Saturday, October 2, 2010
First, my publisher Hadley Rille Books, is celebrating its 5th Anniversary with a book sale and a drawing for a free Kindle 3G. Anyone can win -- no purchase is required, although the more books you purchase, the greater your chances of winning. Please stop by their website to register and browse the catalogue. They have so many awesome titles -- if you haven't had a chance yet to read something from Hadley Rille, you are definitely missing out.
Also this week, my good friend Suzanne Hunt launched a web presence for the Green Goddesses, a network of professional women doing amazing things for the environment and for the world. Somehow, EOLYN made the blogroll for their site -- I'm not sure how that happened. I'm humbled and honored, really, to have my little novel on the roster of so many amazing projects.
And, as I mentioned in my last post, this week one of the Green Goddesses, car racer Leilani Munter, launched her partnership with Operation FREE, a group of U.S. Veterans who are working hard to promote clean and sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels. They were in Kansas City at NASCAR, and yes we went to the races to see her. Can't say I ever thought I'd go to a car race, but they we were, and it was great fun.
This latest rash of coincidences has me thinking a lot about serendipity, which my dictionary defines as "an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident". This is a little different from the way my friends and I have used the word on a day-to-day basis. Once I saw serendipity defined as "a special type of paranoia in which the individual believes all the powers of the universe are conspiring in his or her favor". This is closer to my understanding of serendipity; closer to the way I have lived it. Serendipity as a kind of luck, a mysterious process by which circumstance come together that help us move forward with our dreams and our lives.
I talked a little about the serendipitous path of EOLYN in my September 12 blog post. Looking at the chain of events that has accompanied the writing of this novel, I'm often tempted to call myself 'lucky' in having the opportunity to publish EOLYN with such a great small press, Hadley Rille. After all, the circumstances just seemed to "come together" in my favor. But calling this all "luck" undermines the importance of the sweat, blood, passion, heartache, time and energy that went into pushing the novel as far as I have. And, as a colleague of mine once said, "Not everyone knows what to do with their luck."
I read a study once (and the scientist in me is embarassed to say I can't remember where) that compared individuals who considered themselves 'lucky' with persons who considered themselves 'unlucky'. It would probably come as no surprise to you that neither group was more likely to win the lottery. However, 'lucky' and 'unlucky' people responded to similar tasks in different ways. For example, in one study the researchers asked the participants to determine the total number of ads in a section of newspaper. People who considered themselves "lucky" were significantly more likely to notice that on page 4 there was an ad that said, "There are 27 ads in this newspaper. You can stop counting now." People who considered themselves "unlucky", on the other hand, were more likely to not notice this message and continued to count all the ads. So "luck", it seems, is not so much an external force as an internal capacity to recognize opportunity and take advantage of it.
Serendipity -- which I will now define as the presence of coincidence in our lives -- is an ongoing theme in my novel. Eolyn, Akmael and the people they interact with are connected through numerous coincidences that weave many disparate stories into a single organic whole. Is this due to the intervention of the gods, or is it just the way things work in a realistic universe? Neither Eolyn nor Akmael spend much time contemplating the power of coincidence, except in key moments toward the end of the novel, but the reader will see this as a clear force in their lives, a force that sometimes works in their favor -- becoming what we would call 'luck' -- and sometimes does not, resulting in some very bad luck indeed.
Wishing all of you a very serendipitous week, in the very best sense of the word.
Today's image is "The Crystal Ball" by John William Waterhouse.