Are Writers Superstitious?

I never thought of myself as superstitious. Pre-writing, I was a fairly rational person, and would have walked right under a ladder with a broken mirror just to prove otherwise.

Post-writing, however, the slope got slippery and now I’m one step away from not changing my underwear, leaping down sidewalks to avoid cracks and hanging a dream catcher on my rearview mirror to ward off bad juju. It all started with the Yankees, but it’s such an irrational story, I’m afraid I can’t go into it. It would be bad luck.

See what I’ve become?

Take these lovebirds that reside in a saguaro in our yard. For months I’ve been tossing them carbohydrates, acting like Tony Soprano with those ducks in his pool, relying on their appearance. Lovebirds are a wonderful omen. I was happy. Tony was happy. And I thought the lovebirds were happy. Good luck was flowing in abundance. Every morning I’d be out there in my robe, ready to dive into a pool of cactus needles just to see my bird family, throwing half eaten bagels at them. They’re wicked smart though. It didn’t take ‘em long to notice Arizonians can’t make a decent bagel. So I switched to stale bread and Ritz crackers. I was one step away from buying Bird Fancy Feast at a pet store, then one day — nothing. No goodbye. No ‘Keep your doughy bagels, we’re movin’ to Jersey’ sign. It was like the kiss of death.

Then BADA BING! They came back a few days ago, right around Easter:

It’s all about the family, Carmela.

This can only mean one thing . . .   My manuscript will finally land an agent. A leap, you say? I hardly think so. I have my lucky Yankees cap on and I won’t take it off until 100 rejections. And when that day comes, I will immediately burn the hat, go bald and start rooting for the Red Sox. (Okay, fairly bald and by rooting for the Red Sox I actually mean rooting around looking for that one missing sock, which used to be white but was washed too many times with solid colors and is now vaguely red.)

Writers aren’t the sanest group of people, so even if writing doesn’t make you superstitious, submissions will. Too many hours alone, pounding away in a bubble without the least bit of reassurance, besides your paid-off family invested in your sanity. It’s in their interest to keep you well enough to go grocery shopping, cook a meal or two and shower from time to time. But there’s no tap on the window for a thumbs up, or cake in the employee lounge with a Great Job scrolled in silver icing. So bring on the four-leaf clovers and horseshoes.

If I was allowed to dress myself without fear of retribution, I’d be wearing my lucky boots, my lucky cap, listening to Johnny Cash with fingers crossed, legs crossed, crossed-eyed. It’d be a hard way to get around. People would be directing me to the bathroom, calling for a chiropractor, then hailing me as the next great yoga master.

But what really sealed the deal was my fortune cookie yesterday:


Do you know what this means? Obviously storms means “losing my dignity” and sail means “things are gonna happen”. Oh yeah. Big, big things. I know this is a sign and in no way did 20 people this week at the same restaurant get this fortune. No siree!

So is it just Tony Soprano and me with our birdbrains? Or does superstition come with the territory?


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