One definition of karma is an action or deed which causes an entire cycle of cause and effect. Serendipity is good luck in making fortunate and unexpected discoveries. We have had a combination of both in the last few years and in our journey to meet our agent. My daughter and I have written a book together and are working to get it published. Before I tell you the fascinating tale of our agent, let me wax on (literary term) about writing for a bit. I know that there must be hundreds and hundreds of books that have been written but never published, laying around in drawers, on old floppy disks (remember those?) and on hard drives. But never published. Never read by an agent. Never sent to a publisher. It is hard, hard work to move a good idea or a burning need to write onto paper, day in and day out, writing, writing, writing. It is equally hard to find an agent by presenting a well-written proposal only to turn around and re-write the proposal again and again until it is ready to go out to a publisher. The majority of new authors or academic authors write in their time between (paid) work and family. I think it is alot easier to let a good idea or a somewhat completed book languish in the recesses of a dark hole somewhere than do all the hard work to get something published. The good news is that we signed with an agent October 1st in New York City. It was amazing and more than exciting. We spent a full year of work preparing all that was requested for this next step in the process of publishing a book. Now for the karma/serendipity part of the story.
We flew out to New York to meet with our agent with anticipation and a strange feeling of coming full circle. New York was a place of great hope for Linea. She first went there as a high school senior, singing with a college ensemble at an international jazz festival. While in Chicago majoring in music performance her goals were centered in New York. There were many actions in the next few years causing an entire cycle of cause and effect. She became ill and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She took a medical leave from school and was hospitalized. She returned to school and was hospitalized again. She fought and struggled and somehow was able to stay upright while trying to manage this new and insidious illness. Linea transferred universities and will graduate this year with a degree in English and creative writing as well a three years of credits towards a degree in music performance. After all of this, we were in New York City in the fall of 2009. As we followed the directions to our agent's office in Union Square Linea pointed to a bench in the park directly outside of the office. "I called you from there, crying", she said. "Remember?
I remember. It was her last year in Chicago. She and three friends flew to New York City. It was the week after Christmas and husband Curt and I had gone to the remote and beautiful Ucluelet on the Pacific Rim Trail on western Vancouver Island, British Columbia. It is a place as far west as you can get in North America. While in NYC Linea had her wallet stolen with all her identification, money and her credit and debit cards. She was barely well and didn't need any additional stress in her life. I was frightened for her as I stood in the pouring rain and the exact spot in order to get cell phone coverage while she cried from over 3,000 miles away. Yet she stayed steady and her friends stayed by her side as she filed a report with the NYC police and did all the trivial and complicated details involved in losing one's identify and money. Two years later we were in New York, signing a contract with an agent for a book about this journey, not twenty feet from where she had called me. Sometimes you just have to believe that there is a bigger plan for each of us. I have said to Linea so many times, "Trust the Universe." Even times when I didn't have much faith left myself but somehow I still had a tiny speck of curiousity and hope about what might come next. Sometimes I just had to believe in impossible things.
While we were in NYC we made a quick trip through Central Park. We came across the beautiful bronze sculpture of Alice in Wonderland, commissioned by George Delacorte and unveiled in 1959. Linea has always loved Alice in Wonderland. For about two months around age five she would only answer to "Alice". She knew most of the lines from the 1985 movie.
Alice laughed. "There's no use trying, "she said. "One can't believe impossible things."
"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast" (Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll, 1865).
Karma? Serendipity? I never want to quit believing in impossible things.