Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I'm sure I've blogged with this same title before, but here we go again.

I'm on a writing vacation this week.  Not a week AWAY from writing, a week OF writing.  I'd really like to get this first draft down, and the more dedicated time I can spend with it, the sooner I can finish.  Making good progress - pleased, overall - and here's that serendipitous moment that cemented my belief that this was a good move on my part.

Have you ever seen the Northern Lights?  Aurora Borealis?  (Is this a weird question?)  I live near Chicago.  Big city, bright lights = light pollution.  The Northern Lights don't happen here.  For starters, it's too far south, and then there's the whole light pollution thing.  But one time, driving to Minnesota to visit my sister, along a cloudy highway at night, I could see flashes of color between the dark clouds that tried to hide them from me.  A small glimpse, but a glimpse all the same.

In the story I'm writing now, I pulled from that minor experience and expanded on it.  My hero has a flash that reminds him of the Northern Lights.  I've given him the requisite background to have had that opportunity.  I wrote that chapter last week.  Last night, the news was all about solar flairs and a solar tsunami that was triggering the Aurora Borealis as far south as Illinois and Ohio.  Go figure!  So last night, I went out to my back yard in the dark and stared up at a clear, starry sky, looking for the waves of color.  It might be useful to point out that we are between storms that have been dropping several inches of rain at a time, so this is a window that I was not expecting to have.  But there it was.  A clear, starry night, and with it, flashes.  Not waves of color like I'd been expecting to see - I'm in Illinois, after all, but flashes of light like lightning in a clear sky.  Maybe if I had stayed out longer I might have found some color, after the neighbors turned out their lights and went to bed, after the world went to sleep, but somehow, with streetlights and city lights nearby and living on the far edges of the range of this magnificent phenomenon, I'm thinking that might have been wishing for too much.  All the same, what are the odds that I'd write about the Northern Lights (in the first place) and that they'd choose this exact time to manifest themselves IN ILLINOIS (in the second place)?

Karma?  Coincidence?  They tell you coincidences should be limited in your writing since it stretches that line between belief and disbelief, but when life jumps in and throws a coincidence like this at you, do you discount it all and say "nah, I don't buy it"?  Not me.  I prefer to view it as divine intervention.  Maybe I've already gushed on my blog about how excited I am about the story I'm writing right now.  I'm slogging through the hard parts that make it work instead of fun, but I'm loving the story just the same.  To see just this small part of it happen in real life, for me, acts as reinforcement that this is a story worth writing and somewhere, somehow, someone is validating my decision to write it.  (Thanks, God!)

So now, if you'll excuse me, I have a story to write!  That's why I'm on vacation, after all!

No comments:

Post a Comment