My Bibliography

Friday, 27 January 2012

Message from the Universe?

People say that things happen for a reason.  Sometimes we don’t know exactly what and sometimes they take a while to become obvious - or maybe sometimes its just coincidence. 

In one of my writing classes a while back I found myself sitting next to an old roommate of mine that I hadn’t seen since I first moved to Vancouver twenty years ago, one of a set of twins (the other sister who’d changed her name from Shannon to Shaman, insisting she was a witch back then and now a single mom).  Back in those days she (the good twin) was fun and light-hearted, a bit new age, delightfully quirky, but in her relative maturity you could just tell that she was still in search of herself; not wanting to share anything with the class, having read every self-help book under the sun and saying things like, “I choose not to,” the only thing shared and emphasised was of her European heritage (as did the instructor incidentally, who didn’t have a clue about anything outside of the formulaic aspects of writing, but that’s another story) but of course her heritage was like five generations removed and I happen to know that she came from a small backwater back east, but never had she told me that she was Swiss before in all the time that I lived with her... oh yeah, and they were romany gypsies, apparently... very exotic.

At the end of that class I offered her a ride to her car, during which there was a very awkward monosyllabic response to everything I asked (I’ve had more out of complete strangers in the line up at Safeway actually, and I don’t talk to nobody).  Turns out she had parked near the skytrain station, but down a dark, desolate maze of streets that despite being in the centre of the city I didn’t even know existed, the kind of place you see in movies where there are old abandoned warehouses and suspicious freshly dug holes, the kind of bleak place encompassed by unpromising fences where even the water beyond, normally a delight, looks ominous, and with no way out ‘cept the way ya came in.  And, surprisingly, a place where she’d forfeited her safety to save a couple of bucks extra for parking costs in town to take her life in her hands by walking half a mile through to go get the skytrain to college (one stop away).

But serendipitous, I thought; here's someone that wants to be a writer, something we never knew about the other way back when, and that I could perhaps now enjoy the company of during my writing journey instead of just having online connections; enthusiastically telling her of the various writing sites I belong to, the cafĂ©’s that accommodate strange folks like us writers that might be nice to go to.  But no, she never did come to another class, despite telling me that she would see me next time, never did call.

I’ve spent all this time wondering why we should have encountered each other after two decades only to go our separate ways yet again.  Now I think I know; like me back then, she was shy and awkward, but probably never changed.  It made me realise though that I have; becoming completely open; private as I was most of my life; quiet, shy, a thinker, unable to emote, something it took an elderly dog to elicit from me.  No, I’ve moved on, found a place for my strange introspective by putting it into the characters in my books, but I can only think that she regressed, still searching and perhaps realising that writing wasn’t her saviour after all, yet another waste of money... going through life with declarations of choosing not to? 

Of course it could just be that when I got a call the other day from someone I call my Chinese Mom, to say that she’d been towed (a deliciously eccentric and complete control freak that insists she knows everything, even to general contractors and the like) and could I come and get her?  And when I did, she had no idea, except a general indication, as to where the impound lot was, yet trying to direct me into a land of new expensive condos that a small country would swap their asses for.  And so I was driving blind in rush hour in the centre of the city, but the name of the street was Industrial Road, no way, thought I, would people spend millions on condos in this city and be next door to an impound lot let alone allow their street to be called something like that.

“No,” I said, for once insisting, “I think I know where it will be.”

And sure enough....

Incidentally, the street looked just as desolate in the daylight.  But funny how things turn out: coincidence or not, I know there’s a message from the universe in there somewhere.


  1. I love 'messages from the Universe'. I don't think there are ever coincidences. But I agree with you, sometimes it's difficult to work out what the hell the meaning is meant to be.

  2. Here's another one Claire, after a few hours out, coming back and seeing no email, as soon as I logged onto this page, I received yours to say you had left a message here. Coincidence? LOL.

  3. Personally, I believe in coincidence. It can seem like fate but I don't really believe in fate. I believe, of course, that every step we ever take brings us to our present moment in time...but that's just logical, because our present moment IS the moment we're in, and there's nothing we can do to change it once we're in it. :P

  4. I think whatever choice we make is our fate, for how can it not be? Although I think I have to believe in both serendipity and coincidence alongside each other, for certain things happen just at the right time too often for me to think there can't be something more. I also believe that regardless the length or nature of any encounter with anyone that that person has left a message of some description with us. Whether that was meant to be... who knows, but interesting, the different outlooks on it. Thanks Trisha.


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