This fall I had a very unsettling experience which occurred just a few weeks prior to the release of my new book Heart of Community. I’d like to mention the book was a work in progress for three to four years prior to this incident. And, mind you, I had never heard of or been within 400 miles of any of these places I am going to tell you about next.
My sister, brother in-law and I had just left an extensive, gorgeous garden center which very coincidentally, had nearly every element of the fictional garden shop I created in my mind for my book, Heart of Community. I made a few comparisons and mental footnotes between the two but I didn’t think all that much about it.
Onward we drove. A few miles down the road, I saw a consignment shop that piqued my attention because some of the items out on the front porch looked interesting. My sister said to her husband, “Can we go back? I’d kinda like to go into that place we just passed. “Me too!” I said, from the back seat. Our driver dutifully turned back around and we enjoyed browsing.
“Can we cross the street and see what’s over there?” I asked. It was quickly decided that we would. I was focused on crossing the street safely, and when I reached the other side I looked up and there in front of me was a small coffee shop with a big sign. My sister, who had walked ahead of me and reached the other side of the road first, turned around and asked, “Sue, are you coming?” I couldn’t answer. I had been stopped in my tracks and was completely speechless. My sister walked back to where I was standing. “What’s the matter?” she asked.
“Jan, this is just too weird! I don’t even know what to say.”
“First the garden center, now this. You’ll see, ” I said, “after my new book is released. When you read it, you won’t believe it.” I didn’t move forward for about 3 or 4 minutes. I stood still pondering the disconcerting and unnerving feelings I was having.
“This is just all too strange…this is all just too strange.” I kept saying to my sister, rubbing my brow.
“Tell me, tell me!” she said. “No, I’m not going to. You will have to see for yourself. Jan, it’s just so odd. And this is not the first time this has happened to me as a writer. It has happened more frequently than you’d ever believe.”
She just looked at me like I was loopy. Although, I think since I’ve become an author, she’s thought that of me many times. Sometimes I tend to zone out when in the middle of doing something and put myself back into the story I am writing if suddenly the right word comes to me, or a relevant thought or a new brainstorm.
“Maybe you’ll understand after you read my new book,” I said, as we walked to where my brother-in-law was standing in front of the coffee joint.
The coffee shop had a sandwich board sign out in front of it with lunch specials listed, and we decided to get carry-out and go sit down at the harbor in the village. I told my brother-in-law what I wanted and he went in to order for the three of us. Frankly, I was glad he offered because I was feeling so thrown off and the coffee shop was small. I felt as if I needed to stay out in the fresh air and get my head screwed on right again.
Here a photo of the place that knocked my socks off by the coincidence.
Friends, I’ll let you see what I mean when you read Heart of Community. See if you can find what made me feel as if my own little fictional writers world had been violated. Sometimes I think I am writing about a fictional place, made-up people or circumstances or using a unique expression in dialogue and down the line it comes to pass in real life.
The occurrence was so weirdly astonishing that it wasn’t even funny! And if you are a follower of my writing, you know I’m one who sees humor and writes it, in a lot of things.
P.S. Now that Heart of Community has been published and released, and my sister has read it, she said she understands why I was un-nerved by the coincidences.