Sunday, 6 May 2012

TSS: Synchronicity in writing

As you know, Gentle Reader, I have just started writing stories again.  I am working on one now, that features a ghost that haunts a china cabinet.  My heroine, the owner of the antique store where the cabinet is currently on sale, has just found a packet of letters stuck at the back of the bottom of the lowest drawer.  The letters date from the 1800's, and she is just starting to look for any family members.

On Friday, while on the bus on the way to work in the morning, I saw someone reading one of Ottawa's free newspapers, Metro News, and saw over their shoulder  this article: "Wallet Found Sixty Years Later Helps to Reunite family".  The wallet was found in an antique black cabinet in an antique store.  I've linked you to the original article.

  I've cut out the article to remind myself that
1) stories are all around us, and
2)  coincidences abound in our lives.  Jung called them synchronicity, when something happens that is similar in some way to something else we had done, but from a completely different source.    Like a confirmation from our  soul, Higher Spirit, the universe, however you want to name it, I think of it as the frisson of energy you get when  something occurs and it answers us in some way about something we had started to do - a yes to a decision made.  Here are various links to synchronicity: Jung's description, (and I like the example given here of the dream a patient had, and then the very rare beetle showing up the next day); a dictionary definition, which comes from Jung, who coined the term; and wikipedia, from which I love this partial explanation: "Jung believed that many experiences that are coincidences due to chance in terms of causality suggested the manifestation of parallel events or circumstances in terms of meaning, reflecting this governing dynamic."  This is because I've met people who have argued that synchronicity doesn't exist, or it's invented because we are looking for it, hence we find it.  I wasn't looking on Friday, I was just seeing what the bus rider's newspaper had, and there it was. I had started writing my story on Tuesday.

I think it's amazing.

Have you ever experienced synchronicity, Gentle Reader? 

I know, some of you might be saying, "but Susan, this happens all the time!  People are always finding letters not delivered from 70 years ago, etc. " That's not the point - yes, it does happen.  It's the connection, the proximity of one event to the other, that matters. The link I instantly felt.  It's like the universe is saying yes, I'm writing what I am supposed to be writing, right now.

and it links to something else I have been doing:
It helps very much that I am enjoying writing it, and having fun bringing in my love of history and research, especially Canadian history!  I am learning about Ottawa's history now, which is not something I've paid much attention to - I know bits and pieces, how Ottawa was once named Bytown because of Colonel By, who built the Rideau Canal from 1827-1832, which is the waterway which links Ottawa to Kingston.  I didn't know it was built to transport goods and soldiers along a defensible line because of the War of 1812 with the US. Here is a link to the wikipedia article on the Rideau Canal, with some lovely old artwork as well as what it looks like today in Ottawa.

 I found the sweetest, dearest old house right beside the National Gallery of Art, where I have spent one evening a week over the last month getting to know early (earliest) Canadian art.
This picture is by Cornelius Krieghoff, who painted from 1830 to the time of his death in 1872.  He painted mostly rural Quebec scenes, featuring Les Habitants, as the French were called right up until the 20th century.  The house I found on St Patrick St looks very similar to this one in the painting.( I happen to love this painting also. )  It turns out this house, Rochon House, is the oldest house in Ottawa (but not the oldest building, which is from 1827), and a heritage site.  It was built about 1830, so when I look at it, I think of my ancestors who arrived in London Ontario in 1832, and wonder if the house they built in the wilderness, a log cabin, was smaller than this one.  The best link I  can find so far for the house is from the Ottawa Historical Society, here. I can't find a photograph yet.

 I think it's a wonderful, exciting feeling when so many different things I am doing, are all fitting together like this.

What do you think, Gentle Reader? Have you had times like this in your life?

 I've added to my collection of various books I'm currently reading, Capital Walks:Walking Tours of Ottawa, by Katharine Fletcher.  I have to find her Historical Walks, so for now this is giving me a way to learn more about my city, both for myself and for my main character.

So what are you finding interesting today, Gentle Reader?  Have you had any coincidences in your life lately, any synchronicity that has thrilled or awed you?


Sarsafrass said...

What an incredible story! It's such a romantic thing, in a way. Have you done any of the walks in the book? I am hoping to do one of the haunted walks this year that go through the Market!

Susan said...

Sarsafrass: Thank you! I really enjoyed writing it, too. I haven't done any of the walks in the book - I'm not sure why, since I gave the book to my husband several years ago. Now of course, I want to do at least the Lowertown walk, if not the Glebe one. I'd like to do the haunted Ottawa one, I had a friend who went on it and she said the old jail house was a very powerful place - it is haunted.

Gavin said...

I know synchronicity happens when I leave myself open to it. It happens more frequently when I pay attention to my dreams (a skill I learned from studing Jung). The deeper we go into studying quantum physics the clearer this all becomes. Watch this.

GeraniumCat said...

I rather liked the comment in a radio programme on coincidence - the statistician presenting said he would be more worried if coincidences didn't happen! But they can be a very powerful experience, can't they?

I do love that Krieghoff painting. I had some news recently which made it very unlikely I'll ever get to Ottawa again, so no exploring your book of Ottawa walks, or visiting the National Gallery again, but I have some good memories :-)

Tami said...

What a beautiful moment of "synchronicity". I hold to the belief in "God-incidence" rather than "co-incidence", and I think those moments are there to encourage us. You must be on a good path with your stories.

DesLily said...

ahhh writing is such good escape therapy! I know I wrote and rewrote for about 3 yrs while being caregiver to my brother...I can't begin to explain how it kept me going in the hardest of times. and now it stays within me and gives me moments of hope .
write on Susan!! btw the haunted cabinet sounds good already!

Susan said...

Gavin: I went to the site you had linked, but I haven't had time to watch the whole thing yet. It looks like a lot of fun, and I think I'm going to try to show it to my daughter too (my youngest when the cool science stuff comes on, he's too young for that much talking!) Thanks for the link :-) i also think that quantum physics is drawing us closer to recognizing scientifically what many aboriginal people's beliefs say, which is that we are all related - everything touches on something else.

Geraniumcat: Yes, they are powerful, and I don't always pay attention, either, to all that happens.

What happened that you won't be coming over to Canada again?

Tami: Thank you! that's how it feels when I experience synchronicity, a moment of 'yes'. And yes, I'm thinking it's all about my writing! and personal things in my life, too :-)

Pat: Writing is beautiful and fun and sometimes hard work, and always interesting. I knew you wrote your novel, i didn't know you were still writing. I'm glad to hear it. Too bad we didn't live closer, we could have little writing talks and listen to when we are working something out, together!

What are you working on now?

Susan said...

Geraniumcat: I'm sorry you won't be able to come back, I was looking forward to meeting you and show
ing you some of Ottawa the next time! I'll email you.

DesLily said...

Susan I'm not writing now... I did my writing while taking care of my brother (editing myself too) it helped me keep from being more depressed than I already was. but even after years of not writing on it , it is so deep in my heart I can't let go of it or the characters. I did have an idea for a 4th in the series . it was to be comical..but comedy has left me for some time now so I just haven't gone back to write. the joy I need for book 4 just isn't there . But.. you keep writing! It sounds like a good one and it takes us to places we need to be at the time you write it or it wouldn't be there for us to do it.

Susan said...

Pat: thank you so much for your kind words of support, and also for sharing how you wrote, and when. I really hope the joy comes back so you write that 4th book in the series.