Hoping for serendipity


Word count: 281                                              Reading time: 2 mins. 

All last night I dreamt about lost animals: finding a litter of tiny kittens strewn in garbage heaps in an alley, a hungry coonhound pup pawing at the back door. These sweet animals weaved themselves into my subconscious and I didn’t sleep well for worrying. This morning I opened the newspaper to the headline that a local dog rescue group has been linked to dog-napping. Vancouver Sun

Bad surprise.

Years ago I went scuba diving with a girlfriend in the chilly waters off Horseshoe Bay, West Vancouver. On the beach that day was an Aussie diver who set his sights on me. I rebuffed him, he held his course. Five years later I married him. Happily ever after.

Good surprise.

In real life I hope for only serendipity, inadvertent good luck. As a reader I love sinister twists and turns, especially if the end of a story is uplifting.

As I careened through NaNoWriMo 2011 a revelation rocked me at 36,000 words. I tripped over a central theme to the story that I hadn’t seen at the outset. Good surprise.

This week I looked at another novel that has been resting for the past month. The voice isn’t quite right yet. Bad surprise. I reminded myself that the revisions need time. Randy Susan Meyers and Roz Morris

Solution: I’m using literature to wake me from “the sleepwalk of self-involvement” (William Deresiewicz). In other words, I’m reading lots. I’m also listening to music and getting outdoors to enjoy the scenery. Both of these activities trigger images that no other process can release.

What surprises are shaking your world right now? How do you manage them and how do they influence your writing? 


 Photo of Salt Spring Island by: Aidan Cassie