Sunday, March 15, 2015

How The Lottery, 3rd in the Christmas Cookie Club series, Came To Be

How The Lottery, 3rd in the Christmas Cookie Club series, Came To Be.
by Ann Pearlman 

Ann Pearlman
The economy was crashing. I was struggling as a single mom. My friends, houses underwater and incomes decreasing, fantasized about winning a lottery. Then my agent sold The Christmas Cookie Club in a three-book deal and it became an international bestseller.
I won my lottery.
Lotteries have become our chance for a way out. In our materialistic society, buying goods is fuel for the economy; we’re judged and judge ourselves partly by money and class.  So, I decided to write a sequel with the cookie club friends playing the lottery and examine the impact of wealth. 
The idea of being born under a lucky star persists. When a peer or sibling jumps ahead, we think, “How’d she get so lucky?  Why not me?”  We coax luck with magic: don’t walk under a ladder, don’t break a mirror, and wear a lucky bracelet.  Play the lottery with special numbers (birthdates, the number pocket-dialed on your cell phone) to win big.

More often we make our own fate by hard work, escalated by serendipity. Enormous luck was involved in the sale of my book.  But that doesn’t take away from years of writing dozens of hours weekly, or attending courses and workshops. 
Another kind of luck affects us all. It’s what kept me fascinated as therapist witnessing the formation of each person and the chance events that determine lives.  We’re born with talents and interests, or inabilities and difficulties.  The environment surrounds us and we’re bathed in love or abuse, sensitivity or disregard. Or the extra burden of being a minority, or an immigrant.
For women, there’s the fear of sexualized violence. Living in a college town, every decade or so a serial rapist stalks us. We’re afraid of parking structures, being alone in public. 
 As we approach adulthood, chance events impact our success and joy:  a mentor encourages talents, we get our dream job, or fall in love with the almost perfect helpmate.  
I’m awed by the vast resilience of the human spirit and how we recover and thrive in spite of horrors: rape, friends murdered, betrayal, a house fire that wipes out siblings.  These are twists of horrible luck that I’ve dealt with in my years as psychotherapist or in my own life. Positive and negative accidents craft our lives and characters. Life is unfair in both positive and negative ways.
All these threads - the positive and negative chance events in my life, selling the Christmas Cookie Club at a crucial time, my friends’ struggles --wound into my novel, The Lottery.
The Lottery
There’s the ultimate luck: the timing and way of our death. Do we have the time to satisfy our dreams? That is perhaps the most crucial question about our own lives.
Because it is as they say.  Your world is how you interpret it.  We all have enormous lucky events in our lives. The amazing fortune simply of life, breath and unique vision is a once in a forever occurrence.
You’re alive.
You’ve already won the lottery.

The Lottery is on sale from March 12-19. 

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