Making sense

Anne Lamott, on writing ...

"We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little. But we do. We have so much we want to say and figure out.”

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Something's happening ~

The planets are aligning; the universe is listening to me; my dead parents are pulling for me. Next thing I know, my new friend from craigslist will announce her second cousin is Kevin Bacon.
Something is happening.
MacDowell Colony coincidences?
Why, all of a sudden, are there books seemingly falling into my lap, books whose authors spent time in New Hampshire at MacDowell?
Consider this, from last month: I am going to Goin' Postal to get fingerprinted so I can substitute teach. Goin' Postal is a place where not only can I buy stamps and send packages, but can plunk down $48 and have a complete stranger manipulate my fingerpads, searching for past or current criminal activity. On this hot-ass day in August, there's a line. For customer convenience, there exists a tiny bookshelf. "Take one, lend one," a sign reads, rendered in blue magic marker.
There are six books on top. I decide, randomly (?) to choose one from the middle. It is Our Town, by Thornton Wilder. Probably my favorite little play in the entire world. There's an excerpt posted on this blog, the part about Mama's sunflowers, new-ironed dresses and coffee. I pick up the book, an edition larger than I've seen. There's a foreward by Donald Margulies. There's an afterword, which I turn to, randomly (?), a specific page, 145. And there, on this page, in a book that I never in a million years would have planned on seeing at a freaking Goin' Postal, on this page is a black and white photo of the studio where Wilder wrote Our Town. It is a picture of Veltin Studio. Which is one of the studios at The MacDowell Colony. Which is the picture posted at the top of my blog, which I had chosen randomly (?) a few weeks ago, not remembering that Veltin was Wilder's hangout.
MacDowell Colony: Where I will be in thirteen days.
But that's not all.
Tonight, after reading book 25 of my FiftyFifty challenge (to read fifty books in 2012 and watch fifty movies ~), I decide to google "domestic fiction," because domestic fiction is the genre I most like to read; it is the genre The Hour of Lead will be labeled upon its publication. (I will be rewriting The Hour of Lead at MacDowell ~). I am wanting to find other domestic fiction book titles. Three pop up on the first page of my iPhone screen: Labor Day, by Joyce Maynard, between sisters, by Kristin Hannah, and Still Alice, by Lisa Genova.
And, wouldn't you know, I happen to have all three of those books on my shelves in my library, books I picked up at Borders when they were going out of business a couple of years ago. Books I have not yet read. In my personal library, I have more than a thousand titles, of which I've read, tops, 60 percent.
But it's a rainy and chilly day here in Kansas City, and so I decide to go ahead and start one of these books. I choose Labor Day first because I like its cover the most: a bowl of peaches, with two outstretched hands, hovering. Besides, Labor Day recently came and went. It's relevant, I think.
Maynard's teen narrator sucks me in, and next thing I know, the story line has me hooked. I am amazed at what is happening in this novel. I am thinking, Why in the hell didn't I think of this? and then ... and then ... I feel compelled to turn to the back of the book and here's what I find, under Acknowledgments: "I offer deep thanks to the MacDowell Colony ~ and all who make it possible ~ for providing the most supportive environment an artist colony (sic ) could hope to encounter, and to the artists with whom I shared residencies at MacDowell and at the Corporation of Yaddo, whose shared love of their work nurtured my own."
I cannot effing believe it. A random google search. Random titles. Titles I already own. A cover to seduce me. And it turns out to have been written by a MacDowell fellow.
Holy shit.
Love you, Mommy and Daddy.

No comments: