I don’t write to be famous, I don’t write to be known, I write because I am and I want to be read. How sad to fill a room with paintings no one sees or play music no one hears. Writing is talking without sound, singing without score and dancing without movement and yet, it is all of them. It is a solitary art conjured from thought and expressed by the need to communicate.

HEAD SLAPS, SPEED BUMPS and LIGHTBULBS, one woman's WTF, oops and ah-ha moments of life.

They were published once, and as every writer knows, once is not enough.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Coincidence is fallacy, mystery is real, PART ONE

Okay, here's a three-part post that is really weird.
It is a composite of old blog posts, published pieces and wonderment. I’ve been pondering a longer project about the mysteries which surround us and if you are as amazed by mystery as I am, read on.

Here’s a cup of coffee, a donut and if you have a few minutes, enjoy. Or move on, it’s up to you. But if you take the time, the unexplainable is sometimes more interesting than that which we know to be true.

Part One

The word/mind game

In the beginning I considered it a writer’s quirk, a weird happenstance that popped up while reading or writing, which had me lifting my head from my work and wondering, WTF was that.  At first it was rather seldom and then as I spent more time at the keyboard, the “seldom” became often. I asked writer-friends if it happened to them. They said no, so it became a funny little phenomenon I considered all my own.

Let me set the stage.

My kitchen table is my magic carpet. For over thirty years this thick slab of butcher-block worn walnut, along with my laptop, has transported me from here to there and back again in times of tragedy and joy and utter craziness. Over the years I have written millions of words in hundreds of essays, two trunk novels, a memoir and many years’ worth of newspaper columns. And all of this has been accomplished at my office/ kitchen table right smack in the middle of the busiest part of our house.

Around the corner in the family room, not visible but audible, is a TV which is almost always on. If I’m home alone it’s like another person in the house and if I’m not alone, it’s entertaining family members I am selfishly choosing to ignore while I write.

I don’t remember the first time the quirk happened because it snuck up on me in a subtle way, like an unexpected breeze at the beach which is both comforting and annoying. I typed a word and heard that same word on the TV, at exactly the same time. I didn’t think much about it in the beginning, I use a lot of words, it’s simply a coincidence, but as I began to pay attention I noticed it happening more and more. Sometimes I’d be five minutes into writing or reading and boom, the word I wrote or read echoed out loud in the family room. I’d read a whole book or write ten-thousand words and nothing. And then, there it was, on the TV in the family room while I was sitting at the kitchen table, or upstairs on the TV in our bedroom, while I was reading. I’d stop, look up and if I had a pen I’d jot down the word. But most often I’d simply ponder the actual word, mull over the unknown significance of the happenstance, and move on.

When it began to happen some-what regularly I thought my mind was screwing with me, hearing what I was typing or reading, how demented is that, I was crazy right?

We have one of those TVs you can pause and playback. For a while, I did just that to see if I was imagining this double decker word thing. No, I wasn’t crazy, it was really happening.

I thought, perhaps, because I’m a writer immersed in words daily, the odds of
piggybacking words increases. So I blogged about it and asked other writers. I also asked friends I knew who didn’t write, but read a lot, do you experience this odd piggyback word thing. They all said no.

That’s when I started to jot down the words in earnest, thinking that maybe there was some sort of Twilight Zone message in them. From whom or what, I didn’t have a clue, aliens, God, the neighbor next door with a super computer. I could have simply tuned off the TV but the piggybacking wasn’t annoying or scary, it was kind of comforting and it made me feel special, like I was being targeted in a curious way.

The words aren’t common like the, and, or it, they are a bit off center from common discourse  and just plain weird to be used simultaneously by two people separated by circumstance. The most recent being Campbell, a few days ago, and milestone, money and policy, yesterday. Morning was less than a half hour ago while I wrote an email to a friend. 

Why is this happening?

When I noticed that this phenomenon started shortly after the death of my parents I heartened myself with the bazaar idea that perhaps my mom and dad were trying to get some sort of message through to me. Of course it made complete sense that two people who are dead would be reaching across the life and death divide with a Scrabble game of random words. After all, Scrabble was my mother’s favorite game. And, if anyone could find a way to communicate from up there to down here, it would be my dad. He loved science fiction and mystery. Yes, I had found the answer, I was fucking nuts.

I scattered the house with little squares of yellow Post-its stuck to end tables, window sills and on the counter next to the John. A true multi-tasker I can read, pee and listen at the same time.

“What are all these random words lists," my husband asked. “I thought you were leaving grocery lists all over the place, but ‘elbow’, ‘pine’ and ‘serious’ aren’t sold in any store I know.”

“It’s part of a writing project.” I said. No way was I ready to share my expanding lapse in mental acuity.

Now my husband knows all about the quirky word thing and is as puzzled by it as I am, unless he is practicing selective hearing, which is explainable and not a mystery at all. My daughter says it happens to her when she's paying attention.

Does it happen to you?



  1. How bizarre! It's never happened to me, but then again, even though I have the TV on, I tend to block it out. I wouldn't pick up on the coincidence of a spoken word within seconds of me typing it or just before, even if I tried.

    I will say what would be absolutely creepy would be if you strung all those piggy-backed words together and they made sentences that held some sort of message. LOL! Almost like my blender incident. Haven't told you about that? Remind me sometime.

    I do have what I call light weight ESP moments. They happen to me all the time. The other day hubby was on the side porch and we'd discussed dinner earlier. It involved green peppers. Time went on, and suddenly, I realized we didn't have enough peppers, so I went to the freezer and removed two little red ones we'd put up from our garden this year. Hubby came in about thirty secs later, stopped and looked at the counter. "Huh. I was just about to come in here and get two little red peppers out of the freezer - but you did it." He tapped his noggin' and said, "Me, you. We're connected."

    That's true. That sort of thing has happened to us a lot. And then, the other day while I was on my run I went by a friend's house. For some reason, I got to thinking about how she never wears makeup. And how she told her husband, "I am what I am." Which I love. So, I think about this, and think good for her, and all, b/c she'll even show up at a formal event without makeup. And then we go to Cotillion a couple days later. I see her, and what's the first thing she says? "I'm wearing makeup. I was so tired looking I had to, not to look like death."

    I thought that was pretty ODD.

    1. Early on I kept a record of every word and tried to find some meaning in them. Too random, so I thought I'd move them around and fill in with more commonly used words. But, (like frog DNA connecting the genes in Jurassic Park), we all know how successful using fillers can be. And then I realized that it wasn't the actual words that were significant, it was that the whole thing was happening, and continues to.

  2. My fiancé once watched me cleaning out my laptop bag, when I was switching to a new one. The contents were varied; gaming dice, pens, assorted quarter machine toys (like an eraser shaped like a brain, and a couple of little dogs [one of which was a Doberman]), round rocks (I pick up round rocks), and notes to myself. So many notes to myself, on scraps of paper. Topics to look up, agent names, websites, stubs of story ideas. He said it was like looking at a serial killer's collection.

    But anyway, even if "the word thing" doesn't happen to me specifically, I get what you're saying. And it doesn't happen to me, with individual words, but sometimes I'll get a picture, or a phrase, or something like that, and it'll play out or repeat as I consider it.

    1. The repeat thing is weird. For Christmas my husband put three lottery scratch off tickets in my Christmas stocking. Each was from a different game, two cost two dollars each and one cost a buck, (he's a real big spender). Anyway, the games each had two scratch-off numbers you had to match to winning numbers.

      The first game, the numbers were 14 and 18...loser.

      I scratched the second game, the numbers were 14 and 18. I almost fell off my chair. The odds of two different games with the same scratch-off numbers, unbelievable. After I calmed down and scratched the rest of the card...loser.

      Then I scratched the third game, my numbers, 14 and 18. I got so freaked out I didn't even want to scratch the rest of the numbers, but I did...loser.

      I am still trying to come up with the repeat meaning because the odds are impossible to calculate, (in my mind anyway). I think repeats are thrown at us to get our attention. Of what, who knows. Maybe it's to let us know we're looney.

  3. No, sorry, Caroly--, can't say this has happened to me. But this experience of yours reminds me of the Doctor Who episode, "Midnight." Watch it if you get the opportunity... :)

    1. Hey, Colin my friend, wha'd ya do with my Ns. I took them back :)
      Yea, it's really weird. Last night, before I went to bed, I was reading, (Writer' Digest of all things) and watching Investigative ID. Two words popped about ten minutes apart, "policy" and "society".
      Most of the time I listen to music when I write, New Age instrumentals, so it's not an issue. But lately...it's getting interesting.

  4. Unexplained phenomena are right up my alley...The strangest things have happened to me. Maybe it's a Libra thing (I'm also a Libra). I haven't experienced exactly what you have described, but I find it fascinating.

    As for the hidden meaning of the words involved, maybe you'll have a spontaneous revelation. Other than that, I would probably interpret this as incoming messages from God/loved ones, affirming that you are on the right track and that you are very much loved. <3

    P.S. You really have a magic carpet... ;-)

    1. Ha, you're right, a magic carpet of words.

      I think about the word thing as God Winks, from a little book I read years ago. I love the term.

  5. That hasn't happened to me. But I don't believe in coincidence, so there's gotta be something to it!