Getting Ahead of Yourself

I tend to think sometimes that if I’m lucky with one thing then I’ll be lucky with everything.

Today’s example: A casino sent me an offer for $35 if I went up to Black Hawk and collected it.  And they offered free lunch.  So, I thought, “It’s a pretty day.  Nice mountain drive.  Free money.  Why not?”

Of course, when I got up there I just had to sit down and play a bit, right?  I mean, I was already there and they’d given me free money, so nothing to lose.  So, I put forty bucks into the 100-play poker machine and gambled for an hour or hour and a half.

And I did really, really well.  I got my first ever royal flush (off of holding a single ace).  I was dealt a full house and also dealt three aces.  (Which in hundred play poker means you get paid for that hand a hundred times–each of those hands paid out at about nine to one.  Nice!)

I had some ups and downs, but at the end of the day I walked away with another twenty bucks.

So, $55 and free lunch.  Not a bad day.

Which then lead me to engage in completely irrational behavior.  I went out and bought a mega millions ticket.  (I know Powerball is higher, but I’m not greedy–a couple hundred million is fine with me.  No need to hold out for the six hundred million.)

Well, as you may expect, I lost.  I didn’t get a single number.

I tend to engage in this type of irrational behavior with a lot of things.

Someone likes one story and I assume they’ll like all stories from that point forward.  But that’s not how it works.  Not at all.

There’s some correlation with writing–I think it is possible to improve in your writing the more you write.  So, if you have one successful story you’re more likely to have another.  But it’s not 100%.  Each story is its own special snowflake.

Your readers evolve.  Sometimes you lose it a bit and slip back into old patterns.  Sometimes you misinterpret the reason for that first success.  You think it was your unique idea and turns out it was your quirky character.  Or you think it was your cool detective and it was your setting.

(I have no idea where I read this at this point–Stephen King maybe?  But there was an author who loved a series of SFF novels because they were set in the rural south.  It had nothing to do with the SFF element.  But the author probably had no way of knowing that.)

And sometimes you achieve some level of genius that you’re not really capable of on any sort of sustained basis.  So that story that person loved is something you can never match again.  (The hope is that you don’t do that too early in your career.  It’s like if I’d sat down at that machine and been dealt a royal flush.  Why continue playing?  I would never get that hand again…)

Anyway.  Lesson learned: I should not buy Powerball tickets.  And I should be careful in extrapolating from any one specific success.

(Not that I have one that I’m hiding from you.  This is in that theoretical author world where I take events and make up scenarios for what could happen.  I try to avoid the crying in the corner scenarios since they’re so close to reality…haha.  Just kidding.  The beauty of having an ego the size of a house.)

About M. H. Lee

M.H. Lee is a speculative fiction writer currently residing in Colorado whose stories are sometimes dark, sometimes funny, sometimes darkly funny, but hopefully always thought-provoking and entertaining.
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