As an actor, I never pay attention to reviews. I don’t read them. I don’t really care. Praise is nice, but I don’t perform for praise. I perform for myself. I know when I am “there” and when I am not. Besides, it is easier and more entertaining to write an insult than it is to write praise, and insults do nothing constructive. From what I am told, most of the reviews I have received have been positive–but I would be the last to know and the least concerned. And if I don’t read them, then they can only exist in my mind as generous and full of adulation.

I rarely enter contests of any type. I don’t like to lose, and I don’t like to bet — particularly when I cannot comfortably afford defeat. As a kid, I lived in Las Vegas. I was surrounded by gamblers and knew more than one sad tale of a life lost on a roll of the dice or a flip of a card.

I never understood the addiction to gambling. The wheels, the lights, the flashes, the smoke, the praying for luck, none of it ever made any sense to me and never had any appeal.

I gamble enough on the choices I have made in my life, and I have rolled a hard game. I have gone hungry far too often as it is without throwing away my limited finances by betting against the house.

However, I do on odd occasions play the lottery. When a jackpot climbs above $250 million, I tug a recalcitrant dollar out of my wallet (Oh, yes, it screams as it exits) and I buy a quick pick. Typically, I don’t play any particular numbers. If you’re going to bet that a comet is going to land on your head, it seems a futile effort to describe the color of its tail before it plows into you.

It hasn’t been unusual for me to not check on the lottery results for weeks and even months after the draw (and even not at all). In fact, that’s the norm. I like holding onto the dream that I might actually win something, rather than face the certainty of having lost. It is the illusion of hope that I cling to — not actual hope. It is enough for me that a whisper of hope can be bought, and I try to let that dream last as long as I can.

Really, what else is there in life for us to hold onto but love and hope?

Back in 2011, I entered a writing contest. I don’t think I’ve entered a writing contest since I was in high school. That was sometime during the Paleolithic era I believe. We were using stone tools at the time. We did know about flint though.

I used to win every writing contest I entered. I couldn’t get published, but boy I sure could win writing contests. That used to annoy me. So, I stopped entering contests. And I stopped submitting for publication. The drawer with the rejection slips had more pages than my stories.

But I digress.

I never heard anything about the 2011 writing contest. I didn’t bother to check on it. I entered it hoping to win some money that would allow me to live while I wrote. Once more, letting hope last, I didn’t look for the results of the contest. Besides, I figured if I’d won anything then I’d get a notice. Some fat check would appear clogging up my mailbox with the volume of money it represented, and the paparazzi flashing their cameras would blind me with my own brilliance. Otherwise, if I didn’t hear anything, then it wasn’t worth knowing about to begin with. Nothing lost. And the dream lived on.

I am writing a series of novels in the vein of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time epic (meaning it is a fantasy, it is lengthy, and it goes on over many volumes). I began the project in 2010 and am finishing the third volume now. In the coming months, I will be doing polish edits and rewrites for several chapters within the current 3 volumes, which I envision as the opening sequence to a 9 volume series.

I entered the prologue and the first chapter or two of the first volume in the 2011 William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition.

I really could use the prize money to finish this project. Alas, I did not win.

However, it has just come to my attention that my entry made the Short List of Finalists in the Novel-In-Progress Category.

Well … whadda ya know?

BECOME AN APPRENTICE! Click FOLLOW on the right of your screen to stay tuned for updates and for exclusive material on Marc Royston’s A Wizard’s Life, an epic adult fantasy soon to be released as a serialized novel.

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