According to Karl Marx, religion is the opiate of the masses. Actually, the true societal opiate is hope. Real or concocted, hope is the shaky ray of light that keeps many of us from stumbling about in the darkness that is our present lives; it is the frail strand of rope that prevents us from falling headlong into the abyss of black despair.
In terms of writing, it is hope that motivates writers to pick up their pens and scribble words on paper: hope that their works will be immortalized, both in print and in the hearts and minds of readers; hope that their stories will, somehow and eventually, reach the hands of an editor astute enough to know the value of what he or she is holding.
Having hope is akin to existential gambling. And in my view, any writer worth his or her salt is, in the truest sense, a gambler — more on this next time!