There's something missing in the literary world that is prevalent in the performing arts. That is a unique way to wish an artist good luck.
For various reasons theatre, dance, and opera all have their special way of wishing someone good luck—or, because it is bad luck to wish someone good luck, wishing them bad luck as a way of fooling the Fates.
In theatre, we say "break a leg." There are a thousand stories about the origin of the saying, so take your pick as to which one you like.
In ballet, they say "merde," which is French for "shit." Having known my fair share of dancers, I'm surprised they don't say "chienne." God knows they call each other bitches enough during rehearsals.
In opera, Wikipedia tells me that they say "Toi, Toi, Toi." They'll also knock wood and spit—or pretend to.
But we writers have nothing. What do we say to a fellow scribe who says, "My manuscript is going out to editors today," or "My agent is reading my next book"?
"Good luck." How lame is that? "I'll cross my fingers." What are we, twelve?
So, I'm issuing a challenge to our readers and writers everywhere. A call to arms! Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the literary world is on the hunt for our own, new tradition, our own new way of communicating to one another that we are in this fight together. We might be lone wolves in the creation of our art, but we are not alone in spirit.
So writers, write! Come up with a phrase that clearly means, "I am an author in the same hell as you, and I am wishing you well."
- There should be implied history behind this saying.
- That history should have something to do with the literary world.
- It should sound old before its time.
Once found, we must make sure we use this phrase so that others might hear it and pass it on without knowing the origin, but thinking it has been a literary tradition throughout time.
Here are my two proposals: "Dante's Luck" or "May Virgil find you."
I like them because they both come from Dante's Inferno, a great literary work, and they both speak of one making their way through Hell to get to eternal paradise.
But I'm not the only writer here. What say you all? Offer up a suggestion of a phrase and why you think it should be the one to pass from generation to generation. We will know the winner when we hear it in a writer's group decades from now.