Getting Lucky

By Cornelia Read

Sometimes I wonder about the phrase “getting lucky,” or even the single word “lucky.” The connotations are positive, even though the type of luck one’s discussing is never actually specified.

Which seems like maybe a bad idea. 

It’s even a bit like one of those “leverage your synergies” business misuses of words that have most annoyed me, over the past ten years or so: using the word “quality,” unqualified, and presuming it means “high quality.”

Some regional manager of sales blathers on and one about how “This is a quality product/job/experience,” without bothering to wonder what KIND of quality. I mean, shitty quality? Mediocre quality? Quality that elicits multiple gagging noises from all the other people trapped in the conference room while the guy’s fucking Powerpoint presentation drags on and on?

This is why I refuse to watch “The Office,” by the way. My daughter keeps telling me it’s wonderful, and I keep saying, “look, if I have to spend upwards of eight hours a day in a room full of inarticulate assholes throwing ill-sharpened darts of political expediency at one another, the least I should get out of it is health insurance.”

And then she says, “What the hell are you talking about, upwards of eight hours a day? The show’s an hour long.”

And I say, “yeah, but that’s not how long it FEELS.”

She is routinely not amused. Go figure.

Meanwhile, I have been getting lucky lately. Good lucky. Lubricious lucky. And auspiciously “my editor actually kind of likes the first draft” lucky–all at the same time.

(Um… not, like, simultaneously. Just, generally within the same loose time FRAME.)

Which, hello, doesn’t suck. Hugely doesn’t suck. (okay, maybe sometimes… um…)

Yeah. This after five years of no lucky.


Take this image, and then draw a huge red circle and slash over it.)

That would be how not lucky. For five years. Well, except for that one night with the Irish guy I used to… ahem… yeah. Not going there.

(Look! Something shiny! Behind you!)

Where were we? Oh yeah. The last five years of my not-lucky…

So, time for visual aids… here’s what the last five years of my life have been like, in pictures. (Because it is 3:43 a.m. and I have been, ahem, getting lucky. The good kind.)

It started becoming like this, first:

And there had already been a lot of what felt excruciatlingly like this:

Which didn’t exactly improve.

And then the real estate market went to shit:

And meanwhile the whole marital situation was like this:

No, actually, more like this (if Elizabeth Taylor had been entirely blameless and Richard Burton had become a shrill Fox-News-Republican asshole):

Which at least made us both pretty goddamn happy when it got to this:

And then there was a lot of this:


Which sucked hugely, and didn’t make anything feel LIGHTER or anything, as you might expect.

And meanwhile I had moved 3000 miles away from a place I’d spent nine years accumulating excellent friends in, which felt like this:


Only without the boat. Or even any sled dogs, for shit’s sake.

And meanwhile I was trying to write one of these:

Which most days made me feel like this:

(Hint: I would NOT be the person pictured standing in the doorway with oven mitts on… And I watch this even less than I watch The Office. Which is to say NOT AT ALL.)

Except I would have been puking this:

So progress on the work front was pretty much this:

Which I’m sure made my edtior and agent feel like this:

Which of course helped me write better and faster. Not.

In fact, I ended up consoling myself with a lot of this:

And other fine online viewing.

Even though I was totally worried about my dwindling supplies of this:

And then I really had to finish my first draft for my lovely, long-suffering editor:

Which actually worked out, and meanwhie there has been a good bit of this lately:


Um, except for the whole “actually, one of us is NOT a chick” thing.

(And neither of us being named “Britney,” either. Thank GOD.)

So, now it’s 4:20 (heh) and I’m going to go to sleep.

Please wish me more luck. Good luck.

And as for you, dearest ‘Ratis… Got Luck?

29 thoughts on “Getting Lucky

  1. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Cornelia

    Your posts always crack me up. Huge congrats on getting your first draft done and in, and it being so much better than you thought it was – ain't that ever the case?

    Now, go sleep.

    I try not to think about luck. I have a theory that luck, like magic or happiness, disappears the more you try to analyse or search for it. And it has a massive smite factor. As soon as you start thinking, "Hey, it's my lucky day" it's the equivalent of one cop in the patrol car saying, "Boy, it sure is quiet tonight …" or the WWII RAF pilot saying, "You know, when this demmed war is over, I'm going to marry that gel of mine …"

  2. Debbie

    I'm with Zoë on luck! Seems like those with whom I've become closest with online have all had a crisis since I've come along…financial, emotional, relational. The serious kinds of crisis. Interestingly enough, I just read last night about a study being done regarding meditative work by some very prominent people in the field, and they are working on Collective Concious through the internet. So, am I sending or receiving? Either way, makes me think of Zen Shorts-The Farmer's Luck. It's not what's going on, good or bad, but how we perceive it, how we react.

  3. MJ

    Ha! Awesome post as always. I got my career and writing luck back (good because one = survival and one = sanity) when I stopped fighting the process so much. I also don't want to look at the luck too closely lest I scare it away.

    I had to comment to agree that I also cannot watch The Office. I'm sure it is a great show, but I work in an office, and enough is enough. Husband is a science nerd, and he can't watch The Big Bang Theory (which I love) for the same reason. And since I work in a law firm office, I am officially allergic to all lawyer books/movies/shows so when I hear about those I just plug my ears, go "lalalala" and walk away.

  4. PK the Bookeemonster

    "No, actually, more like this (if Elizabeth Taylor had been entirely blameless and Richard Burton had become a shrill Fox-News-Republican asshole)"
    Cornelia, why go there? I'm sorry for breaking up the fun but why go there when you insulted half of your audience by you saying that? Consider this: suppose an author in the middle of a post on a blog about books and authors had said that they support the ideas of the KKK, would that change your opinion of them? Yes. It would. It's the same hatred except that instead of the color of one's skin, they hate the beliefs of a particular set of the population. Would you write a post and then throw in the n-word?
    You can take this post away if you want but that is just wrong.

  5. Alafair Burke

    My husband hates when I chalk things up to luck, either good or bad, but damn if life doesn't manage to feel like a series of waves. Glad you're riding good ones lately.

    By the way, not to highjack the thread, but it's J.D.'s birthday today. Let's wish him a lucky one.

  6. Rae

    Great post, as usual, Miss C! And so happy that you're getting some luck of the fabulous sort.

    In general, I'd say I'm pretty lucky. Good job (at least it pays well), good friends, good health. I'd really like to bitch, but I just can't do it with a straight face 😉

    P.S. Happy birthday, Dusty!

  7. Cornelia Read

    PK, the important words there were "Shrill" and "Asshole." The political affiliation was besides the point. I would have had an equally difficult time staying married to a shrill Trotskyite Asshole, Freudian, Maoist, Future Farmer of America, Shriner fill in the blank. I have great respect for both political parties in this country, but not when members of either start screaming and blaming.

    I used to say that "the last cordial bipartisan conversation in the country seems to be happening in my kitchen." But of course you can't really converse when someone raises the volume to the point that only dogs can hear (or even understand) it.

    Debbie, I'd like to hear more about that study. Or sign up to be in it…

    MJ, I'm so in agreement with both your =s, and am so glad I'm not the only person in the world who finds The Office repugnant.

    Alafair, thank you and HAPPY BIRTHDAY JD!!!!

  8. billie

    Your posts are so great – a visual storyboard that always has me scrolling wildly to the bottom, compelled to see the next image and caption.

    I tend to think that "luck" happens when we commit ourselves to something – somehow committing emotionally and officially creates an opening to a larger "flow" – and then things start to happen. That some folks call luck. Some call it synchronicity. But I think it starts with us, making a choice to "allow."

  9. Kellee

    A visual person, I always love when you include such in your post. What a hoot!
    As someone in the medical field, I do enjoy watching a few dramas – Gray's Anatomy & the new Off the Map. But my hubby has banned me from watching House because I kept yelling at the TV. A surgeon who does cardiothorac, neuro, and general surgery? Radiation at the drop of the hat? "What?! Are you crazy? You can't do that!" Ugh.
    I'm glad you have come through your winter and seem to be heading into spring, luck wise.

  10. judy wirzberger

    Congratulations on the luck of your first draft. No blood, sweat, or tears. Just pure luck. I love it when that happens. And spring is around the corner, or ready to slide off the rooftop. That's lucky.
    And you're not getting older, JD is. That's luck for sure!

    The weather is fooling the budding trees into thinking spring has arrived here in California. I'm ready to pack a picnic basket. I'm easily fooled.

  11. JT Ellison

    And this is why we stay away from politics on Murderati….

    Cornelia, I believe in luck. I believe in karma. I believe that you treat people as you want to be treated, and give thanks every day. I also think you make your own luck – and you're doing just that!

  12. toni mcgee causey

    Oh, C, I am so with you there on The Office. Can't make myself watch it, even though my internment in an office with multiple people in cubicles was small, I still flinch at some of those memories. oy.

    I always thought of Good Luck as one of those things one shouldn't look at directly or for too long, like a solar eclipse, but maybe sort of notice it in the rearview mirror when all is said and done and it can't blind you.

    Happy birthday, Dusty!

  13. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    I'd like to see a lot more of picture #20, please.

    I made a decision last week. And the decision was that this year I would not bitch about anything. I've managed to get myself into a pretty good place, after going through a lot of shit to get here, and I want to appreciate the things I have and not bitch about the things I have not. Good luck seems to be in the air.

  14. Tom

    Ringadoo, ringaday, hooray, hooray!

    So if this means Cornelia might have her groove back, we can demand, "More! More!"

    Though only at the appropriate moment, of course.

    J.D., many happy returns of the day, with a cherry on top.

  15. Kim C

    I'm so with you on The Office. Always makes me cringe. Not my idea of entertainment.

    I don't much believe in luck, good or bad. Life is hard. To quote Dave Grohl – "no one's getting out of here alive." Some days are good, some days are bad, and sometimes an entire decade blows chunks. When one part of my life is going well, another is usually on life support. I just try to remeber that without the lows, the highs wouldn't feel so good. I don't always suceed, but as long as I have a few friends that can remind me to laugh, I figure I'm doing okay. So, I wish you (and J.D.) a slew of adreneline filled, fist pumping highs. Sounds like you're due. =)

    Happy Birthday J.D.!

  16. Reine

    Cornelia, that's the best damn autobiography I ever read. And I hate The Office. And Fox News, too. And now that they've left Tucson and freed up the phone lines we can get online for more than 24 seconds. Best of luck to ya. You totally deserve it, oh cool one.

  17. KDJames

    Cornelia, you crack me up. And then you say "five years" as if, somehow, that's a long time. 😉 I'm on that sliding scale too, from fucking-miserable to not-as-miserable to not-unhappy-exactly to things-are-actually-not-that-bad to it-feels-good-to-laugh-again to.. whatever comes next. Probably death. But lucky would be just fine with me too, if that should happen along the way. It's so good to hear you sounding happy. Carry on.

    And wishing a very happy lucky day (and year) to you, JD! Can you believe it's snowing at the beach?

  18. lil Gluckstern

    Oh, Cornelia, you've earned your luck and your present joy. Sometimes we just have to be open to it, and there it is. As usual, your posts are a visual pleasure.. Enjoy, what you all have, since you give us so much pleasure. And happy birthday!

  19. Zoë Sharp

    When you talk about The Office, is that the US or UK version, because I've never seen the US remake, but the original made me want to gouge my own eyes out very slowly with blunt spoons. I apologise to all those who find him hilarious, but Ricky Gervais just has a face I'd never get tired of kicking…

    And Happy Birthday, Dusty!

    PS loved Toni's solar eclipse take on luck ;-]

  20. Marlyn

    Well, I can't agree/disagree with you about The Office because I've never seen it. (On the other hand, I have seen that show with the talking baby and talking dog, because the kids watch it, and it always seems to last several hours…)

    I'm so glad things are going better for you! If you ever do find a purple rabbit's foot, could you pick one up for me, please? 😉

  21. Louise Ure

    Oh, you lucky dawg. Gawd. Whatever. I wish you the best. It's about time.

    And happy birthday, JD!

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