Monday, January 24, 2011

Today's fortune: January 24, 2011

Today's fortune: Tomorrow you will find the item you have been searching for.

Would it be cheating to say the thing I've been searching for was eight new Facebook followers?

It would? Oh. Okay. Then I won't say that.

(But I will say, WOW! Eight new followers! I was hoping to get one or two more to break through into triple digits, but eight! That's terrific. Not only that, but the site also recieved a huge uptick in visitors today. Thanks everybody!)

The tricky thing about this fortune is that I haven't really lost anything recently. Which means I haven't been searching for anything. Which means there's nothing to find.

But I scanned my memory banks today, and I did stumble across something that's been nagging at me for a while, something I literally can't put my finger on.

I have misplaced my entire collection of Charles Portis books.

You've probably never heard of Charles Portis, but I guarantee you've heard of one of his books: True Grit. He wrote the book that became the 1969 John Wayne movie as well as the 2010 version starring Jeff Bridges, which is in theaters now.

I read the book several years ago, long before I saw the original movie, and long before the current version was in production. And I was blown away by it. True Grit is one of the most perfect novels I've ever read. It's beautiful and violent and touching and funny. And here's something that truly surprised me: the new movie is just as good, if not better, than the book (the old movie, in my opinion, sucks). The Coen Brothers' version is the truest book-to-movie adaptation I've seen since The Godfather.

A while back, I was telling a co-worker about the book version and promised to loan it to her. When I came home that day and examined my bookshelves, I discovered it missing, along with Norwood and Gringos, two other Charles Portis books.

(If you're curious, I wasn't blown away by Norwood, but Gringos is incredible. It's quite reminiscent of John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee novels, about which I'm sure I'll be writing on this blog.)

Portis is one of my five favorite authors, right up there with the aforementioned John D. MacDonald, John Steinbeck, Pearl S. Buck and Mario Puzo. In fact, I even named the main character of my own unpublished novel Blake Portis in honor of the author.

To discover my entire collection of books by Charles Portis missing was, as you can imagine, quite sad and shocking.

My problem is that I loan books out too freely. Actually, that's not a problem; it's one of my favorite things to do, even though I've been burned by that in the past, since many of the books I loan out never come back (most of them do). I'm sure I loaned the Portis books out to someone. Either that, or they grew legs and walked off.

It probably happened just like this.

According to my fortune, tomorrow those books will be coming back to me.

Which brings us to an interesting problem: Should I wait for the books to come back on their own, or should I go out and find them?

Or, the real question: Should I wait for these fortunes to happen to me, or should I make them happen?

That's really the whole story behind this blog. During the course of this 365-day process, I'm sure I'll do some of both.

Although I'm beginning to have faith in those little paper messages, I don't expect those books to just suddenly appear tomorrow. I'm going to take the active route here and try to replace the books on my own, either at a used book store or online.

And then I'll probably loan them out, so they can get lost again.

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