The Japanese, especially in the Heian period and perhaps later, world we would call superstitious. Like Western Europeans they believe that illness could be caused by “bad spirits” and that their minute actions could cause disastrous consequences not only for themselves but for others.
Naturally they would turn to the Seven Gods of Luck, displayed above and below. As I write this I take out a special package friend of mine gave me in which I keep buttons. But these buttons have the faces of the Gods of Luck.
Each God of Luck has a traditional attribute:
- Hotei, the fat and happy god of abundance and good health
- Jurōjin, god of long life
- Fukurokuju, god of happiness, wealth and longevity
- Bishamonten, god of warriors
- Benzaiten (Benten-sama), goddess of knowledge, art and beauty, especially music
- Daikokuten (Daikoku), god of wealth, commerce and trade. Ebisu and Daikoku are often paired and represented as carvings or masks on the walls of small retail shops
- Ebisu, god of fishers or merchants, often depicted carrying a sea bream
What do the Gods of Luck have to do with me? Well, it has to do with Calvin Coolidge. Take a look at another of these great woodblock prints, and I’ll tell you.
This week I’m doing a presentation to my local writing group, San Antonio Writers Guild (SAWG) on how I came to write Pillow Book of the Flower Samurai and how it took about 20 years. Yes, twenty years. Not a typo. I found this wonderful quotation from Calvin Coolidge:
Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more commonplace than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and Determination alone are omnipotent.
Persistence and determination are two of the qualities which have helped me work on, rewrite and rewrite, and actually finish this first book.
I wanted to give thanks to the universe and whatever benevolent forces are out there for giving me persistence and determination to write and finish Pillow Book of the Flower Samurai. Why? Because an “attitude of gratitude” is always, for me, a tool for happiness. And because I enjoy the Japanese myths and legends, beliefs and Gods, so much.
I wish for each potential author these qualities.They will help you and you will need them.