Tuesday, August 21, 2018

And the Oscar Goes To

Recently, I received a note from the NY Times. There was a documentary filmmaker interested in making a film about those who frequently write letters to the New York Times. I was asked if I would allow the filmmaker to contact me. Being me, of course I said yes.

Thereafter, an email came asking me a number of questions about my writing, what motivated me, what interesting tales evolved from the publication of my thoughts etc. Based on my responses, the filmmaker would then decide whether I was a good candidate to be interviewed for the movie.

Rather than reply to each question asked, I gave the following stream of consciousness response. I  await an answer, which should be forthcoming in a matter of weeks. Maybe this will lead to my 15 minutes of fame, but for the sake of all those who would have to be regaled with tales of my greatness should I ever appear on screen, it would clearly be best for all if my answers were deemed unworthy, and I was left unceremoniously on the cutting room floor. Anyway, for better or worse,  here is what I said.

"Do you want the unvarnished truth about why I am up most mornings between 4 and 6 AM writing my thoughts to the New York Times?

1. Insomnia
2. Ego

I would like to wax elegant about my outrage over Mr. Trump, my disgust that a huckster could wage such a prolonged war on the basic framework of our democracy, my frustration mounting with every tweet, each insult to our intelligence. He has provided endless fodder for newspapers and letter writers. But it seems more obsession than fruitful exercise to inform the Times, on endless cycle, wash and dry on perpetual repeat.

I have had nearly 70 letters published in the Times in various sections over the past decade. From the Sunday magazine to the sports section, to Metropolitan Diary and, of course, letters to the editor. But often I have felt like an idiot savant, with my parlor trick being the capacity to write a few clever sentences with a good kicker at the end.

You ask how others respond? Most have long since grown weary of my chest thumping, my somehow bringing the topic of my latest success into the conversation, only briefly as if a mere afterthought. For the few who still find me intriguing,  I know someday they will see behind the curtain, to find I am not a wizard but am merely playing one.

Maybe it is it that I have probably written at least 1500 letters to the Times that makes me sound weary of my calling. Every few months I consider hanging up my pen, but like Al Pacino in Godfather, they just seem to drag me in again every time I read "Your letter is being considered for publication."

Maybe all of the above disqualifies me from consideration by you, but I hope not. I believe you will want a range of voices and I think mine might be somewhat unique. And even as I wrote that last sentence I chastised myself for once more chasing after the next ego boost."


Anonymous said...

Great intro by you of you!


Anonymous said...

A new ego boost. I found your response much too humble. I await your stardom. Keep me posted.


Anonymous said...

I'll vote for you, Rob!!!


Anonymous said...

Yes, your pithy comments about 45 rank at the top, but what about your beautiful comments about family and your relationship with wonderful mother? And what about your occasional discourse about those Yanks?
That's what makes you our hero.

Anonymous said...

About time you were famous.


Johnny Migs said...


Pam said...

I just love that there is a filmmaker who would be interested in who writes to The Times! Go figure..... Pam

Anonymous said...

You ARE a wizard! Or more properly I think, a truly great artist. Am just finishing up viewing The Great Courses lectures on The Met and I see you among those men who, fired full with passion and the need to get it all out, gave whatever unimaginable effort it took to turn a huge block of stone into an object more beautiful and lifelike than life itself. And most of them... did it for pay.

I think the film maker won't find many like you. Good luck.


Michael Gansl said...

I would be honored if you would speak for me!

Anonymous said...

If my enjoyment of your words is any measure, your fame will be a helluva lot longer than 15 minutes.--RE