I got a “Winners Announced” email the other day.

You know that feeling, right? When you hastily click on it, frantically scan the list. And slowly realize your name isn’t there. So you delete the email with a particularly painful stab of the finger.

It makes me reflect on the theories of Belief. There’s one that says if I believe, or so I’m told, all things are possible. Just assure myself it’s real and it will be. You know – that New Age stuff.

So where exactly does that differ from the kids laying in the field, believing that the space ship on Star Trek is about to beam them up to a new galaxy? (Note: Not that I ever did that.) I mean, real belief also includes that crazy guy at college who absolutely knew the government filled the airwaves with neurons to brainwash us all. And what about the frat guy at the cafeteria who deeply believed John Belushi in Animal House pointed the way to political success?

I want to believe my writing is the best – that I’m about to be ‘discovered’, about to make more cash than Fifty Shades of Gray. Except in a YA sort of way. A better allegory might be Harry Potter – but somehow that success story seems much more likely in England. Something to do with British Rail.

I’ve tried visualizing. I’ve tried mantras. The bank balance hasn’t noticeably changed.

Then, while staring at that balance online, I suddenly recall my Aunt Jake’s words. “Faith is not about the world you see changing before your eyes. It’s realizing how truly narrow your own point of view is, how clouded things are by your personal fears and doubts. And that maybe, just maybe, no matter how you believe it all came about, it’s exactly the way it’s supposed to be.

“Reflect on that every day – and your life really will change.”

What if the key to being a writer – or actor, artist, musician — is not measured in cash or accolades? What if the true yardstick is connecting with an audience? Reaching just a few people. If your work moves someone, somewhere, even a tiny bit … mission accomplished.

Now that I can believe.

 

A week later, I get another email from that same group. This time reminding us that the winners haven’t been announced yet, so please be careful with the information. Now that’s just dumb, I think to myself. Why tell the losers if you want to keep it secret …

Frantically I click on the link again. This time I’ll check that winner list thoroughly.

Because there is that other possibility, after all. You’re so sure you can’t win, you fail to see it when you actually do.

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