Friday, March 20, 2015

You Are Your Own Luck

Have you ever wanted something so badly and for so long that you figured if you ever actually got what you wanted, you'd probably die within the week because life has a sick sense of humor like that? 

That was how I felt about the long road to publication. It got to the point that I nursed the secret fear that I'd get one book published and that would be it. My life's pathetic purpose would be achieved and my number would be called. The neuroses weren't just mine. Shortly after I got word that the first two books had sold, my husband started having nightmares about me abandoning him, either via divorce or because I up and died on him. Yeah. We were a mess. Alternately going out to celebrate and cowering in some superstitious kind of terror.

Humans, man. We are an odd lot. Riddled with unfounded fears, superstition, irrationality and an innate desire to control forces over which we have absolutely no sway. Fortunately for me, I seem to still be alive. So does my partnership. I guess that's a kind of luck. But it was also hard work. Some days, keeping anyone or anything alive is a tough go. So, yes. Superstition? Check. Rituals? You bet. Totems? Sure. Luck? Well, maybe. After a fashion.

"Fortune favors the prepared mind." Louis Pasteur 

Short way of saying, if you don't show up and put in the effort, luck can't show up, either. Let's assume that part's a given, though. Nobody writes who isn't compelled to for one reason or another. There are too many other, easier ways of earning a living in this world. Up to and including becoming an ax murderer.

I do have rituals, though they shift and adapt over time. I used to have to have a certain desk and a certain time of day and perfect quiet in order to write. Then I had to have all my chores done, a cup of tea, and a cat lounging beside me before I could do my thing. I had my very own room in those days - filled with all of the THINGS I believed I needed in order to succeed. Then a dear friend became terminally ill. Before he died, he suggested that everything I needed in order to write was inside of me. It took some time before I could absorb the message, but he was right.

No matter who you are, no matter what you do, external, material items aren't going to change the fact that you are your own best source. Doing what you love, how you love to do it while surrounded by more things you love? I call that a win. But realizing that you're living every After School Special you ever saw about kids losing whatever 'lucky' trinket they had just so they could learn they had the power to succeed all along? It may be cheesy, but the lesson is invaluable and you'll always be stronger for it.

Still. The stuff of imagination is dangerous work. No one should go alone. It pays to have friends.

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