Time to dig into the vault again for an old post with current relevance. Here’s something I keep running into, and it weirds me out whenever it happens. I’ll see something unusual, or read about some incident, or encounter a new word, or hear a fragment of an old song while tuning through the radio, and within a day or so, that item will be everywhere in my universe. Some people call this “synchronicity.”
Swiss psychologist and philosopher Carl Jung coined the term and saw it as an indication of a deeper order of interconnections in life, where things are linked by meaning rather than causality. He thought the phenomenon was akin to dreaming, with similar symbolic content. I think it’s a pretty cool idea, if a little unnerving when I experience it.
Just today, my brother shared a story from NBC News about lingering anti-military prejudice on college campuses. I wouldn’t have thought much about it, but it centered around one Scott Hakim, a Marine veteran studying at Rutgers who had been injured in combat in Afghanistan. A couple of days ago, I posted about a podcast by a Marine chaplain detailing his experiences while serving in Afghanistan. One of the episodes of this podcast is titled, “Finding Scott Hakim.” Yes, it’s the same guy.
Recently, I took a copy of Gregory Maguire’s novel, “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West” along with me on a trip to Korea. It had been sitting on my wife’s nightstand for two years or so, unopened, so I figured somebody ought to read it. One of the selections on my airliner’s inflight audio playlist was the complete soundtrack to the Broadway musical, “Wicked.” Walking through the streets of Seoul a few days later, I passed a theater that was hosting the international tour of “Wicked.” Coincidence? Maybe. Or perhaps it’s another example of synchronicity. Here’s my original post on the topic from 2009:
I got a rejection notice for one of my stories yesterday.
This, in and of itself, wasn’t unusual. About 70% of my submissions to date have been rejected for one reason or another. The interesting thing was one of the feedback comments. A reviewer thought I used too many adverbs.
Stay with me…I’m not complaining about the critique. The reviewer was right. The weird part is, one, nobody’s ever hit me for using too many adverbs before, and two, earlier that day, I was perusing writing books at the local mall, and every one I picked up had at least one chapter devoted to the nauseating horror of adverbs.
This is my latest experience with something called synchronicity, which Wikipedia describes as “…the experience of two or more events which are causally unrelated occurring together in a supposedly meaningful manner. In order to count as synchronicity, the events should be unlikely to occur together by chance.” It usually happens to me when I encounter a word I’ve never seen or heard before, then I spend the next two weeks tripping over it everywhere I go.
So, maybe Somebody is trying to tell me that I need to check all my stories for excessive adverb use right now, or maybe it’s just a wacky coincidence. Anyhow, I won’t be singing the Lolly Company Adverb Song again any time soon.