My art school classmates know that I have a grand plan for post-graduation: buy a large tenement and convert it to artist’s apartments and studios, including a wonderful gallery space, a store for our handmade crafts, and room for all of us to stay together FOREVER. Making art in isolation is depressing, and we have developed a good working dynamic among ourselves that is supportive, yet honest, and owes a lot to our Department Chairman, David Shirey, who insisted we really get to know one another.
The only problem with my plan? I’m short about $12 million dollars. So… I’ve taken to saying that after I win the lottery I will proceed with our art Borg colony cult project.
Well, this morning I won the lottery. $28. And clearly I need to be a little more specific about what I mean when I say I need to win the lottery. If I won $60 million, the current value would be about $37 million, and then I would owe at least half in taxes, which would leave me with about $15 million (which includes a 25% cushion for cost overruns on the $12 million project).
For the year I have won $32 dollars. Which leaves me only $11,999,968 to go. Don’t ask me how much I have spent on lottery tickets. THAT’S NOT HOW THE LOTTERY WORKS. In order to play the lottery successfully, every time you buy a ticket and say goodbye to your dollar, you must silently tell yourself that that specific dollar was about to be ripped out of your hand by a strong wind and blown down into the subway, through the sidewalk grates, to land on the third rail. You can’t net out wins and losses. Everything you pay out to buy lottery tickets must be considered found money. Therefore your winnings are pure profit.
Artists: forget about the cost of your materials. Forget that you desperately need to sell SOMETHING. Forget the uncertainty that waits just around the corner (like at graduation). Ignore logic and believe in yourself. Whatever you’re hoping for, it can happen.
I know that my chances of ending up with $12 million are terrible. Miserable. Almost, BUT NOT QUITE, zero.
“Hope” is the thing with feathers-
That perches in the soul-
And sings the tune without the words-
And never stops-at all-
And sweetest-in the Gale-is heard-
And sore must be the storm-
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm-
I’ve heard it on the chillest land-
And on the strangest Sea-
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb-of Me.
– Emily Dickinson, #254
Hope is what carries us when the odds and the facts are against us. It’s free and yet so valuable. Today might be the day the world is full of magic.