Wednesday, February 25, 2015

May and the Single Heart by Vi Zetterwall Excerpt

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Rachel Connor is a brilliant 34-year old writer with an optimistic attitude about life. She loses her job, lives with a port wine birthmark on her face and has a pile of manuscript rejection slips on her desk. Still she hopes for better times. An opportunity to write the biography of a rich software entrepreneur appears to change her love life and fortunes around but Rachel doesn’t see the storm coming and finds herself in a no-win situation. The coin of luck falls into her hands and a very quiet man steps in to turn the tide. But can she trust him anymore than the last man who did her wrong?

This is the fifth book in Vi Zetterwall's feel-good Single Heart Series. It is a stand-alone story independent of previous or later stories in the series.

Excerpt:

Several hours later, Rachel reached her arms up above her head, stretching both her back and her neck at the same time. The article was finished. Somehow, the article had gone from what gave her hope to what caused people to spend money buying lottery tickets and back to her again. She mused that hope was far too complicated to explain in one 800 word column. But she knew her boss, Nick, wouldn’t care about limitations like that so she did it anyway. She was about to attach it and send it on to him but decided it would be more prudent to read through one more time.
She leaned back in her chair and read silently to herself.

ON THE NATURE OF HOPE
By Rachel Connor
The mailman flashed a smile at me as I approached him in the lobby. I opened my box and pulled out a handful of envelopes. Two bills, three advertisements and one letter from a publisher. I tore open the last one and read the same words I have read so often: ‘We regret to inform you that we are unable to accept your manuscript for publication at this time.’
I’m never surprised when I read that sentence. Over the last eight years I have read that same line too many times to count. Disappointed? Yes. Surprised? No. What truly surprises me is how rapidly my hope that the next publisher will shower me with money and fame, is reignited. Hundreds of consecutive rejections and yet, before I am up the stairs to my apartment, I am already mentally spending my earnings that I will make when the first publisher says YES.
So, what is up with this thing called Hope? From where does it sprout? How can it be slayed on the business field so many times and yet rise again stronger than ever? What does this Hope eat for breakfast? And how do I get my hands on that?
Last week, the Powerball lotto rose to over $200 million. The little mom and pop convenience store near my apartment had lines out the door at 5 o’clock. I am happy for them because I know they make a nickel off of each sale. And more importantly, if someone wins on a ticket bought at their store, they get a split of the winnings—really big bucks! Hey, what’s going on here? I’m hoping they win. Am I wasting some of my own hope on the other guys? On a longshot? What if I have a finite amount of hope left in me? Now, I’ve just spent some of it on someone else. Yikes, I better rethink this.
Last week, I could look out of my corner window and see the lines of ticket buyers at the store. People like you and me, lined up in the drizzle, suffering the Seattle weather’s version of raining on their parade. ‘So you want to win the big one, huh? Well, try a little of this liquid sunshine.’ The Seattle weather gods seem to take peculiar delight in punishing those who eagerly spend their hope on a 250-million-to-one longshot. They lose, of course. Every one of them. No one from Seattle has ever won a Powerball drawing. The odds are enormously stacked against every person standing in line in the rain and yet they do it gleefully.
Why? What power is so mighty that nearly certain defeat does not dissuade millions of people from trying anyway? What marketing wizardry drives people to hand over their cash for a ticket destined for the waste bin? What supernatural force compels sane, rational beings to smile as they wait in long lines for one modest snowball of a chance?
Joseph Addison said, “Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love and something to hope for.”
Humans need something to hope for. All those people braving the rain as they stand in line are there to buy a little piece of hope. If you don’t play, you can’t win. So they play and then they imagine a life of riches and mentally they spend it all between that purchase and the day of the drawing. I know, because I do it too. Sometimes with a lotto ticket, more often with my publishing submissions. And I find that when I imagine myself as a winner, I become a better person. I’m more giving, I’m more generous, I judge less and I laugh more. I become the person that I hope I can be. Without a financial care in the world, I morph into the person I know I should be anyway.
And in my quiet moments, I muse about hope and its nature. And I know in my heart that without hope, I would be rudderless, impotent, powerless to see a sunrise and smile, or view a sunset and marvel. Tomorrow is another day and I trust that resilient hope will swell in me again one more time, yet I worry that each person only has a limited amount of hope to expend. I can’t help but wonder if some day my spirit will be crushed as no new hope arises. Someone said that hope springs eternal. I hope that is true. But for now, I’ll go on hoping for the mom and pop store, or for my brother or for my mom or for all those people standing in line in the rain. I don’t know if hope is truly infinite, so all I can do is try to believe that I will continue to hope. After all, the mailman comes again tomorrow.

Not my best work, but waxing philosophical has never been my strong point, she thought. Joseph Addison, whoever he was, was correct. People need something to do. I write. It may not be what I want to write at this particular moment in time, but I’m still writing.




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