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Fortune Favors the Bold

by Lori Van Aken 7 months ago in success

A Memoir

My little "black" book

Fortune favors the bold…or so they say. And who, exactly, are “THEY”, anyway? Have you ever wondered that? Like, who are “THEY” and what makes them so smart? And man, do “THEY” have a lot to say! Fortune favors the bold. From the Latin, “Audentis fortuna iuvat.” ~Virgil.

Although, to be fair, this is merely one of about ten or more ways to interpret this quote. In my case, it was just one more quote, or random thought, or piece of advice, or 3 a.m. epiphany for my little black book. Google “little black book.” I dare you. You will get some interesting and perhaps unsavory tidbits of information. My little black book? The little black book that goes everywhere with me…it is a collection of, well…EVERYTHING! Passwords…to do lists…what (or who!) NOT to do lists…bucket lists…shopping lists…restaurants to try, places to visit, I-Tune songs to buy, instructions on how to facilitate a ZOOM meeting or access my 5 work e-mail accounts…and BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. ..

The current little black book is essential to my EXISTENCE…the very core of my being. The blueprint of my BRAIN. An appendage, not unlike my cell phone-if it is ever misplaced or accidentally left behind PANIC sets in, and it becomes the supreme focus of the Universe. The entire UNIVERSE, man. I have no other thoughts except where is it...WHERE IS IT??? FIND IT!! And when I do…and I always do…WHEW! Oh Mylanta, the relief that washes over me is palpable. Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU! I am SAVED!! I want to shout it from the rooftops...oh, sorry, tall, dark, and handsome stranger sitting across the aisle, did I say that out loud?? Yes. I know. A tad dramatic, yet wholly apropos. And now he’s looking at me...and I give him a knowing, half-smile, half-smirk and sexy sideward glance...

The current iteration is not even BLACK, it is orange. ORANGE! Before that, it was pink. I am already nearly out of pages so its’ replacement sits on my shelf, at the ready, petulant and sassy with her red cover, dreaming of possibility...Needless to say, and I will spare you the boring details, suffice it to say that it is one in a long line of many…kind of like my dating life. Let us just say that I am 48 and had my first little black book at age 15…so, you do the math. The first one was, indeed, actually, black. It was not that little though, it was more like a spiral notebook, but hey, you get the idea, you are smart people.

As I sit in my comfortable business class seat on the Amtrak Empire Service train, alternately staring out the window and sneaking furtive glances at the tall, dark, and handsome stranger sitting across the aisle from me, mesmerized by the shiny, sinewy Hudson River shimmering to my right, West Point flashes by, and I am contemplating my fortunes (or lack thereof, until very recently, of course).

My little black book…Oh the secrets she knows. She contains my hopes, my dreams, my musings… (ok, ok…sometimes ramblings…!) To anyone who may have seen her, who may have gazed upon her well-worn, vibrant pages, filled with feverish clusters of letters, numbers, symbols, and drawings, meaningless. Meaningless to all but me. She is the essence of my core.

It is an unremarkable object, my little black book. An ordinary object that if one finds, they may perhaps pick it up and idly leaf through its pages, only to be quickly disappointed and to immediately put it back from whence it came. To me, it is one of my most prized possessions, if not THE MOST prized.

I am a writer. An artist. A healer. A creator. I am full of aspirations and, yes, dear reader, words…Words that will coalesce into a story, a story that people will actually want to READ and will PAY MONEY to read...the blueprint of the inner workings of my mind. I am verbose...(you don't say...!) A self-proclaimed wordsmith. And this is how it all started. With a little black book and every color of pen and pencil known to humankind. Years of practice, reams of writing, countless little black books and finally...FINALLY…a publisher. A PUBLISHER. OF BOOKS! Who has read my memoir and paid me a $20,000 advance to share my story, which, as I said, is the blueprint of my brain…

So I sit, looking out the train window, wondering about the people and houses and cars that pass by, I wonder who they are and what they are up to. I feel the warm sun on my face and am basking in the thought that my efforts have finally come to fruition…such keen optimism and a very bright future. I am feeling an odd combination of joy, hope, and an almost giddy sense of exuberant optimism, tempered with anxiety, fear, and a little bit of nausea, as I am on my way to New York City. A place near and dear to my heart, its’ vibrancy speaks to my soul. New York City...the city that never sleeps (and, quite honestly, lately, neither do I!) meet with my new PUBLISHER! Instead of the familiar trek from Penn Station to the usual hotel on West 34th Street, I am being met by a PERSONAL ASSISTANT (!) who will take me to my fancy hotel, and then to my fancy dinner meeting with my PUBLISHER at a very fine dining establishment…it IS, after all, the BIG APPLE, so why not take a bite?

I always knew that I had a story to tell, an interesting story about my life. Every time that I have ever told the story, people stop what they are doing and listen. They stare. Slack-jawed. Mesmerized.

They say fortune favors the bold.


Maybe this time...they are right.


Lori Van Aken

I’m a mother trucker nurse educator and lifelong student with aspirations to write at least 2 books: a memoir & a book on nursing care of women in labor & delivery. I’m fascinated by people and am a bottomless pit of both energy & optimism!

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