Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The lottery and magical thinking.

I just bought a ticket to each of the three ongoing lotteries. I went to one of those "cafes" which specialize in gambling, because it was nearest to my house. There was a guy standing there playing Keno, another lady who was buying fifty dollars worth of scratch-offs.

I bought the two big lottos, and Keno guy said, "What, are you going to skip the million dollar one?"

I laughed and said, "You're right. That would be better anyway. Giving away a billion dollars would be too much trouble."

Earlier, I'd posted on Facebook: "Here's how lazy I am. A billion is too complicated. A million would do just fine."

Of course, I know there is a near zero chance. But I'd always wonder. (What difference a billion makes, I don't know. There are million dollar prizes all the time and they don't entice me. My rational brain knows the odds.)

I'm as susceptible to magical thinking as the next guy. Maybe more so. I think it goes along with the creative imagination.

I read an author once who advised against "daydreaming," contending it was useless. I couldn't disagree more. Daydreaming fueled my early writing. My first book got published, which only reinforced my daydreaming. Of course, the reality played out differently. Not much money or fame came from that book or the next two books, but by then I was fully hooked on the fictional dream.

I kept on daydreaming despite being fully aware that it was nothing more than wishful thinking.

At the age of 32 or so, I dismissed my magical thinking and got serious about my future. I chose to buy Pegasus Books and try to make a living that way, because I saw what a crapshoot writing was. I was convinced that it didn't matter how good the book I wrote was--it was a gamble. Someone early on said to me that success in writing was due to "luck, timing, and who you know."

And after writing for five years, I was pretty much convinced it was true. Plus, I had this nagging suspicion that I was "almost" good enough. I told myself the world didn't need any more books, and that was also true.

Over the next 25 years, I'd get the creative urge once in a while, which was usually banished by some financial crisis or another. Those financial crisis's never stopped.

Anyway, I came back to writing with no intention of going for the brass ring. Oh, I wanted people read me. I hoped they would like what I wrote. But I knew I was going to write because I wanted to write. It was a challenge to myself, one that I've fully enjoyed.

I'm still susceptible to daydreaming, but I don't take it seriously.

Surprise, surprise, I didn't win. 


Dave Cline said...

This has (basically) nothing to do with your history but, in the financial world, trading specifically, if you "win" on your first few trades... You're doomed. You think you "know" how it's done. (And of course, in the end, you're proved to know squat.)

But, in your case, I think practice makes perfect. I really think that one of these days, (not ignoring your prolific ability), you're gonna strike a chord. Your writing is so easy to read. The stuff practically pour into my eyes -- liquid words. The half dozen books I've read lately have nothing on yours. Where I continued to return, We live among you: that had world bearing impact. Your VR story of late, that cuts a close shave to a blockbuster.

Yet there's a gravitas that you don't quite evoke, though. "This is the end, or else, and God damn those who follow" kind of emotion.

But I think that you're just a reality shift, 7.3 degrees, away from it.

Duncan McGeary said...

Dave, that's really a nice comment.

Can I ask you to go onto Amazon and post a few reviews of things you read by me? It would be of great help. I'm also going to put this on my Facebook, if you don't mind.


Duncan McGeary said...

Actually, probably shouldn't do more than one review,(in any time period) because Amazon has gotten weird about it. :)