in finance last year and went on studing my Masters in English language. I’ll get my degree by the end of September and will then start job hunting, preferably in the language field. I took the step and hope it will end well. Thank you for sharing the post which covered several interesting subjects. It was a great read! Isabelle

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 28, 2018 / 1:09 pm

      I have no doubt that your career change is going to be very successful. You’ll end up with a job that really is YOU.
      Have a great rest of the week, Isabelle. Be seeing you —

      Liked by 1 person

      • Isabelle August 28, 2018 / 3:28 pm

        Thank you, Neil. Will keep your encouraging words in mind. You too have a great rest of the week.

        Liked by 1 person

  21. Laurie Graves August 28, 2018 / 8:58 am

    I really like the way you weave together the different elements in this post. I haven’t read any of Cheever, but I have seen “Leave No Trace” and it is one of my favorite movies of the year. Such a quiet but profound movie about, among other things, opportunities taken and not taken.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 28, 2018 / 1:12 pm

      Hey there, Laurie. I hope the weather in Maine is better than the hot, hot, hot day we’re having in Pennsylvania.
      Leave No Trace is a heck of a fine movie. My wife looked it up in IMDB and found out that the girl who plays Tom is from New Zealand. I’m always amazed by how many actors can adopt the language accents of other countries.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Laurie Graves August 30, 2018 / 12:18 am

        It has been hot, hot, hot in Maine. Sigh. Yes, some actors are amazing when it comes to accents.

        Liked by 1 person

  22. Cristina Crawford August 28, 2018 / 9:29 am

    Loved this post; thanks for sharing! Gives me hope too that I’ll find my path. Still searching at almost 61. I often think my purpose is just to find a purpose! I’ve not read anything by Cheever so I’m going to check it out. Nearly finished (finally) with my latest read, Boys In The Boat. Happy Tuesday to you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 28, 2018 / 1:17 pm

      Many thanks for stopping by, Cristina. My guess is that 98% of people don’t find their exactly perfect path in life. I think that finding a reasonably fulfilling path is good enough. See ya’ —

      Liked by 1 person

  23. cincinnatibabyhead August 28, 2018 / 2:40 pm

    Good one fella. I will keep my eye out for the book. ‘The Swimmer’ film I liked. Janice Rule was a CB gal. The film is a no brainer for CB. I’ve heard of it. same director (Debra Granik) as Winters Bone’ A film I really liked. Thanks for that. Sounds like you’ve made some real good choices Neil. Your sense of humor backs that up.CB has a pocket full of regrets but I don’t live in them. I have a truckload of the good stuff for balance.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 28, 2018 / 4:17 pm

      “CB has a pocket full of regrets but I don’t live in them. I have a truckload of the good stuff for balance.”

      That’s a real good philosophy on life, CB.
      Bye for now —

      Liked by 1 person

  24. andrewcferguson August 28, 2018 / 4:47 pm

    Really great post, Neil. Like others the real clincher is how you relate the book and the movie to your own life story. Personally right now I feel like I’m at a crossroads; but I usually feel that way. As Alyson says, what’s for you won’t go past you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 28, 2018 / 5:43 pm

      I said to Alyson that I like that phrase (“what’s for you won’t go past you”), and I’m glad to hear it again. It’s optimistic, which is a good way for people to be.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. jeanleesworld August 28, 2018 / 10:33 pm

    That Cheever paragraph is f’ing amazing. Damn, to write like that…

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Ann Coleman August 28, 2018 / 11:00 pm

    I am beginning to believe that almost all success is the result of a willingness to take advantage of an opportunity when it presents itself. (A few failures as well, but hey, it’s always better to try.) And thanks for the paragraph from Cheever. I haven’t read any of his books, but after that excerpt, I believe that’s going to change!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 29, 2018 / 6:51 am

      Hi there, Ann. Some, or maybe all, of his novels hit the best-seller charts. He was pretty popular in his day.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Anonymous August 29, 2018 / 1:10 pm

    Really interesting post. Opportunity is such a tricky thing sometimes; whether we see it or not, whether circumstances in our lives at the time allow us to take advantage of it, if we really want to take one road over another and where will that lead us? Will we find what we’re looking for there? An endless rabbit hole of complexity if we allow it to be.
    Will be watching Leave No Trace for sure! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 29, 2018 / 1:45 pm

      Hello there. Many thanks for expanding the discussion. Much appreciated.


  28. Amanda On A Small Blue Planet August 29, 2018 / 4:47 pm

    Oh, sorry Neil, that was me commenting above! I forgot to log in! And as a by the way, have you seen Ben Foster in Hell or High Water? Amazing. Another complex film.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 29, 2018 / 5:42 pm

      Hi Amanda. I saw that movie and liked it a lot. I’d forgotten that he was in it.
      Totally different role in that one. He obviously is a very talented actor.


  29. janowrite August 29, 2018 / 7:47 pm

    So glad to see Cheever discussed – love his work. He had the gift of portraying a segment of society so well. Good discussion, Neil!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 29, 2018 / 8:38 pm

      I might read another of his novels. I think I read one or two of them years ago. But if I did, I remember zilch about them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • janowrite August 30, 2018 / 7:26 am

        I liked his short stories, may go back and read some, too!

        Liked by 1 person

  30. draliman August 30, 2018 / 7:37 am

    I often wonder where I’d be if I’d missed an opportunity decades ago…

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Mellow Curmudgeon August 30, 2018 / 11:33 am

    As someone who tends to be impatient with novels (and whose physiology tends to be impatient with movies), I don’t read many reviews of novels or movies.  But this one grabbed me.  Nice twist at the end, too.  Opportunities to return to a place unwisely left may be uncommon, but they do sometimes occur.  Growth and fulfillment do not always require getting a career change (or a divorce or a pet alligator).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 30, 2018 / 12:20 pm

      Thanks for adding your thoughts. And hello! What you say is very true. Internal growth I suppose is the key to a fulfilling life. See you —

      Liked by 1 person

  32. selizabryangmailcom August 31, 2018 / 1:23 pm

    Nice reviews, nice connections, and nice conclusion. I don’t know many people who HAVE grabbed an opportunity early in their lives, affording themselves that elusive fulfillment and satisfaction we’re all looking for. It’s interesting to see so many references to The Swimmer, which eerily encapsulated life in suburbia using swimming pools as a kind of motif. In the same vein, have you seen Tom Hardy’s “Locke”? The entire movie takes place with him driving in his car, where I guess the car and movement and freeways and roads were symbolic of his internal journey. You’d think it would be boring, but we thought he was pretty great!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 31, 2018 / 2:24 pm

      Hi Stacey. You’re right about The Swimmer. I guess that a lot of people are familiar with the short story and/or the movie. I wouldn’t have thought so. I’ll put Locke on my to-be-seen list. I like your description of it.


  33. Marietta Rodgers September 1, 2018 / 11:22 am

    I’ve been thinking about what book I wanted to read next and what movie I’d like to see. The former is always easy, because there are so many good books, but the latter is hard these days. So, thank you for the suggestion. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 1, 2018 / 12:54 pm

      My pleasure. Thanks for dropping by. Have a great rest of the weekend.


  34. alhenry September 1, 2018 / 6:20 pm

    “I’m ordinary as hell, but that’s never stopped me from throwing a few details about my life into cyberspace!”

    LOL Neil, the details of your life and everyone else’s is ALL OVER cyberspace. Just ask Google.
    In fact, I just finished a novel’ “The Book of Numbers” which talks about this in great, if confusing, detail. Though it does get pretty good about page 420. Your Cheever book sounds much better. He was very popular among readers when I was in college. This is one I haven’t read, so thanks for the tip.
    “Leave No Trace” sounds interesting, too. As for quitting your job way after a short year, way back in the day, I think you should reframe this as something brave and bold–that doesn’t completely negate “stupid”, but that kind of confidence and gutsiness is so missing from the world now where it’s all about the $$$.
    Maybe try to think of it as we were lucky to be young when when we were. Everything felt possible. We were giants. I think it’s much harder–less happy–to be young now.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 1, 2018 / 9:26 pm

      Hi there. One thing I’m pretty sure of is that you could live more cheaply back then, even accounting for inflation. In the early 1970s I drove around the USA with a friend. We were gone for a month. I think the trip cost me about $400.

      Liked by 1 person

      • alhenry September 1, 2018 / 9:36 pm

        Driving around the country–does anyone do that now? Apologies for the typos. I’m going crazy trying to pack it all up for a trip to London (thinking about begging the Brits for possible repatriation 3 centuries later). That and a G&T may be responsible.

        Liked by 1 person

  35. cathleentownsend September 2, 2018 / 10:25 am

    I like the idea of having the courage to take a plunge and strike out in a new direction, but I also like the concept that maybe it’s best to stay in one place and build a career for 33 years. Life is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Shoot–not even publishing can be reduced to a formula. There are a dizzying array of possibilities. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 2, 2018 / 11:25 am

      I think that a main goal for many, including me, is to reach a decent level (and not a near-ultimate level) of fulfillment. Thanks for your input, Cathleen. Much appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 7, 2018 / 9:17 pm

      Hi Louise. Well, there are exceptions sometimes.
      Many thanks for stopping by my site. Very much appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 13, 2018 / 6:08 pm

      He wrote 6 or 7 novels, I think. All of them probably are good. And he’s most famous for his short stories.


  36. Imelda September 24, 2018 / 10:50 pm

    It was good that you figured out early on (after some fumbling along the way) what you wanted to do and where you wanted to be. Many were/are not as, should we say, lucky. Hopefuly, in their make believe world, the book and story characters would eventually find what they were looking for just as you did.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 25, 2018 / 6:38 am

      Hello, Imelda. Well, I’ve never really had a “calling”, so I took the best option that was at hand. It worked out. I’ve had, overall, a good life. I’m very fortunate.


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