This blog needs to be about the bizarre experience of being ‘Freshly Pressed’, doesn’t it? It’s the blog that follows, so…
I got the email telling me all about it just as I was scolding my children for running in the house. Well, it’s dangerous right? All those corners, not to mention discarded lego buildings and Barbie dolls lurking on the floor waiting to trip them, break their necks. Then I opened my email. My ‘Whoopeee!’ stopped them in their tracks way more effectively than any amount of yelling had done; I’ll remember that.
(As I write, they’re screaming angrily in each others’ faces over who gets to hold a pink balloon. I would intervene, like I have done all day, but I know the desire to pop the bloody thing would be overwhelming. So, I’ll sit here and write, let them get on with it and see who comes out on top. My money’s on chunky Miss Two. It’s the long summer holidays here in New Zealand and school doesn’t start for another week and a half; they’re sick of each other.)
Anyway, Freshly Pressed… It was a real honour, and a big THANK YOU to anyone who clicked on ‘like’ or ‘follow’ or left some feedback – I’m massively grateful for the time you took to do that. I was particularly honoured because I was wedged in between two excellent responses to the same weekly writing challenge that I’d engaged in. I’d ‘liked’ Mary J Melange’s story when she first posted it. It’s so touching and compelling it made me wish there was a ‘love’ button. Also, the sassy verve of themagzee’s story was lovely to read. And mine was in between them? Wow!
My iphone (I’m an unashamed Apple girl), tinkles prettily whenever I get a response for a blog post via the WordPress app. That night I intended to stay up all night to hear the first tinkle. I watched Derren Brown on YouTube and TV On Demand in bed, drinking strong sweet tea, but that was my mistake. It didn’t happen till 6am NZ time and rudely woke me up just moments before my phone battery died. Dammit.
I’m a huge fan of Derren Brown. I think it’s his calm intelligence I love to watch and the warmth he has with people. One of the Derren Brown programmes I watched that night really resonated with the experience of being Freshly Pressed, as well as the whole journey I’d taken writing my short story ‘The Eunuch’. I’ll explain:
It was the last episode of Derren Brown: The Experiments. It was about Luck. They planted a statue of a dog in a village and spread the rumour that it was lucky to pet the statue – that it was a ‘lucky dog’. They chose several people to follow in a fake documentary, and one of those people was an amiable but fatalistic local butcher called Wayne. ‘I’m just not lucky’, he said. ‘My brother has all the luck.’ Derren Brown’s premise throughout the programme was that ‘luck’ was made by a positive outlook and taking opportunities when presented with them. To demonstrate that Wayne was merely missing such opportunities, they fixed him up with a winning scratch card which he failed to scratch. Then the chance of a free twenty pounds just for answering questions about cuts of beef, which he hadn’t time to participate in. Finally they left a fifty pound note under a stone right in his path. He failed to see it and walked right past. His shoulders were hunched, his eyes were down, he didn’t win anything so why bother?
Later, Derren Brown showed him the video of these events. When Wayne saw how he’d passed up the opportunity to be ‘lucky’ so many times, something inside him shifted. To cut a long and moving story short, in a climax to the programme, Wayne ended up betting his life savings on a throw of a dice. He won.
Those pretty tinkles on my iphone have finally trailed off now and I find I have time to breath and catch up with myself; write a blog. Being Freshly Pressed has meant many more views, and many more readers. It has been fantastic – really. More importantly though, I’ve learnt something this week. I’m no gambler, but I’ll be looking out for more opportunities from now on – help more, listen more – and I’ll be taking more risks. Sometimes, it’s really lucky.