You are desperate. You have looked for a job for months and found nothing. You called all your friends and family, searched job sites, applied at the unemployment office and still…nothing. You pray. You pray hard. “God please.” The baby suddenly cries and you realize you are out of milk. At the grocery store, you run into an old friend you have not seen in years. You chat about old times and life and mention your job situation and he tells you that he recently just spoke to someone who told him of a job that is perfect for you. It is exactly what you love to do. It is in your field and you are qualified. Furthermore, it pays more than you have ever earned and has benefits twice as good as your previous job. You can hardly believe it. If the baby had not cried right then, you would have missed this connection. Wow.
You are overjoyed. You call the contact. It turns out to be a guy you know from school. You shoot the breeze and he invites you in for an interview. The interview goes swell. The second interview happens to be with a woman you met the previous year at a convention. The coincidence is mind boggling. She loves you. “You’ll be great in this position. I’ll call you in three days.”
Three days pass. Nothing. You call. They decided to eliminate the position to save money. Or worse, they decided to hire someone else. You are in the exact same situation as you were before, but now there is a tinge of pain.
“Serendipity,” noun-a chance meeting that leads to something good. “Errendipity,” noun-a chance meeting, occurrence or coincidence, thought to be something good, positive or lucky, that leads… to nothing.” Serendipity is based on an old Persian word for Sri Lanka: Sarendip. Perhaps its slight antithesis should be some unreal or imaginary place-like a mirage. Maybe the word should be “Mirageny” or “Miragenous”-when something you want appears suddenly and unexpectedly in your hand, then vanishes.
The home team is down by one point. Two seconds remain in the game. The press is on. The crowd screams. Your teammate snatches the in-bound ball and passes quickly to you at mid-court. You pivot. You jump. You shoot in milliseconds. Just before the buzzer. The ball arcs in slow-motion straight for the basket. The crowd holds its breath. It looks good. Your heart wants out of your body. The ball hits the rim. Bangs the board. Then the rim again…loops around…and around… and around…and… falls… out. Yes, out, not in. You lose! It was close though. So close. But you lose.
That situation calls for another word we need to create. It is not the same as “Errendipity” or “Mirageny.” Answers to prayers are called miracles. What is the opposite of a miracle? The definition of miracle is “a wonderful occurrence oft attributed to supernatural powers.” What would be an occurrence that appears miraculous, but turns out to be nothing? How about a “Nearacle” -almost a miracle? Or maybe “Miracal”-it looks like a miracle at first glace, but is not. Nearacles produce situations in which people sigh in disappointment. “Sighful” situations. Or maybe something like the opposite of awesome…”Naahsome.”
Life, of course, is full of such Naahsome, Errendipitous, Miragenous Nearacles. When you are trying to make it in Hollywood, exponentially so-the producer that was wild over your screenplay gets fired. The exec that green-lighted your film changes her mind. The label says you cannot do your favorite song. The star you were banking on becomes unavailable. A film similar to yours does bad boxoffice. The star who turned down the role you later booked decides she will do the part after all. Test audiences go boo-no release. Your script sticks in development. Turnaround. They do not renew the option. The suits do not like your rewrite. The label promotes another artist ahead of you again. The financing falls through. It rains in Spain on the plain and the price of rice in China goes through the roof.
The motivational speaker Les Brown says this: “A dream can be nurtured over years and years and then flourish rapidly. Be patient. It will happen for you. Sooner or later, life will get weary of beating on you and holding the door shut on you, and then it will let you in and throw you a real party.”
Les is probably right. But in the meantime, why not learn to thank God for our Nearacles and accept that they too are all part of the gift of life. They are certainly fixtures on the road to your dreams-especially if those dreams include making it in Hollywood.
Update 3/7/2013: (The 2nd edition of What I Wish I Knew Before I Moved to Hollywood available now exclusively on Kindle for only $4.99. Get yours now. Click here. Kindle e-books can be read on I-phone, I-pod, I-pad, Android, Mac and PC with the free Kindle App.)