Every time I put a word on the page, it's a gamble. When I choose a sentence, it's a gamble. The placement of a paragraph, it's a gamble. Do I take a chance on this character or that character? Will the morose teen win me a successful narrative or should I bet on the cheerful boy skeleton?
I send out a query letter with sample pages and watch the days spin and the lights blink; drink from a tray of hope and wait. Rejection. The House likes to win. But I walk through the casino of literature and see the winners, the smiling faces, wide eyes, the aroma of intoxication, the fixation of "one more time and my luck will chance."
I wander the boulevard of fantasy, of pretend worlds constructed out of nothing. Artifices rise out of the desert.
Everybody on the sidewalks, passing in and out of stores and restaurants, believes this is their day, that they are winners. They have to be. Not the stranger next to them. Not that other couple who weighs the currency they carry, the investment of time and resources.
If everybody believed that the system can't work, if everybody wins, then nobody would play and the city would empty. The buildings would decay and the desert would reclaim the land.
Who am I to think, "I'm the lucky. Today is the date. I've studied the system. I'll bet on contemporary a young adult sex-comedy. I'll play the traditional publication table and stay in for the long run. I won't get greedy. I'll know when to walk away."
|Guy Passes Out Advertisements|
Maybe one passerby will actually read the flyer, chortle in disgust at the contents and toss it. The paper joins other discarded sheets that drift through traffic lanes or lay on the sidewalk and get stomped on by foot traffic. He sweats in the sun and shivers when the wind blows. All he knows is that he must get ride of the flyers to get paid.
Who knows, one day I may eat at the table, the grand buffet of conferences, school visits, signings and sequels.
Then I'll leave this make-believe place, come home and brag, "Man, did I get lucky."