Once again, “work-for-hire” assignments took up the bulk of my writing time during April and May. On the creative side, I posted only one lone piece on the Humor Outcasts website: my argument with Virginia Woolf over the nature of moths. You can find it by clicking on this title: Death to the Moth.
I did keep reading and will be sharing my thoughts on those books, short and long, in an upcoming “Month(s) of Books.” For now, though, some examples of uncanny connections and a question about coincidence.
- One of the books that I read was the 2008 debut novel by Lauren Groff (of Fates and Furies fame). The setting is Groff’s hometown of Cooperstown, NY, given the alias Templeton in the book. One of the major characters is the editor of Templeton’s newspaper, the Freeman’s Journal. A week after I finished the book, I read an article in The Writer written by “Libby Cudmore, who is the current managing editor of the Freeman’s Journal in Coopertown, NY.”
- Two weeks ago an essay promoted in “Literary Hub,” a digest of “The Best of the Literary Internet,” caught my eye. It was written by a Tom McAllister, who had taught a non-fiction workshop in the very first Philadelphia Writer’s Conference I attended. (I hadn’t thought he was a very good teacher, but he continues to get books and articles published and I continue to read them, in an annoyed kind of way.) The link took me to McAllister’s lament that none of his friends or family ever buy his books. The publishing site was “The Millions.” I had never heard of it. Two mornings later, in New Sentences, my favorite column in the Sunday New York Times Magazine, Sam Anderson featured a sentence written by Lydia Kiesling…”the editor of the website The Millions.”
- Several months ago when I was doing a Times crossword puzzle, I could not get the clue “those involved with forensics.” Crime labs didn’t fit. Coroners didn’t fit. Auditors didn’t fit. The following morning I was astonished to see that the answer was “debaters.” Debaters? What do debaters have to do with forensics? Well, those with better vocabularies than mine apparently know. In particular, David Sedaris knows. The very next day I read a piece about Sedaris in which, among other things, he shared that he likes to write speeches for high school debate teams “when they are practicing forensics,” or argumentative skills.
I have many more examples. I’ve been keeping a file. Is there some scientific explanation for these types of colliding occurrences? Is it some brain activity, like the explanation for déjà vu? Is it just a weirdly high rate of coincidences? Am I reading too much into it? Or am I just reading too much, period?
And now for something completely different…
I have to share an item from the May 2018 issue of the AARP Bulletin, page 12. It is extracted from an article distinguishing spurious health fads from genuine health fixes. Below is a clip, verbatim, describing one of the genuine fixes:
Fecal Transplant Donor stool with healthy bacteria inserted into a patient’s colon to alter the flora and treat ailments such as lupus and diabetes. “People have pooh-poohed this idea for years,” Ligresti said.
A sly piece of AARP humor, or just a tone deaf editor?