Mysterious Mojo at Work?

I got a new bed a few weeks ago. It stands lower to the floor than my old bed, which was where I stored several bins and boxes—shoes, purses, winter scarves and a couple filled with notes and manuscripts of old but not-dead-yet novels. These bins and boxes now reside in my workspace and will until I can either clean them out, thin them down, or find another place to store them.

A few days ago, for some reason I don’t know, I opened one of the boxes—the one labeled “All That Isn’t Singing.” Inside were twenty-seven spiral-bound notebooks, the kind I use for writing practice and for notebook drafts of books. “All That Isn’t Singing,” is my second many-drafts-yet-still-not-right novel. (The first is in another box that was under the old bed.) I pulled out and opened Notebook #1 from the first box.

Instead of something from the novel, my scrawly, messy handwriting revealed pages of writing describing the trip my husband Tom and I took in our camper in the late fall and early winter of 1990, shortly before Tom died. We’d driven across the country, up the East Coast to Canada then back down through Appalachia to North Carolina where we left the camper for a week in the Caribbean then drove back across the US to San Diego again. It was our last trip together.

Here’s the thing: I had just been writing about this very trip last week in the notebook draft of my memoir. The original account, the one I found in that old novel draft notebook, written in 2004, contained details I’d forgotten in writing the current iteration of the journey. Details that would make the new version much richer.

Coincidence? Synchronicity? Some mysterious mojo at work in the Universe? One of those amazing events that occur during the act of creating? “Big Magic,” Elizabeth Gilbert calls it in her book of that name. Big Magic indeed!

Here’s a quote from that book: “The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.”

This isn’t the first occurrence of such synchronicity during the drafting of this memoir, or either of those novels or so many of the other creative works I’ve been involved with. In fact, they’ve happened with such frequency I could almost write a book about them.

What about you? Ever experience any of that “Big Magic”?


12 thoughts on “Mysterious Mojo at Work?

  1. Strange happenings Judy
    I feel our universe is a mysterious, wondrous place quite beyond my rational understanding. Often bewildered and perplexed I just roll over and allow life to ‘tickle my feet.’ LOL
    I was in the company of a real ‘spiritual seeker’ once who was bombarding a priest over doctrinal texts and their meanings. The priest grew quite exhausted by the questioning. Eventually he turned around to the seeker and said: It’s all mystery.” I realized then that this response just about summed it all up really.

    “ That which thou seekest is near, and already coming to meet thee.”

    • Thanks for your comments, Michael. I love “allow life to tickle my feet.” I don’t know about you, but I’m so glad all the mysteries can’t be explained. As surely as we discover an explanation for one, the Universe just turns around and lays another on us. Maybe this will keep us humble.

      I always enjoy your comments. Makes me want to post blogs more often, just to see how you’ll respond.


  2. Oh yes! It happens all the time. One of the most interesting aspects is reaching for a journal – from those scattered though-out the house. Populating shelves, boxes, crates and cupboards are journals from the past thirty years. On a given day I may, without a specific plan, simply an “impulse” – pick up a particular journal and then open it to a “random” page. I am always stunned and humbled to whatever “muse” orchestrates this process. I am moved – to see the exact month and day recorded … years ago, matching the month and day of the present year! The specificity at first was unnerving. I could have purposely hunted for months, to find any similar dates, as I may use a journal/notebook for a while and then shift to another, thus using many. And this process is almost like a magnet, honing in on a day and month, matching the present day. Now I see it as a great gift of perspective. The melding of past and present as an actual whole. A living process. Furthermore, there seems to be the “Big Magic” Scribe, who does indeed keep track of those rivers of ink we plow into our very being with pen and paper.

    Recently a water pipe burst upstairs and poured down the walls, inundating everything throughout the entire house. So many journals were in fountain pen ink.! I wondered, when all that ink was washed away from the pages, where did all those thoughts, ideas, reflections, words go? I live on the Atlantic coast and daily see the tides come in and go out. Do the words that are washed away, go back out like the tide – returning to the great unconscious? Are they replanting impressions for others to imagine and turn to their pen to transcribe? Are we the record keepers of what life is like, experienced at this time in this world?

    Does “Big Magic” help us to keep carrying on with this Johnny Appleseed effort? I think we are in good company – with one another, pen and paper!

    • Thanks for your comment, Elizabeth. I’m both surprised and not surprised that the journals you choose to open at random match the month and day of the present year! This must have just stunned you the first times it happened. Then, a smile when it happened again and again. Oh! I just love this stuff.

      And interesting to read about all your journalings being washed out to sea through the plumbing mishap. I think, in a why, this is what the “Big Magic” is–all those words, phrases, reflections, thoughts finding their way into the mind (and maybe the journal) of another pen and paper devotee. I love to think about this. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about it. Fascinating stuff, this.

  3. At first I thought the photo was of MY pile of boxes that I just cleared from a closet today. Among the things I pulled out to read was some journaling from 2003 and 2004 full of feelings I had forgotten as well as some grumbles that could have described my day today.
    To see your post today reminded me also of my gratitude to you for introducing me to regular writing back in the Brown Bag lunch group when we lived briefly in San Diego in the early 2000s.
    Thanks so much Judy. Writing has certainly enriched my life.

    • Ha ha, Peggy. I bet every writer we know has a “pile of boxes” somewhere. So nice to see your name here, and read your post. I’m glad we had that time at the Brown Bag group way back when. Keep in touch every now and again. OK?

  4. Yes, I hear you. This ‘used’ to happen to me and was a common reoccurrence, especially when I was in my late teens. Going through my twenties to my thirties it still happened but less so. Now I am in my 50s it’s probably there but I never see it anymore. I guess I’m just not looking hard enough anymore. You have inspired me to start taking notice again. 🙂

    • Hi Zakgirl, I hope you get to experience some of the surprises of synchronicity. What you wrote in your last sentence is the key: “taking notice.”

    • See that’s the thing, Linda. It’s not when we need it that it happens; it’s all about the surprises, right?

    • Hey Barb, I’ll be glad to hear you sing that Twilight Zone theme and tell me a couple of your synchronistic moments.

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