A few years ago, a friend of mine, a young Spanish teacher named Gia, bought tickets to an Enrique concert. She has spent much of her adult life in love with the singer, Enrique Iglesias. He is her idol, someone she compares all other men to. His is the only music she listens to; her house, her car—her life—are filled with Enrique paraphernalia. She has turned her classroom into a veritable shrine for this singer, much to her students’ amusement, filling it with posters, photos, mugs, rugs, tee shirts, candles that sport his image. She even named her son’s turtle after him.
She never misses an opportunity to attend one of his concerts especially when they are within a five-hour or less drive. One way. So when he was scheduled to be in Boston, an easy two-hour trip from her Vermont home, she was determined to go. Not wanting to go alone, however, she asked her friends and family if any of them would be willing to go with her. Few people in her life are as enamored of Enrique as she is, and since it was a busy time of year, all of them said no.
After Gia persistently pleaded, her sister-in-law, Lara, consented to go as a favor to her, comforting herself with the possibility of a nice evening out for the two of them away from the demands of their jobs and their children, where they could talk, commiserate, and have dinner at a fine restaurant before the concert.
On the evening of the momentous event, they settled themselves in their front row seats, right next to the stage. Gia willingly spent money on expensive tickets because the highlight of every Enrique concert is the moment he selects a woman from the audience, pulls her on stage with him, and sings to her. It has always been Gia’s dream to one day be that woman.
So, dressed as she always did for his concerts in a beautiful black outfit (her informal research into these lucky women indicated to her that they were always dressed in black) and armed with confidence and hope, she settled herself into her seat, ready to call out the mantra, “pick me, pick me!
As the night went on, the audience sang and swayed to their idol’s voice, applauding and shouting praise whenever he began or ended a familiar song. Finally, they reached the moment that everyone anticipated: Enrique stopped singing, and looked out over his audience ready to select that one lovely and lucky woman from among the hundreds.
He moved to the side of the stage where Gia and Lara were now standing and shouting along with the crowd.
As he came closer, Gia’s eyes widened, he looked her way, then bent down and extended his hand. It all seemed to unravel in slow motion, her idol leaning over from the stage, smiling, his hand inching toward her. She could hardly breathe as her dream of a lifetime was about to be granted.
But fate can be unkind, the gods, cruel, and as she followed his hand reaching up to take it, it veered left, away from her and toward her sister-in-law.
The singer, grasping Lara’s hand instead, pulled the startled woman up on stage.
For the next 20 minutes Enrique sang love songs to a stunned Lara, while Gia sat equally stunned in the audience, trying to make sense of how close she had come to fulfilling her dream, and how in an instant, it melted away from her.
She obeyed the first principle of making her dream a reality—by going to the concert, she showed up; she understood that she had to be “in it to win it”—but it in that one moment, no matter what else she did, it came down to a matter of luck that Enrique chose Lara and not her.
Writing Is a Matter of Luck too
In a way, writers are much like Gia.
With millions of books published each year, they do everything in their power to be noticed. They endlessly post pictures and blurbs on Facebook and Instagram, they make TikTok videos, hawking their books as the next great read, and themselves as the next great, best-selling author. They spend hours talking about their books and themselves on podcasts, even when they prefer a more private life. They give away their books to people interested mostly in obtaining something for nothing.
They do this because they are told that this is the way they might find that one powerful person, that one influencer who will see them and their book for what it is and help propel them up onto a wider stage.
They do all of this and more as it is their version of the concert mantra, pick me! pick me!
They show up and understand they need to be in it to win it.
But when the hand of the powerful influencer is finally extended, and it glides not toward their book, but the one next to it, they understand that at the end of the day, it’s all a matter of luck.
Just like an Enrique concert…
Susan Speranza was born in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and for a time worked in Manhattan, enjoying the hectic pace and cultural amenities of the City. Eventually, however, she grew tired of it and exchanged the urban/suburban jungle for the peace and quiet of rural Vermont living. In addition to her latest release, ICE OUT: A Novel, she authored two other books: The City of Light, a dystopian story about the end of western civilization, and The Tale of Lucia Grandi, The Early Years, a novel about a dysfunctional suburban family. She has also published numerous articles, poems, and short stories. Along the way, she managed to collect a couple of master’s degrees. When she is not writing, she keeps herself busy exhibiting and breeding her champion Pekingese.