Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Sign From Above

by Hannah

Our group is nothing if not practical. We set rules, meet regularly, maintain constant contact. We are serious students of this craft and business. Yet we all openly admit to a belief in the otherwordly when it comes to writing. There are days when the Muse is scarce, and those when she zaps us with what Therese Fowler calls writing magic.

Our practical little group believes in signs with all our hearts. Lisa, Amy and Lynne all have received tangible encouragement from the powers that be, the most amazing of which was a letter found in an antique shop inscribed with a character's name. For the longest time, I was disappointed. No signs for me. Oh, sure, the Muse would appear with a blast of (much appreciated!) writing magic, but there was nothing I could hold onto as a talisman of hope. Then, overwhelmed for several days by paying work and family schedules and not writing, I received this at the end of a Chinese restaurant meal:

"Take the chance while you still have the choice."

I started to make time, here and there, dribs and drabs. A week or so later, I received this:

"Chance favors those in motion."

More writing, every day, and I earned this:

"You're transforming yourself into someone who is certain to succeed."

I taped the three fortunes on the plastic bookmark in my schedule book, the one I look at every day when figuring out where the kids have to be and what my boss needs. I started to touch the story again -- think, write, edit -- every day, and that excitement began to bubble, when you know, just know, you're doing something well. The Muse took notice.

I had finagled my daughter out the door for a second time after much drama. I had cleared my morning to write. I knew what I wanted to do, how the words would flow. As I stood at the end of the driveway, watching the approach of the yellow bus with eager anticipation, ready to Be A Writer, a bird pooped on my head.

So here's one last thought on signs. They exist, and you can make of them what you wish. Amy, Lisa and Lynne say that it's good luck to be pooped upon, especially if you haven't yet taken your morning shower. I choose to believe them. Next time, though, I'd rather get a message in a cookie.


kristen spina said...

What a wonderful post. I agree, I'd rather get a message in a cookie than in a bird dropping. I have, however, been the recipient of both. The poop, sadly, too many times to count, the cookie, once, bearing this important news:

You are a lover of words, someday you will write a book.

Talk about getting hit over the head with it! Ah well, as Amy said yesterday, "we shall see..."

Anonymous said...

Which is certainly another tenet of the Writer's Group faith! We do need both the practical and the magical, don't we? Cookies never lie, bird poop is good luck, and if you sit at the keyboard and write, it will happen!


Judy Merrill Larsen said...

What a great post, Hannah. It seems to me that so much of the writing life (and perhaps life in general) is in simply noticing the signs--whether they be in a cookie or in a bird dropping.

p.s. and, be glad the bird poop didn't come in the cookie!

Anonymous said...

Oh, hadn't even considered that possibility! And I do believe you can make what you will of signs to some degree. What some may see as a cosmic raspberry, others see as a challenge or a wink from above, yes?


Therese said...

Hannah, I love this post! It, and some of the comments, above, made me laugh.

One of my "signs" is that the bottom of my left foot itches ahead of new deals, no joke! But it only itches after I get into bed, and stops before I fall asleep.

It itched regularly for months before SOUVENIR sold at auction, and has since been itchy now and then prior to new foreign and audio sales. (In fact, it's been itching for the past two nights--so we'll soon see if it really proves out or is just a strange coincidence).

The fortune cookie message I saved reads "You will enjoy good health, you will be surrounded by luxury." And there's a smiley face at both the beginning and end of the quote. Hope that doesn't mean it's a joke!

Melissa Amateis said...

LOL! The bird pooping on the head - I wasn't expecting to read that.
Lovely post, as always. :-)

Shauna Roberts said...

I got a good laugh out of your post. I'm a sign watcher, too, but my fortune cookies have not been as encouraging as yours. As for the bird poop--if it shook you out of Standard Operating Procedure and roused your emotions, it was probably good for your writing!

Lisa said...

I think, as Judy said, we all see signs if only we keep our eyes open for them. Pessimism and worry are the killers because we'll always see what we're looking for and miss the good signs because we're not paying attention. I "see" encouraging signs and receive inspiration all the time -- frequently from The Writers Group!

Maddy said...

What a suspicious [or should that be superstitious?] lot you are!
Maybe I should send you some of the temporary tattoos - you could rub them onto the back of your hands to inspire you whilst you tap away.
Best wishes

Anonymous said...

McEwen, superstitious? Have you read the story about the envelope?! Geesh...Now spit three times and turn counter-clockwise.


Larramie said...

To my way of thinking, Hannah, you received a "double whammy" of good fortune! ;o)

And, please, will someone explain about the envelope?

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Here it is, Larramie:

Sorry you have to cut-n-paste, but I don't know how to make it hot.


Anonymous said...

Just got a chance to get back on - I should have linked Amy's earlier post, sorry! That's the best one I've ever heard of, although I like the itchy foot, Therese! As Judy and Lisa said, maybe it's just a matter of paying attention.