Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lucky Bastard: John Scalzi Edition

I have a not-so-secret affinity for John Scalzi, author of science fiction, procurer of sinister black velvet paintings, and a source of much amusement on the internet.

Firstly, we share a birthday, and we used to freelance for the same newspaper. Secondly, I enjoy the hell out of his books and his company, in person and online. And thirdly, he moved from SoCal to Southwest Ohio, while I did the reverse. Frankly, Ohio got the better end of that trade. California just got me and about fifty of writers-to-be-named later.

Also: cats.

Relevant to interests around these parts, he's doing 30 days of gratitude for the month of November. From his always-entertaining blog:
I’m a lucky bastard, and sometimes it annoys me when people don’t acknowledge that fact. ... What is luck? At the end of the day, it’s the good things that happen to you that you simply don’t or can’t control. Stepping away from a curb the second before a car you didn’t see barrels right over where you just were. Finding a $20 bill on the sidewalk. Stepping into a restaurant for a bite to eat and seeing an old friend you lost contact with years ago just before she steps out the door.
He goes on to lay out all the tiny occurrences that had to line up just so in order for him to have the (admittedly pretty awesome) life he has now. The chain of happenstance that led his first novel, Old Man's War, getting published is pretty crazy. But even more jaw-dropping is the unlikely sequence of chance moments that ended with him meeting his wife, Krissy. There a bonus link to the first song they danced to (spoilers: awww!).

I often reflect on how damn lucky I have been. The child of an unwed teenage mother, raised in violence and poverty, a high school dropout from the sweaty backside of the rust belt. And here I stand, a happily married, college graduate, pursuing my career of choice in a city I used to think was a pipe dream. Sure, I worked hard. But I have also been incredibly fucking lucky. And one doesn't take anything away from the other.

Putting in the work is noble and needed. It allows us to hold our heads up and sleep soundly at night. But luck plays a part in all our lives, and it's good to step back, look at how unlikely it all is, and say. "Wow. I'm really grateful things turned out this way." When you look at it that way, we're all lucky bastards.

The Thanksgiving Advent Calendar, Day 3: Luck [Whatever]

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