Wednesday, March 24, 2010

SERENDIPTY--OR JUST PLAIN LUCK?

This is the third time I've tried to write this post. Can this be my unlucky day? Starting in childhood, I've had a series of lucky days. I lived then where the Viking and I have retired to--the south shore Of Lake Superior. Since our village runs along the lake, there are many beaches to use. As kids, we preferred one where there was a vast sandbar stretching out into the water--mostly because neither I nor any of my girlfrinds could swim. One muggy late July day, after a bad storm the night before, four of us nine-year-olds trekked down to this beach. No adults or life-guards. Lake Superior never really warms up much, so we were on the sand as much as we were in the water. This day was hot and muggy rather than being refreshed by the storm. When some boys, mostly classmates,came by, my best friend and I waded out on the sandbar, then walked parallel to the beach, holding hands as we did. When we stepped off into water over our heads neither of us knew what happened--there'd always besn a sandbar here! I tried to hold my breath as I went down. Before i reached bottom, someone grabbed me. My impulse was to cling to whoever it was, but he wouldn't let me, hauling me up to the surface and pulling me along in the classic rescuer's hold until it was shallow enough so I could stand. I stood there gasping and coughing, watching him swim and dive down, finally realizing my friend must be under the water somewhere. I was frozen in place, sure she was drowning, but another boy--the Viking, in fact, came out and walked me back to the beach, putting my towel around my shivering shoulders. Everyone of us on the beach watched in silence as the rescuer finally surfaced and pulled my friend in like he had me. But when he reached shallow water, he had to carry her into shore. He laid her face-down, turned her head to the side and began pushing on her back. (The preferred method of that period.) Water gushed out ot her nose and mouth. Then she came to, vomited and sat up. That boy and the others were boy scouts, where they'd been taught to swim. Just two weeks before they'd learned rescuing and resuscitation. Serendipity--or luck? We did learn later that storn currents on the lake altered the borrom.
When I was till an aspiring writer, I took a writing class where the published writer instructor took only writers who wanted to be published. Two semester sessions later, he sent my finished (and edited by him) gothic ms. to his agent. Who sold it to a NY pub. My very first published book--TULE WITCH. Why did I choose that particular writing class? Serendipity--or luck?
Years later, when I was living in Upstate New York and writing for Kensington, I submitted an idea for a series of five books about five women who lived near one of the five Great Lakes. Mi editor told me to put all the stories into one book. Which I managed to do. Kensington called it Jewels Of The Heart. After the book came out, a column writer for a newspaper near the village where I grew up, emailed me and asked about the book. So I write a blurb and bio, etc. and sent it to her. She wrote a feature article about me and the book. The Viking's brother still lived in the village and he cut out the article and sent it Elmer.in Nevada. Who immediately bought the book and read it. He managed to find my phone number and called me from Nevads to ask if he was the Swedish hero in ooe of the stories. Since I never know who I base heroes on, I told him he could be. As we talked we learned both of us were either widowed or divorced . If I hadn't written the book, and all the other connections hadn't been made, it could be the Viking from my past and I would never have crossed paths again. Since we've been very happy together, how sad that would have been. Serendipity--or luck?
I was thinking about this when I wrote LADY LUCK, about how seemingly unrelated events could bring people together. Which made my story a perfect fit for the first book in Champagne's new In The Cards Tarot Series, where a Tarot card accidentally introduced into the life of a character can change it completely--my card being The Wheel of Fortune. Hope you'll look for it later in 2010. Jane

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