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Lucky Number 13

by Barbara Wood last modified Dec 04, 2007 04:49

As this is the thirteenth entry in the Blog of my newly upgraded, refurbished, re-designed, updated, modernized and beautified website (thank you Sharon, Carlos and Johnny!) I thought an exploration of “luck” was in order.

What exactly is luck?  The dictionary defines it as “a force that seems to work for good or ill in a person’s life, as in shaping circumstances, events or opportunities.”  Okay, something invisible, beyond our control, and that we hope will be on our side.  While doing research for my latest novel about the Mayans, Woman Of A Thousand Secrets, I found luck at every turn because the Mesoamericans (Aztecs, Toltecs, etc) were obsessed with good luck and tried to surround themselves with it as much as possible (the number 13 was so lucky to the Mayans that pregnant women induced labor on dates that contained the number 13).

But is luck truly just an invisible force that we hope comes our way?  Another definition I once heard says that luck is another word for “effort.”  It means enduring hardships and long nights of work and keeping appointments.  A few years ago, a friend of mine was eager to get a plum job and was sure it was his when he went for the interview and found only one other applicant going for the position.  To my friend’s shock, the other guy got it.  “Lucky stiff,” my friend said bitterly.  I did not point out that the “lucky” guy had shaved, dressed appropriately and got to the meeting on time, which my friend had not.

So is good luck something that just happens, or is it something we have to create?  Maybe it’s a combination of both.  But however we view luck, we all want to be the lucky ones.  And I wasn’t aware of how lucky I was until I was able to quit my job at Santa Monica Hospital and stay at home to be a full time writer.  As my mother said to her friends, “Barbara’s lucky.  She doesn’t have to work any more – she’s a writer.”

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