Sometimes I probably find meaning in things that are more appropriately classified as coincidence. I also carry the idea of webbing (for you technical educators, “concept mapping, semantic mapping, whatever”) a little crazy sometimes. Let me explain:

1. Last summer I read a bunch of books. One of them, maybe it was Stephen King’s On Writing, although I can’t be sure, made mention of Tim O’Brien’s, The Things They Carried. I kept meaning to read the book, but never did.

2. Last month, I was reading an Australian newspaper from the 1930s and came across an article about a guy named Oscar Asche. He had been an actor of some renown and then an author of a book called the Joss Sticks of Chung. Not knowing anything about Mr. Asche or joss sticks, I did some reading which led to me writing a poem about Asche and the sticks.

3. One day at work, my normal printer was not working, so I walked to the school’s library to get finish the job. While I was waiting, I looked at books that the librarian had displayed atop the book cases and there was O’Brien’s book. Of course I had to check it out, but it sat in my office for a couple of weeks. That is, until today…

4. I was totally into the book even though I couldn’t find a link to Stephen King. The story also smashed right into a discussion I recently had with other writers about creative non-fiction and whether there really is such a thing. Near the end of the book, which may or may not be about the Vietnam war, there is a direct reference to a character taking “joss sticks” from villagers.

5. Really?

My mind was swirling the rest of the day. I call things like this “cosmic collisions.” I had to put the map together, which led to another map for a character I write about in this blog named, Rory. He’s a guy who is trying to make sense of things much in much the same way I try to find meaning in these random happenings.

Maybe it’s time for Rory (or me) to burn a little incense…

2 thoughts on “Hmm…

  1. Thank you for the comment, but no, I bailed on being an English major with the diagramming sentences class. I’m always trying to connect ideas and find reasons for things. I guess the webs work for me that way.

  2. I remember reading Stephen King’s On Writing years ago, and I don’t remember if it mentioned The Things They Carried or not. But you’re making me want to read The Things They Carried and Joss Sticks of Chung.

    Are you an English major? I’m wondering because I am and when I tell me friends and family about these connections that I see they say I’m looking too much into or that it’s interesting in a somewhat skeptical tone. I’m thinking that since English majors are taught to analyze everything, we start to analyze our lives in the same way.

    Whether or not we’re over thinking it, it’s really neat to see that this same thing happens to other people. Your concept map looks awesome. I’ve made a few and they never looked so coherent. It’s a great way to organize and connect a lot of ideas.

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