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”?


Today’s Biggest Challenge

This poster by Courtney E. Martin and Wendy Macnaughton hangs in my bathroom. I work at home so you can imagine how many times a day I see this message. It’s a powerful message, an important message, and what I want to do. And what I’m having the biggest challenge doing.

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The Dog Days of Summer Writing

We are in the Dog Days of Summer, which began July 3 and end August 11. Many believe these summer days were given that name in reference to the heat, and that even dogs are stricken lazy by it. During these Dog Days, we may find our writing lagging, too.

But the term Dog Days of Summer isn’t about the heat or lazy dogs. Actually, it refers to a different kind of dog: Sirius—Orion’s most loyal hunting dog. The Dog Days of Summer actually refers to the heliacal rising of the Sirius (heliacal, meaning rising with the sun), which for the six weeks we’re in the midst of now, is the brightest star on the morning horizon.

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