by Julia Buckley
Somehow a herd of elephants has gathered on the top of my computer monitor. I did not really seek them out, but one by one they appeared there, most likely because I read that elephants, as superstition would have it, are lucky. The fellow pictured here is a remnant from a toy circus train that belonged to my sons. I'm not normally sentimental about toys, and vast quantities of them have been sent out in bags and boxes to please children elsewhere. But this elephant stayed, because he has an important feature: a raised trunk. According to this website, the elephant is one of many popular good luck charms which transcend time and culture. The elephant's connection to good luck goes back to the Hindu god Ganesha, who is called The Remover of Obstacles. The elephant as a good luck symbol has become popular in North America and Europe.
According to legend, it is only the elephant with the raised trunk who is lucky. I didn't know that when I bought this big-eared fellow at a toy store. I find him lucky anyway. His tiny friend was supposed to be a good luck charm for my son on his first day of school; I learned instead that my son is neither superstitious nor sentimental. I reclaimed the tiny elephant from the floor where it ended up, and on the computer it went. :)
The purple elephant is a souvenir of my first and only Bouchercon; Jess Lourey and I were strolling the street bazaar in Madison, Wisconsin, and we came across these whimsical little creatures. I purchased one for me and one for her--do you still have your elephant, Jess?
I'm fairly certain, though, that it is not only I who indulges in good luck charms; ever since I found a four-leaf clover in the grass of my back yard as a little girl, I've connected the notion of the charm to the idea of fate. My friend Kathi, a YA writer, lights candles before she writes and says a prayer to the goddess of creativity. Certain trinkets in her office are symbolic of fruitfulness and success. Without her symbols and her ritual, she feels she would be less in tune with her creative self. (Her first novel, Shattered, came out last year).
There are many talented writers out there who still believe, I am convinced, that a little bit of luck is all they need to get that talent noticed by the right people. So my question to our audience of writers and readers is--what are your good luck charms? And on what do you rely to channel the creative spirit?