Call me a lit nerd, but I sort of love it when this happens:
I’m reading along, minding my own business, and then, in some cosmic literary force, my stars align and fiction reaches out to hold hands with reality. It’s an act of fate that says, “Yes, you’re reading the right book at the right time.” Since it doesn’t happen often, it’s pretty freaking amazing when it does.
I finished a book today, but I didn’t have a book hangover this time (thank god), so I wanted to read something else right away. I picked up a few novels from my nightstand and started browsing to select just the right one, but I wasn’t really feeling any of them. So I asked my best friend what she was reading and was happy to learn that she was reading a YA novel, Mosquitoland by David Arnold, which was already on my mountainous to-be-read-shelf. I cracked her open, and pretty much right away, this happened (See pic.).
Sure, most people will think it’s no big deal and that it’s just a coincidence. BUT IT’S LABOR DAY EVE for goodness sake, and don’t even try to pretend that it’s not freaking cool! You can’t take this from me!
This has happened before. In the weeks after the Sandy Hook tragedy, I, like most of America, was wrapped up in the news coverage of this horrific, senseless shooting, and I needed to take. a. step. away. from. CNN. I casually picked up Junot Diaz’s This Is How You Lose Her, and almost immediately I came across the line:
“Magda, is ‘rocking a dope Ochun-colored bikini that her girls helped her pick out so she could torture me, and I’m in these old ruined trunks that say ‘Sandy Hook Forever!’”
Are you kidding me? I couldn’t believe it: a book that had been published before the shooting, and yet even in my attempts at a quiet escape from reality and the news, the written words still found their screaming way to my ears. Not such a great thing at the time, but still an interesting coincidence.
About a year and a half ago, as I was reading The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman, I found myself immersed in the historical-fictional account of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. I had never heard of this tragedy before, so I set the book aside and Googled it, only to learn that I was reading about it on the very anniversary of the fire, March 25. Of all the books in the world to read, and of all of the days of the year they could be read, and of all the days one could be reading a particular part of a certain book, I was reading about that particular event in history on the very day it had occurred 103 years earlier. What are the freaking odds? That’s just magic, I don’t care what you say.
So what? What could these instances mean? Carl Jung called these meaningful coincidences “synchronicities.” His theory actually goes much deeper than my book-related coincidences, but it’s definitely worthy of mention, and the essence is pretty much the same.
My mom is pretty spiritual, and she has told me about these little messages that she believes God sends to her in times of need. She calls them “God Winks.” She even asks God to send people she loves these little signs or messages. She will tell me, “I prayed that God would give you a little God Wink today.” She’s so sincere and sweet, and man, I love that about her.
But, while I don’t necessarily think it’s God sending me messages through my Book Winks and I don’t think my meaningful coincidences go as deep as Jung’s Synchronicities, I certainly do think that sometimes these coincidences are pretty spectacular, so in the words of John Green’s Will Grayson, Will Grayson, “It’s hard to believe in coincidence, but it’s even harder to believe in anything else.”