Honoring Lucky the Goldfish

Lucky the Goldfish passed away last week. He was a dear friend and companion to my editor Sarah and her partner, Lori. (I think, if I remember correctly, Lucky was actually one of those carnival goldfish Sarah won at a fair, hence his name.) For more than 9 years Lucky had flapped and fluttered around in his bowl, blowing bubbles, gobbling nibbles, making sure that Sarah and Lori never came home to an empty house. And, in his quiet, fishy way, Lucky was responsible for my story, NOT NORMAN, A Goldfish Story being published. Several years back, say 2002 or earlier, my agent, Erin, heard Sarah speak at a conference. During the Q&A following Sarah’s presentation some one asked the question everyone always asks editors: Is there any story you are looking for? Sarah burst into her Lucky the Goldfish story and how she would love, love to receive a manuscript about a goldfish…

As it so happened, I had goldfish—a pond full of them—and a Goldfish picture book manuscript: Not Norman. The rest, as they say, is history.

People who call themselves “real pet people” i.e. dog, cat, horse, hamster lovers poke fun at us fishy folks. They think the only good pet is one who crawls, climbs or claws. They need the tactile connection those types of pets provide.

We fishy folks are beyond all that. We appreciate fish for what they are and do. A lot of what looks like nothing. Fish swim around in their watery worlds, drifting, floating, bubbling, dreaming fishing dreams while the rest of us drive ourselves and everyone else nuts rushing, rushing, doing, and begging for more.

The only begging Lucky ever did was a meal time. And that wasn’t really begging that was more like a reminder. A hey, remember me while you’re stuffing that cracker into your gullet. How’s about tossing me a treat, too, while you’re at it?

Here’s to Lucky!