Lucky Number 13

This is cross-posted from my Tumblr. I wrote it on Wednesday, hovering between wild hope and worry.


Now it is Friday the 13th, and seems all the more apt to repeat:


I’ve been reading Hobart 13 – the theme of which is luck. Stories and essays on being unlucky or lucky, or simply dismissing luck altogether.


Do I believe in luck? In theory, no. But in practice, principles of rationality get a little blurry. The idea of luck is, as Jac Jemc mentions in this issue, something of a matter of faith and/or trust: if you have faith in a higher power, or in other people, then it’s hard to shake the feeling that when things go well, that it’s not entirely your doing.


So, this is a brooch that I bought for my wedding. A wedding being, as anyone who has watched Doctor Who knows, a time of liminality, a time when one is betwixt and between states. Strange things can happen.


I wore this brooch on my silver wedding dress (actually an old cocktail dress of mine). On the way over to the wedding, one of my guests told me afterwards, she had seen a dragonfly skimming about – this is not entirely common in the north west of Scotland at that time of year (September) when dragonflies might have expected to have died off.


I think of the brooch as lucky because I wore it on the wedding day. I think of it as lucky because I haven’t lost it yet, as I lose most things.


I’m going to wear it today, and see if it has any effect. If nothing else, it’s terribly pretty, is it not? And that might be enough to buoy my spirits through the tough times that may come.



So I took that little brooch along on Wednesday when I met my agent to discuss my first book and how it is fairing the seas of submission. But there was no news there; she was seeing someone the following day. Ah, I said. We had a lovely evening eating far too much Vietnamese food and discussing bookish things and me talking about the city and its gruesome history (oh so much gruesomeness) and then I took the brooch home.


Today, Friday the 13th, I met up with her again to hear what had happened – taking with me the brooch and a copy of Hobart 13 (since I knew I was probably going to be early, and wanted to read it. Something to steady the nerves. I enjoyed so much of it, perhaps because the notion of luck is and was still very much on my mind).


So is it good luck or bad luck that there is still no definite news on Kilea?


There is the London Book Fair, beginning on Monday, and hopefully more news a little after then. Or perhaps in a little while more. Right now, I don’t know.


What does feel lucky is how strongly my agent cares about the book. How determined she is to put it in the right hands.


I am lucky to know her. I am lucky, too, to have D. supporting me in the edits of the next book. To have my parents and in-laws helping us out in this terrible economy. To be home in Scotland, where I feel much freer to write and to try to participate in the literary culture here – and online.


I am lucky to have so many people here coming to read or to look at pictures of the city, of the landscape. People who are kind enough to comment (even though, in the past few days, I haven’t been in a sound place to respond properly. I will be better!). You’ve kept me going for months, really. You’ve helped me reach out to others, to the readers and the writers, to feel like I have a right to speak about my writing, about the books I love, about the everyday beauty my camera captures, because that’s just what you do.


I’m lucky to have books to read, and people all over to talk about them with. I am lucky because I can keep writing. I am lucky because I love words, and you do too.


Are you lucky? Do you believe in fate, destiny, kismet?


Is luck something you keep, or keeps you?




Filed under 2012, art, celebration, consolations of reading, consolations of writing, Edinburgh, The Now

12 responses to “Lucky Number 13

  1. LauraMaylene

    I’m so nervous for just hearing about your agent submitting your book!

    I wouldn’t say I believe in luck, exactly, but I tend to be a lucky person in certain matters (as in, getting my name drawn during raffles, stuff like that) and I do appreciate a good token like that gorgeous dragonfly pin. Whether it’s for luck or just a comfort, it’s good all the same.

  2. CJ

    I have two dragonfly pins on my everyday jacket–one from my best male friend who died of aids in the early nineties before the hope of sustaining drugs, and the other a gift as well, from one of the most loving women I have ever known. I believe in the comfort of talismans and the generosity of like minds. I believe in the fragility of existence and the love of friends.

    I’ve never had much luck if luck is success but I’ve had and have the faith and support of loved ones.

  3. I am a dragonfly lover also, and your brooch is beautiful.
    I have an ability to find four leaf clovers by the dozens, (not all at once!) and even though in principle I don’t believe in luck there is something about finding them…

    I picture Kilea in my hands, open, ready to be devoured. It will happen.
    I will find a clover as soon as they arrive.

  4. macdougalstreetbaby

    Beautiful post. I don’t believe in luck but I most certainly believe in karma. You send off lovely vibrations and I’d bet the whole pot a whole slew are on their way right back to you.

  5. I can’t say that I believe in Luck, but I do believe in Hope. I think it can sustain us through rough times, lift our perspectives so that we see the good in things and circumstances. I’ve read in several places over the years that we, as human animals, are hard-wired to see patterns in events, no matter how small or grand, and that recognition of patternicity has changed over our eons of life into something that helps us survive, literally, and sustains our spirits in less dangerous times.

    And I am with Karen…I can imagine the day when I’m reading your Kilea…and CJ’s memoir, also…I can almost feel the weight in my hands and the pleasure they evoke in my heart with their reading. I don’t know that luck will make those things happen, but I do believe they will.

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