Brains and Bones

Three years ago last February I planned a trip to Italy with my friend Jenny. Our trip theme was Ten Days, Ten Pounds, and I started a blog about it. But she couldn't go because she had to have brain surgery instead.

NOT a hip fracture... technically.
I am turning that blog into a book, reliving the drama and the trauma... and just as I was just putting the finishing touches on it, I got a call from my mom, crying out in pain with what turned out to be a broken leg. Less than a month before we leave for Italy to celebrate her 80th birthday!

Clearly, I'm cursed. Do NOT plan a trip to Italy with me! I felt the double whammy of superstition on top of bad luck, and as I sat with her in the hospital, talked to her doctors, and set about the task of "travel repair," I tried and tried in the back of my mind to convince myself mom’s accident had nothing to do with me, and Italy is not actually out to get me and my loved ones.

But here’s the thing: In The Vesuvian Affair, the supernatural romance I wrote that was inspired by my trip, something happens to the traveling companion of the main character: she breaks her leg!

So I’m creeped out and wondering: am I a good writer, or what?

The metaphysician in me, the one who knows The Secret and the dark side of The Secret, (and The Twilight Zone of course) wonders: am I inventing reality somehow, or are these just eerie coincidences? Life is so full of eerie coincidences, isn’t it? I got in touch with a certain flow of big magic on that trip I took alone, aware of how we weave the universe with our thoughts and feelings, a synchronicity that comes more clearly into focus during travel and times of distress.

Art imitates life imitates art
And here, while planning this trip to Italy in the past months, I've also been editing editing editing a book that involves many trips to a hospital, and the anxiety of seeing a loved one in danger. I have poured this story into so many publishing formats, and wrestled to place these photographs so many times that I can’t help but wonder: is my obsession on this story manifesting itself somehow?

I mean, I just wrote a book on bullying, and now we're all victims.

It’s magical thinking, I know! That we can make things happen with our thoughts. But there is something to the way thoughts manifest. I have watched the world change, in the past few decades, from a world in which children see gun violence in clearer and clearer detail through movies and video games, into a world where children use guns in real life. All the time. Even I, who used to flinch at the sound of gunshots on TV, now feel like blood and guts are normal to see splattered all over prime time drama.

But how can we make art exploring evil without calling forth evil?

Clearly, I'm over thinking this. I'm a bit stressed out at the moment.

But just in case it is true that the universe is that responsive to our thoughts, my next book after this is definitely going to be about something awesome happening in the world.

Okay enough. I can't go thinking it's all about me when there's someone I love who needs help learning to walk again. Italy's magic is powerful, and so many people have consoled me, reminded me, over the past few weeks, that "life is just like that," and "things like this happen more often than you think."

Sophia Loren said, “Se non hai mai pianto, i tuoi occhi non possono essere belli.” If you haven’t cried, your eyes can’t be beautiful. So I must be getting more and more beautiful every day!

Upcoming Readings:

  • Saturday, June 16, Laurel Bookstore - CWC Author Book Launch featuring The Vesuvian Affair
  • Saturday, July 7, Villa Il Palmerino, Florence - Saturation featuring Ten Days, Ten Pounds


Why did John Malkovich Cross the Road?

I am actually asking.

I saw him enter the crosswalk in front of me on Sunday. I said, "Hello John Malkovich" and waved and smiled. He looked up, waved and smiled. Went on his way.

And I thought, wow—

I wonder what's going through his head right now?

He looked like this. But with a smile.