Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Synchronicity, Anyone?

Everything happens for a reason. The Bible tells us this.
The other day, William asked me if I'd seen the movie The Adjustment Bureau. I hadn't, but I like Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, and William gave it such a positive recommendation, Collin got it from Netflix.

In the film, a rising politician's career is derailed when he gets into a barroom brawl the night he's elected. A secret society of men in hats who seem to have otherworldly powers to manipulate mere mortals are about to put his career back on track when he meets and falls in love with a ballerina, once again derailing his destiny. The more these hat-wearing Fates conspire to keep them apart, the harder he fights to be with her.
The movie reminds me of the book The Celestine Vision, a detailed look at the concept of synchronicity--the belief that supposedly random acts are actually part of a divine plan to keep each of us on the paths we're meant to follow. A wrong turn, a chance meeting, a kind word to a stranger, all seemingly insignificant events that propel us forward in the current of life.

No, nothing happens by chance. But we do have free will. The other half of the equation is how we respond to these occurrences. In the movie, Matt Damon's character chose to fight the plan, and rewrite his destiny. Consider this: a chance meeting between two people, both having a good day. They connect immediately. Maybe they get married. Maybe they have children. Maybe they grow old together.
Or...they meet under the worst possible circumstances. One or both are having a bad day. An innocent remark is taken the wrong way. The connection never happens. Right couple, wrong time. The chance for happiness is missed. What might have been is lost forever.
There's an episode of Touched By An Angel that addresses this. The angel Monica, having a bad day, reacts in a less than angelic way to one person, setting into motion a chain of events that nearly leads to a woman's suicide. Given the chance for a do-over, something we don't often get in real life, the outcome is dramatically different.

A couple of years ago, I happened to post a comment on an IMDb message board for the movie Angels & Demons. I had just published Chasing the Wind and was posting on a lot of message boards to draw interest to the book. I wasn't really connecting with anyone beyond that. William was also posting there. We had exchanged a few comments, but nothing more. I had my professional resume posted on the site. I didn't realize everyone could access it until I received an email from a woman I'd had a bit of dialogue with on that same message board.

I wasn't thrilled that she'd gotten my email address, but we exchanged emails for a while. She was interested in hooking up with William. I suggested she PM him. She did. She was discouraged when she received his response: just his first name. "What did you say to him?" I asked.
"I asked him his name."
He'd answered her. I don't know what more she expected. I sent him a message and noted that on his profile, he listed Long Way Round as one of his favorite TV programs. He said he liked it because he was also a biker. I asked what kind of bike he owned. He answered, and we began a three-way email exchange with the other woman, who was pursuing him in a not-so-subtle manner.

To my knowledge, she never got laid (in spite of a very aggressive campaign on her part), and these days, neither of us is speaking to her. But he and I remain close friends and collaborators. We talked about this a while back, realizing that neither of us would have initiated a relationship beyond the message boards, had she not been looking for some action.
Funny how it all started.... 

New Blogging Schedule:
You've Got To Be Kidding on Mondays
Windchaser's Journey on Wednesdays 
Sam's Story on Fridays
...and I hope you'll check out my book blogs at 
Beishir Books 
Writers of Mass Distraction
Basking in the Afterglow


  1. Love this post even though I never read any of those books or saw any of those movies. I definitely believe in destiny and I have stories about things like this. Thank you for sharing and I'm so glad you met William so we could all be friends!! I'm sure she eventually got laid by someone!

  2. Well, I did tell her if she dragged a mattress out to the curb, somebody was bound to climb aboard sooner or later.

  3. Oh I've been wanting to see The Adjustment Bureau for so long! I'll have to rent it.
    I love this post. There are so many times in my life where there have been very obvious things that have pushed me back on my path. And with all of the people on the planet and all of our crazy different schedules, when you have a chance meeting that turns into an amazing freindship or relationship that greatly affects your life, well I don't know how anyone can NOT believe in destiny.

  4. It is strange, that one sequence of events would lead to another, and to another, and another.

    If I had been avoiding those message boards all together, I wouldn't have come into contact with you. If I hadn't started talking with you through the message boards, and then by email, I doubt I'd have found my way to Writers' Digest, which would have meant that a lot of the people I've gotten to know would have remained strangers. I would have never started blogging, and the books I'm working on would still be locked away in my head.

    It's a domino effect, really, that kind of synchronicity, and I'm glad it brought us into touch.

    Brilliant post!

  5. Fate, coincidence, Murphy's Law, Karma ... or a combination of all? I met Emily through a fanfiction writing site -- if not for our common love for a TV show, we wouldn't be engaged today. In fact, we'd never have met.

  6. Yes, synchronicity, indeed, on why and how you both had met. I'm glad that you both had met cus you both are great writers and match, well, together, of friends and all. Also, now that you've mentioned this about the book, "The Celestine Vision," I want to read it. It does sound very good. I love books like this of subjects, too.

  7. Well, I owe a lot to wanting an agent. I found WD through searching about how to go about finding an was there that William and Norma FOUND me. They found me! They friended me, suggested I join them on the humorous discussion site, and when I started my blog (which I knew nothing about what a blog even was) they were some of the first one's to comment. They taught me that I didn't need the agent to be published. How or why they found me, I can only guess...they saw something in me that even I didn't know was there--potential, I guess. Now we're all a big gang of WMD'ers!

    I love all of you guys! Fate did bring us all together!! I truly believe that.

  8. You'll love it. I bought it years ago when I was researching Chasing the Wind, as synchronicity played a big role in the events that brought Connor and Lynne together.

    It's also played a role in the story of Gabriel and Chloe in Same Time Tomorrow....

  9. Strange how the universe works when we really stop to think about it and where our connections to people come from. I definitely believe in fate and have been meaning to check out 'The Adjustment Bureau'. May need to check out this book, too. Great post!

  10. this is a perfect story about how important it is to listen to promptings. I joined WD poetry corner after trying several others I hated. From there, I meant many of you who have inspired me and put a smile on my face every day.

  11. It seems like so many forces have pushed me in different directions over the years. It all seems so random until you look back and see how each event gave you something you would need down the road.

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  13. Unfortunately for me the fates were sneezing or at the spa when my life came by. All bad choices !
    I figure out how/why all my blogging friend are all writers, it started with a comment on Kanani's blog and grew. Most of my blog friends are based in the UK.
    I am so happy I found you all and so enjoy reading your blogs but I think you all must cringe when I write.

    cheers, parsnip

  14. I've often said there is no such thing as coincidence. I also know that, even if things are tough right now, it is always leading to something better. I hadn't heard of The Celestine Vision before, but I definitely need to add it to my reading list!

  15. Wonderful blog! Funny one of my characters said something familiar the other day.

  16. That is awesome. I love it when fate just kind of connects peeps of like minds. The universe's chemistry in action. I did not know the Bible states everything happens for a reason. I must go check. I kind of changed my way of thinking about that a couple years back. Now, I believe everything happens because of choices we make, and the direct results of those choices are the "reasons." I do not believe a higher power is stepping in and directing our fate unless we are specifically requesting it thru prayer. And I'm very much a creationist, so i don't say that as someone who doesn't believe in God.
    Anyway, my two cents is all.
    But a similar story is how one day I just happened to read some posted snippets of stories on Miss Snark's First Victim blog where she does the secret agent contests, and really liked someone's first page so left her a nice comment. She found my blog thru that comment and we've become great friends. I could've not went thru the trouble of commenting, which would've meant we both missed out on a really great friendship. I'm sure life is full of those little shoulda, woulda, coulda instances we miss out on.
    I have to watch Adjustment Bureau now! Sounds right up my alley!

  17. Oh, Parsnip, we don't cringe at all! You have a gift most of us will never possess and we get great joy from your artistry!

  18. @PK: it's surprising how we can make connections like that on just a decision like whether or not to comment on a blog, isn't it?

    @Karla: hindsight's certainly got its advantages. it's only after the fact that we can see the pattern.

  19. I always wondered how you two met! Interesting!


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