Last week my astrological guru Moonology.com offered up words for Sagittarians to the effect not taking a risk is scarier than taking a risk… Risk hadn’t been on my mind. Chance had. I was considering as I do writing a short story for the Australian Country Style Magazine’s 2013 competition, “referencing directly or obliquely, the idea of ‘chance’”.
I commented on Dianne Gray’s post ideas on ideas how for the first time writing inspiration came to me via a dream. Let me it put it another way. For the first time I considered something I dreamt as writing inspiration. Previously I wrote a short story about not a dream, recounting the events where I was asleep and my then husband morphed into a werewolf beside me in bed. It wasn’t a dream. It did happen. That it occurred annually three times, and the two subsequent times my other sleeping companion, Baddy Cat, stood guard… gives the it was real argument weight.
This dream which was a dream worked hard to convince me what it had to tell was inspiring rather than annoying. Three times I extricated myself from its grip. Three times it dragged me back. Over Sunday morning coffee, I told the G.O. “I had the worst dream last night. It felt awfuI. It wouldn’t let me go”. As I recounted the dream, I felt my gut wrenching over again. I asked “Why would I dream something like that? God forbid it ever happens. What chance would we have?”… as realisation dawned.
Within 24 hours I had the story written. Working title Between a Rock and a Hard Place is incubating on a memory stick. In a few weeks I’ll look at it to review grammar, punctuation and ending. Although I knew straight up the story I would write for the 2012 ACS competition, it took weeks to come together. Thanks to the dream and maybe the benefit of a year of writing blog posts, 2013 story was no challenge at all. Short story due at the end of April done and dusted in February. Might have to write another.
The horoscope rattled the bones of risk. Despite the many conversations the G.O. & I have about our dreams and plans, risk is a word unspoken, irrelevant. Our latest conversation was along of the lines of it will be time to get out of our comfort zone, and back ourselves. To read the word risk even loosely in the context of possibilities of my life was intriguing.
Curious about the juxtaposition of chance and risk I consulted an online dictionary.
Risk: exposure to the chance of injury or loss; a hazard or dangerous chance.
1. the absence of any cause of events that can be predicted, understood, or controlled: often personified or treated as a positive agency: Chance governs all.
2. luck or fortune: a game of chance.
3. a possibility or probability of anything happening: a fifty-percent chance of success.
4. an opportune or favourable time; opportunity: Now is your chance.
Those words… “Chance governs all”… Risk is exposure to chance. Do I risk taking a chance? Do I chance not taking a risk? How much say do I have in chance or risk? If chance governs all, chance governs me. It appears risk is the silent partner of chance.
The title of this post is a quote I recollected from… somewhere. Google searching, I found it derives from “Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it’s cracked up to be. That’s why people are so cynical about it. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.” Erica Jong, Fear of Flying.
Fear of Flying according to Goodreads was “Originally published in 1973, the ground-breaking, uninhibited story of Isadora Wing and her desire to fly free caused a national sensation”. I didn’t read it in 1973 – I was 7 going on 8 years old. I read Fear of Flying a decade or so later in my 20’s. It apparently had negligible effect as while I recognised by author & title I had read it, I couldn’t recall the content. The Wiki article “In this humorous novel, Erica Mann Jong coined the term “zipless fuck” ” gave me slight context. Yesterday’s sensation, today’s ho hum?
I’m not a gambler. No casino or poker machine for me. I’m an unenthusiastic card player. Rather in hindsight, by knowing my form, the state of play, backing myself or being blindly optimistic, it appears life’s game of chance has been my arena. I’ve won and lost, and there are several hands I wish I could play again, experience stacking the odds in my favour. But, I’ve always felt lucky.
Is yesterday’s risk today’s ho hum?