I Object to Luck

I Object (Leonardo da Vinci [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

I Object (Leonardo da Vinci [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

Write about an object.  Any object.

Sounds simple enough. What should I write about?

This morning I heard about an incredibly interesting study about success. The man behind the study, a professor at Princeton, proposed that success in art is driven by a predictable dose of good fortune.  I know, on its own not a revelation that would make the earth turn on its axis.

In fact, start anything with “studies suggest,” even a quest to identify an object to write about, and you’re likely to trigger a debate of some magnitude.  As someone who has studied for long enough, I’d like to think that studies suggest that studies are often wrong.

Anyhow, what I liked about this professor’s theory was that his conclusions were based on parallel universes – several virtual on-line words inhabited, or visited, by upwards of 30,000 real-life teenagers.  The teenagers were broken into five separate, controlled, parallels and through various forms of social media, were asked to rank 48 songs form up-and-coming and relatively obscure artists.

The punch line is likely evident: a band that was “successful” in one virtual world was not necessarily successful in another (in fact, one band was ranked number one in one world, but almost last in another). The conclusion was summarily that once you got to an acceptable standard, good fortune played an incredibly strong role from there.  In other words, it would be pretty hard for a song of low quality, both artistically and technologically speaking, to find success. To this I can relate. But at a certain level, a song had just as much potential for success as another.  Minute differentiations, through fortune one way or the other, in many ways dictated the bands success or failure in the virtual world.

So back to objects. Stuff.  Things we desire.  Articles that some of us even want to write about.

And back to my question, what do I write about? Which contours, colors, or textures should I choose to tangle with?  Is it the way something sits on a flat surface, or the way it hangs from the wall?

Or is it just a dose of good – or bad, depending on how you look at it – fortune that will compel me to write about something?  Truth is, at this point, all I can really think about is getting back to my book.  And with a good deal of luck, assuming I can get it to an acceptable standard, I may just reach a certain level of success.  Whether it’s in this universe, or another, remains to be seen.



Categories: Creative Writing, DPChallenge

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

8 replies

  1. Great post. I’m a firm believer that persistence creates this slippery thing called chance. Now get back to that book!

  2. As a teen-aged nephew of mine is fond of saying, “Whatever.” 🙂 I’m just glad you opted for getting back to your book. I tend to place studies and their findings in the same place as I do with TV and mainstream media – unless it has some relevance to a blog post. Then I’ll cite away. Kudos for tackling said object, Dominic.

  3. Interesting posting Dominic! I don’t know if it’s luck or not, but I’d like some.


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