Friday, January 14, 2011

Synchronicity


"I... believe in an everyday sort of magic -- the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art and the like; the eerie appropriateness of moments of synchronicity...." Charles de Lint
This past week a friend of mine had a baby. She was born on 1/11/11, at 3:03 pm, and weighed 5 lbs 15 oz. Numbers tend to flit by me rather like sparrows in the park, (oh look, it's a bird) and I totally missed the way they lined up until another friend pointed it out. Two days ago, as I was struggling to break free of a sticky section of the novel I'm revising, I discovered that not one, not two, but three of my online writer friends were all stuck on the same page of their corresponding works in progress. The fact that it was Page 13 we were all struggling with is another weird little piece of reality.

Synchronicity? Maybe. According to Marie Louise von Franz, Synchronicity…means a ‘meaningful coincidence’ of outer and inner events that are not themselves causally connected. The emphasis lies on the word ‘meaningful’.

It's highly possible that a bunch of writers all stuck at the beginning of a work in progress isn't meaningful - hell, we're always stuck somewhere. And I doubt that my friend's baby is going to grow up to be some super heroine or Messianic figure or any such thing. Still, as I travel through time I find these weird little clusters of events fascinating.

Why am I blogging about synchronicity during Time week? Well, if there was no time there could be no synchronicity. That said, time as measured in the modern world has always seemed like an artificial construct to me. I have learned to abide by its rules so I can function in a world where everything happens according to a clock and a calendar, but it isn't easy. Synchronicity on the other hand, makes total sense: apparently random events intersect at a certain point in time and something significant changes because of it. Like De Lint, I find this magical, and I am usually filled with delight when I notice the synchronicities in my world.

Not always.

Marcella posted yesterday about the days where you are "the windshield" and the ones where you are "the bug." See - I hate those bug days, because it seems I've walked into some little patch of time where everything is just off. You know the days I mean - the ones where everything happens just a few minutes too early or a few minutes too late, you feel like you're missing something all day long, and the result is total chaos. The absence of synchronicity, or asynchronicity, if you will. Everybody has those days. What we usually say is something like "my timing is off" or "I'm running behind."

Maybe we're not. Maybe Destiny is involved, and these are the times when we are meant to slow down, when we are fighting a course of events designed to put us somewhere where we are meant to be at the time we are meant to be there. My logical brain resists this idea, my creative side embraces it.

For certain when we write, we play the role of Destiny, directing our characters toward their inevitable fate. Here's another quote, this time from Terry Pratchett:

"And if you want the story, then remember that a story does not unwind. It weaves. Events that start in different places and different times all bear down on that one tiny point in space-time, which is the perfect moment." ~Thief of Time

Art echoes life, life echoes art, and who is to say that reality doesn't work this way as well?

I leave you with a clip from the movie INK, which demonstrates this fascinating process much better than I could ever do with words:




Photo Image by pschubert

13 comments:

  1. I had a moment doing NaNoWriMo for the second time thinking why on earth do I need to do this *again*? But I hang up at about 13,000 words--both times. What I realized this year is that this marks the end of the first quarter. I have fun establishing the premise and setting the stage, and then I need a pause to enact it. So I like your thought that the out-of-synch sensation is an opportunity to regroup and get ready for the next stage.

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  2. "Time as an artificial construct"

    Stories that revolve around this notion are what initially drew me to the Sci-Fi and Alt History genres. I can daydream for endless hours about breaking through that barrier.

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  3. Fascinating post. I've definitely had those days when I just couldn't my gears to mesh (haven't we all?). I like your way of looking at it, though. Turns it from an obstacle into an opportunity. :)

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  4. Ann Marie - I do believe that to be true - especially with writing. Sometimes it doesn't flow simply because I'm lazy. But other times I really do need to wait for all of the elements to align before moving on.

    KAK - Yep. This is one reason I love Sci Fi and Fantasy as well. I've often wondered if there is some sort of truth behind the myth of Adam and Eve being cursed as they left the garden. Maybe at some point way, way back in prehistory there was no time, and then something changed. If you think of time as the 4th dimension, it makes a sort of sense.

    Linda G. - it certainly helps me navigate those asynchronous days. It used to be when I'd wake up and just 'feel' that stickiness I'd get agitated, and things would continue to get worse and worse throughout the day. Sometimes now, if I try, I can take a deep breath, tell myself this is how it is meant to be, and let go of my agenda. Sometimes, on those days, I'm surprised to discover a lovely alternate day waiting for me - just not the one I'd planned.

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  5. Beautiful post, Kerry! Very meditative.

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  6. I love this week's Word Whore posts, & this is another totally lovable one. I often find myself thinking of time, space, place so this is especially fun for me.

    Thanks

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  7. Johanna - glad you liked!
    John - Time has been a fun topic - I can't wait to see what we're writing about next week. Seriously. I have to go look, lol. Thanks for coming by to read. : )

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  8. Synchronicity fascinates me as well. What strikes me most is that I may go for months without thinking of it. Then an event will stir my memories that, oh yes, things like this happen, and when they do I should pay attention. Once that consciousness switch is flipped, I become aware of more and more of these events in my life, and they come to shape that period of my development.

    Before you mentioned it here, it had been a while since it crossed my mental landscape. I wonder what will happen now.

    And, of course, I can't leave without linking to this song, which is now running through my head.

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  9. Love the idea - reminds me not to resist so much and go with the flow. ;-)

    Also reminds me of "Synchronicity I" & "II" by the Police. "Synchronicity I" is now stuck in my head. :-)

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  10. Laura - Yeah - John was complaining of the same thing, lol. I told him there are worse earworms than the Police.

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  11. I truly believe in letting the Universe deliver on its on schedule. The only time I screw up is when I try to force it to follow mine. I'm learning!

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  12. Jeffe...truer words were never written.

    Kerry, there are no bad Police worms! ;-)

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  13. Most days I do believe things happen for a reason...even if it's not one we can fathom at the time. I suspect there's a very large picture...and most of us are far too close to it to really grasp it. (Or we're just looking at one tiny piece of it).

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