Oh, when we hear that word resound through the room: Bingo! Some voices exultant and laughing while others are disappointed and we can hear the banter, “I was so close,” or “I just needed one more square,” and so on. We all end up in the spirit of the thing. And we want to be happy for that winner, and yet, of course, there’s that little voice inside our heads, “I wanted to win.”

"bingo!" by vcheregati is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit
"bingo!" by vcheregati is licensed 

It’s not too much different for the writer, especially around our writer-friends. “Way to go!” we say and congratulate the one who just got an agent or got a contract or better still, a movie deal. “Woohoo!” we say and mean it too. But, still, “I want one of those,” the little voice croons.

When I watch any one of the many award shows, particularly the Oscars and Emmys, I confess I am intrigued by the losers. Obviously, I’m not alone, because the cameras inevitably zoom in on those faces. The nominees have all prepped well with several private litanies against the moment: “Your chances are slim” or “No one thinks you’ll get it anyway,” or “It’s an honor to just be on the list,” just to name a few. The smile is pasted on, the beloved friend/lover/spouse grips the leg out of sight of the camera. Both must get through the next five minutes, and then they can look at each other and see the truth of it. Oh well, “I was so close to Bingo.”

What is success anyway? Last year, in the United States alone, over 500,000 self-published books came out while from the traditional houses (of which there are officially only five), only 10,000 books. Certainly, one would think that getting a traditional book publishing deal is worth a “Bingo!”  According to an article by Barrett-Koehler Publishers ( the average sales for all those books is about 300 copies in the lifetime of each book. In other words, those New York Times best sellers are nowhere near the norm. And a traditional book contract or not, the average number of copies per book could fall into either category. Just because a book is published by one of the big five is no guarantee. I guess there are different levels of that elusive Bingo. 

So why bother? The only thought that comes to mind today is the old song from “A Chorus Line” back in 1985, “What I did for love.” That’s really all we can do, isn’t it? Create our own Bingos in the heart because of the passion for a thing, for writing, for reading, for creating? Nothing is for everyone. But for those who do relish the written word, then really, isn’t that enough? For the love of the thing?