It’s official. I am, career-wise, the unluckiest person you know. I am not simply ‘one of the unluckiest’ or the second unluckiest, or ‘yes, that’s certainly unlucky, but I know someone who…’ unlucky. On your list of ‘People I know arranged by bad luck in their careers’ I am the undisputed leader.
You don’t believe me?
Follow this link, to a rather excellent-looking book, then come back here.
You’re back? Now, have a quick flick through my manuscript, the solid draft for my next ‘book’. Yes, the manuscript for which I have: become an orphan; abandoned my gorgeous, wonderful grandfather; compromised my career and financial autonomy; suffered depression, borderline alcoholism, near-divorce. (Okay, this is slightly exaggerated, but you know what I mean – I have suffered for my art). The manuscript which, after three long years I had only just three weeks ago said to the mister, ‘I have cracked it! I have got my story and it is nearly finished!’
It’s looking pretty good, isn’t it that manuscript? Yes. I especially love the title. You Can’t Hide in the Desert. It’s something my mum once said to me. Parts of that manuscript are excellent, no? The sharp and witty prose. The claustrophobic melancholy. The insights of a daughter reflecting on a life no different to her mother’s (“as strong and as independent and as autonomous as my mother had been, as strong and as independent and as autonomous as she had taught me to be, we had landed in the same place. Sitting on the lounge, knitting in our laps, wine glass in hand, waiting for our husbands to come home”). The individual woman’s experience painted universal.
An excellent story. Except…gah! Someone is about to publish a better one.
Now, look me in the eye (avoiding if you can, the stitched and still-slightly-bloody mess on the bridge of my nose, it’s fine it’s not hurting today though I wouldn’t say that I am looking gorgeous). And then tell me that in your career you have had a worse piece of luck.
And srsly? WTF? Moving to Adelaide? Who moves *to* Adelaide?
The goddess of careers, she is messing with my mind. It is as if she shot the arrow of fortune that was destined for me, but just as she shot, one of her kids, the one who is prone to accidents called, ‘Mum! Quick! I’m bleeding!’ and the goddess twitched as shot, leaving the arrow to graze, but not to pierce, me.
It’s fine. Really. I wouldn’t be writing this if I were still demoralised. I wouldn’t be telling you about it if I hadn’t started to laugh and if I hadn’t started to believe again that it will come. My story will come and I’ve even got a few ideas about how I can rescue it (but no, I am not going to start talking about them yet). I cannot possibly have gone through all of this and not come out with a story. Just, it’s gonna take a bit longer than I thought it was.
And in the meantime, I think that book which I linked to is going to be fascinating and I think you should all put it on your 2012 reading list. It is certainly on mine. (And no, no one paid me to write that).
PS I know I’m not really the unluckiest person you know – I mean, for a day or so I did think I was, and the only sound I could hear was the whooshing of my career as it got washed down the toilet. But I know that I’m not really. I know that far worse things happen to people in the workplace and that in the scheme of things this isn’t really a big deal. I do know that.