A mystery magazine assigned me a book to review. The premise and protagonist seemed a bit whacky, but from the first page it felt so familiar. I don’t mean that I had read this author’s work before. It felt like she was writing about my life.
In the novel’s opening scene, the author described my youngest son, used his name, and placed him in his favorite situation. The book is set in an agrarian setting (much like my home town) with a heroine who is a farmer and a biker. The author graduated from a Mennonite college — like my husband. And the author as well as her protagonist sound remarkably like a former editor from my home region, who was also Mennonite and affiliated with bikers during her adventurous life. Even the author’s disease of choice hit close to home.
When I perused the author’s webpage, I saw an interview conducted by my personal hero and former colleague at the newspaper where I worked and first grew into the title: writer. The author presides over a writing group in the heart of my old stomping grounds surrounded by local writers with whom I had attended writing meetings back when I lived in the land where I belonged.
And she’s doing readings in my favorite libraries in my home landscape.
Is this what happens when we don’t take advantage of opportunity when it presents itself? When we don’t follow through on the ideas we start to turn into novels and never complete — someone else does it?
In my stash of unfinished fiction lies a biker story, several farm-related stories, a potential serial, a romance, a mystery or two, some based on my son’s heavy metal experiences – not unlike the opening scene of the assigned novel. And all of them are four to six chapters long. That seems to be the time when the doldrums hit and I lose the momentum to finish a novel.
I’m not saying she has done anything wrong. Not at all. I’m just saying — she’s living my life.
She’s living my life! Or at least the life I expected to live in the location where I expected to grow old. I am amazed at the synchronicity, the déj– vu feeling of seeing work so familiar coming from another hand, another mind.
I am dazed and shocked and suddenly aware of how far from my expected life I have wandered. Talk about the butterfly effect and Freaky Friday.
Maybe it is time I at least finished those novels I started. See if maybe I can recoup a bit of my life before the fates hand her my story ideas, too. The universe is shrinking and we are all connected. Now I’m wondering just how connected are we?