The world is full of random flukes, right?
We’ve all experienced a flush of good timing, poetic justice, or quirky happenstance. Something we look back on and say, yeah, that was weird, but seriously, how cool.
As a writer of fiction, I know I can drizzle a bit of curious coincidence into my stories, but I treat it as though it was a ghost pepper hot sauce—a little goes a long, long way. And too much will kill my reader’s appetite for any more of my story.
I mention all of the above because my life would never be considered believable fiction.
My editor would toss it back and say it was filled with way too many unexplainable flukes. Events that appeared for no reason, simply to push the narrative arc along. It’s too farfetched, too fortuitous, too implausible.
And yet … this is the contents of my life.
I write about magic in some of my books. In one it is simply sprinkled about, in several others it is the main focus, widespread and thoroughly researched. As authors we are encouraged to write what we know. But I wouldn’t say I know magic per se, I’d instead phrase it as I experience magic—or what some would define as magic—nearly every day.
And I don’t mean magic in the sense of ‘wand-casting-turn-you-into-a-toad’ type magic, nor would I lessen it to the side of the spectrum which might be confused with abundant gratitude. As in the warm rush of excitement at seeing a rainbow, or a water funnel, or a squirrel escape unharmed from the opposite side of your moving vehicle as it dashed out in front of you.
No. My magic is more the serendipitous kind and mostly the unexplainable. Unexplainable, as far as science is concerned. And I do believe science will one day have an explanation for my wonky situations. That chapter just hasn’t been written yet.
I don’t have rational answers for why, when visiting religious sites, or landscapes of great historic relevance, I am overcome with a physical dis-ease so great it can send me to my knees. Someone theorized that perhaps the pseudo-science stating the correlation between ley lines and magnetic fields might be an influence—and my body simply has an abundance of iron that interferes.
I have no reasonable explanation as to why I am forever running into self-proclaimed witches, soothsayers, mystics, and wizards. This week alone the tally is already up to three.
Surely, you think I jest.
I certainly would.
And it’s not like I belong to any covens, Wiccan moots, or regularly visit Renaissance festivals. These individuals just find me. Or, as I have heard explained to me numerous times, I find them. But I take issue with this declaration, as the last one I “found” was literally fifteen minutes ago—someone who marched up to my front door to say hello as I’ve been working on this article.
I know. It’s supremely absurd.
I feel like erasing this entire confessional essay, except that I’m writing to tell you about one of my most beloved repeating serendipitous occurrences: meeting my favorite people.
(The reveal is coming up, so hang tight.)
I was recently away at a massive book festival in Tucson, Arizona. Over one hundred and thirty thousand people attend this three day event each year, and I was lucky enough to be invited to participate.
A bazillion flights, ubers, panels, and tacos later, I lug my bags across the threshold of my home, my luggage filled with the contact info of countless authors, publishing reps, moderators, and book sellers.
I toss it all up on the kitchen counter and glance out the porch door where movement catches my eye. A wretched face glances up at me, curled up upon my swinging rocker. Two large chocolate colored eyes effortlessly convey the message of I’m cold, I’m hungry, I’m lost.
Unlike the countless other things up on the mountain where I live, this animal has no desire to fight me back for territory taken, and only wishes for a quick solution to his mounting problems.
I rush out to greet the sweet and gangly-legged hound and usher him into the warmth where aid is in abundance. “Sammy,” as his tags indicate, is one of the most grateful tail wagers I’ve yet to lay eyes on.
He tells me, in a way that only animals can, how the water has never been so thirst-quenching, the food has never been so filling, and yes, please scratch right there until I tell you to stop. I adore animals and their gratitude for simple needs met. I wish more people were so.
I quickly make contact with Sammy’s owner—a doppelganger of me, had I been on the receiving end of the phone call: thrilled, desperate, relieved. She is on her way.
Sammy and I find the warmest, sunniest room in the house to await her arrival, and many attempts at my poor human-to-dog speak message of, “I promise, she’s rushing here to get you,” prove unsuccessful. His eyes still say, Make my two-leg appear, please.
And minutes later when she does, I can see in her eyes the same urgency as was in Sammy’s, and my “chatty Cathy” habit is getting in the way of reunification.
Paula is clearly a perfect match for her companion—warm, gentle, intelligent, personable. It’s almost as if she was a …
“What do you do for a living?” I ask her.
“I’m a school librarian.”
I drop all pretense of politeness and inhibition. I hug her.
“You are my favorite kind of people!” I look at her hard. “Did you somehow know that I run a campaign to erect monuments to all librarians? Because I write that on the jacket flap of all my books!”
She shakes her head. She did not know. And eyes the door.
I thrust three of my books into her hands. “For your school, if you want them.”
We will be friends. I’m sure of it. I will make it happen. And I will try to tone down that unnerving affection.
But it comes naturally when you’ve been surrounded by all this wonky magic your whole life. I may look askance at all the other lunacy that regularly shows up, but I will never question fate or the three siblings in charge of it.
And if Clotho, Lachesis, or Atropos—the three Sisters of Fate—should toss a librarian onto my front door’s welcome mat, I will treat her the same way I would any lost and loved puppy: with open arms and great goodwill.
Also a big spoonful of peanut butter.
Sammy was lost in the forest for two long winter days. And because of his perseverance and suffering, I suggest he receives a spot at Paula’s feet within the mold of her bronze cast—once her school raises enough money from bake sales. Come on, Western Albemarle High School. Get baking!
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