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Long Bus Rides

My husband asked me to read a book he had published for a client. It was a short book but the subject didn’t interest me. No matter. He valued my professional input and I said okay. I cannot say no to my husband, nor should I, not to mention that this was a client’s book. My husband is a screenwriter, among other things, and is getting into producing, as he describes it. Now he was thinking of producing the story he had just published as a movie. But he wanted to know: would this story make a good movie? It’s about a boy who gets lost in the woods, discovers a den of wolves (do they live in dens?) and is led home by a very talkative wolf who has a profound philosophy of life based on Greek mythology.

It wasn’t my cup of tea; I can never get into this kind of fantasy. But my husband can, and our daughter likes it, too, and so do many other people; it’s a viable popular genre.

I tried reading the book in my office, on the kitchen table and in the living room. I never got past page 10 before I needed a cookie, miso soup, some crunchy celery, a handful of walnuts, or a sandwich. Not necessarily in that order.

Then one day, the deadline for my answer looming, I went downtown for a swim, and instead of taking the speedy subway home, I took a bus. I had taken the book with me and I thought, maybe I’ll be able to finish this book on the bus.

Long bus rides, bless them. I remember when I first arrived in London and had some time to get to know the city before my job started. Every day, I hopped on a bus—a different line each time—and took it to the end of the line. London is a vast, complex, wonderful city. That’s how I got to know it. I took small orange WH Smith notebooks with me and jotted down all my thoughts and observations. Everything interested me in this new landscape. And now I was on a New York City bus headed uptown and there was something about it’s lumbering stop-start movement that eased my mind. Also, I was trapped—no kitchen. I got into the book and finished it. Then, I took out my phone and sent my husband an email: I finished the book on a long bus ride home. In answer to your question—would it make a good movie—I’d have to say: I have no idea. I enjoyed the bus ride, though. The gritty urban landscape was the perfect antidote to the den of talkative wolves.
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