Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Luck be a Lady!

This was always my favorite song from Guys and Dolls. I'd wait and wait through the movie for Marlon Brando to stand in the sewer, a pair of dice in his hands, betting his life on a single roll, and call on Lady Luck to help him win the girl of his dreams.

I have been an incredibly lucky person of late, for, you know, the last few decades. I can point to easy job promotions, I can point to a solo bicycle trip around the world, I can point to published novels, and I can point to my greatest luck, my wife and kid. No man ever won such a roll before.

And every bit of that luck was made... By me!

Sounds arrogant? Well, not really. It is a matter of attitude and action and which way I face. Do I look at all the fine people I worked with and all I learned or do I look at the hard work and pain I invested in some jobs only to be laid off due to the recession? Do I look at the adventure of the bike trip or the fact that I lost my business, my career, and my house finally arriving at the point where the only thing that made sense was to ride away from everyone I knew one cold March day? Do I look at all of the great reviews and kind comments of my four-book Night Stalkers series or do I look at the dozen books and 300 rejections that proceeded it (a number of them on this series)?

Luck for me is more than how I view the events of the past, it is something I put myself in the way of. Did I give up after losing my career, no, I climbed on a bicycle. Did I give up after getting all of those rejections, why would I do that? Did I give up work that I love just because I was betrayed a business partner at one time or laid off by the recession another (both of which cost me a house I'd labored on and loved)?

If I had, how would luck have ever found me? I make my own luck. Sometimes it leaves a Matt-shaped hole in the wall, but that too is something I give my characters, the willingness to fling themselves into the breach enough times for luck to find them.

And my family, well, okay, sometimes luck must have something to do with it, because merely putting my heart and hopes on the line can't describe that much good fortune coming to a man in a single roll of the dice. As a man of words, I was actually scared speechless by asking my wife to marry me, I could only point at the ring I held before her and hope. And her simple, "yes," has been the happiest event of a happy life. I bet my whole heart on that roll. Me and Marlon.

So, what did you bet your roll on, and how did the dice land? Were you lucky?
(And sometimes luck may be just that: Today I got a chance to talk about joy and it's my birthday! Happy birthday to me!)

14 comments:

  1. Loved the post, especially the part about not quitting. You didn't whine...you kept writing!
    I have enough rejection letters to paper the entire White House...and I'm not talking about that one with two holes at the end of the back yard. I'm referring to the big house on Pennsylvania Avenue, but in less than a month my 55th published book will hit the shelves. Luck smiled at me from across the room; I crossed the dance floor and made a friend.

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  2. May your luck never fail, Matt! And Happy Birthday. It so happens it's my birthday too--and Albert Einstein's. I landed between a Friday the 13th and the Ides--luck, perhaps?

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  3. What a wonderful post, Matt! Thanks for sharing about the highs and lows.

    It's funny that one thing most writers have in common is that we've all been rejected numerous times, BUT, we didn't give up!

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  4. Happy Birthday, Matt! Guys and Dolls is such a fun musical, and if I recall the only time Brando sang. What an amazing life you've had. Writing is a risky proposition, but when it claims your heart not taking the risk is harder.

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  5. Love guys and dolls! I totally agree that luck indeed favors the well prepared. Not too long ago I would have cringed at the thought of anyone reading my writing, now I worry more about boosting sales. How things have changed since being willing to take a risk!

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  6. Happy Birthday, Matt! Enjoyed your post and can see that you certainly are resilient.

    I took a chance by taking a trip to Europe after I graduated instead of immediately trying to jump into a career job. I met the love of my life there and instead of being away for 3 months, I ended up being abroad for over one and a half decades. We finally settled down on this side of the world when the kids hit middle school. Fun times.

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  7. Happy Birthday and I'd say you have been blessed with VERY good luck! Congratulations!
    Amelia

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  8. Happy Birthday and I'd say you have been blessed with VERY good luck! Congratulations!
    Amelia

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  9. Happy Birthday Grace! You, me, Einstein and Quincy Jones. We're good! We're down!

    "Fortune favors the foolish!" Yet another way that we throw ourselves in the path of luck. Bottom line is "persistence." Perhaps my favorite word in the language. It always pays off. Perhaps not in ways expected or anticipated :), but it always pays off.

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  10. Happy Birthday Grace! You, me, Einstein and Quincy Jones. We're good! We're down!

    "Fortune favors the foolish!" Yet another way that we throw ourselves in the path of luck. Bottom line is "persistence." Perhaps my favorite word in the language. It always pays off. Perhaps not in ways expected or anticipated :), but it always pays off.

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  11. Happy Birthday!!

    Great post. I hope you continue to have luck.

    I think we help to make our luck and that makes it all the more worthwhile.

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  12. Happy Birthday! I think that most successful people manage to combine luck and hard work! Thanks for sharing.

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  13. I am so not lucky. I never gamble because I always lose!

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  14. Your post was similar to mine, ML. :} Thank you for sharing your experiences!

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