Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Incidence of Coincidence

Still thinking of the passage of years, I wonder what are the odds that someone I knew for only a year in second grade (and haven't been in touch with at all) would pop back into my life fifty plus years later, and halfway around the globe, and we’d turn out to be living in the same neighborhood.

I know, this is “too improbable.”

Well, it happened to me.


Here we are in second grade. We were good friends living on a tree-lined street in a lovely neighborhood in west Jerusalem.

And here we are a short time ago having coffee two continents away in our lovely neighborhood cafĂ©, on the west coast of the United States, and what-da-y’know, also on a tree-lined street.


If I get another rejection to my fiction novel where the editor says the coincidences in my story are improbable, I’d have to point to this blog-post and add a few even more striking “improbables” from my life. I can document them all.


Fiction has nothing on real life when it comes to the amazing weave that is the fabric of our lives.


I’d love to hear about your improbable incidences, and no need to call them coincidences.



18 comments:

  1. I always say that reality is better than fiction. I know I've experienced improbably incidents, but of course I can't think of any now.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Come back and share when you remember, or-- better yet-- find a way to insert it into your writing.

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  2. Once I was phoning M at the same time that he was phoning me. My phone never rang; I had what sounded like a dead line. Meanwhile M could hear me clearing my throat (distinctively musically; I kind of hum) and he knew it was me. There was no special reason to call each other at the time, but we had the same idea simultaneously.

    I'm sure there are lots of others.

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    1. I've had this happen, minus hearing or being heard. :D

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  3. What a wonderful coincidence! And yes, I've heard of others who got that same explanation from editors.. I'll have to give some thought to see if there are any recent coincidences of my own.

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    1. I've had a lot of feedback that said a certain feeling or aspect of a relationship was unrealistic. Only they were, because *I have been there.* But the rejection of providential occurrences is a modern bias, I think.
      It may also be a failure of the writing to create a story/characters whose logic overcomes this bias toward belief in randomness.

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  4. Replies
    1. The rejection of providential occurrences is a modern bias, I think.
      But they DO happen.

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  5. Not quite as amazing as your experience, but when I was on a train in France with my son and college-age daughter, she ran into two classmates of hers from college.

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  6. I've found the things in my books that readers question are the things I wrote from personal experience. Real life is full of unexpected and improbable things.

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    1. There's a series on netflix called Srugim. (Recommended, BTW.) The creator said in an interview that he held back on some plotlines he wanted to insert that really happened to him in real life, because of feedback that it would make the series' plot un-credible. One such incident happened the day before before his wedding. At the synagogue he had candies thrown at him from the women's balcony above, as a sort of blessing, which apparently is a custom of congratulating the groom to be. One of the candies hit his eye and caused a black eye. Folks looked at him funny the next day at the wedding. ;)
      He did insert a candy-throwing scene from the synagogue's balcony onto one of the characters, but omitted the hit in the eye. It happened, but couldn't be acceptable in fiction.

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  7. So true. Life is full of strange coincidences that would never hold up in a story.

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    1. And this begs the question-- WHY wouldn't they hold up in fiction?
      I suppose when writing a realistic story we're asked to keep out the the unlikely. But then, where's the story?

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  8. Not a coincidence, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau jogged by the house we were renting on a remote dirt road last week... Blog post to follow:)

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    1. I'm looking forward to reading about it, like all your posts. He's one handsome politician.

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  9. Oh now I want to know the REST of the story, like how did you meet up and know you two were who you were? I've got a few crazy coincidences in my life too. Those kinds of things are pretty amazing.

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    1. The rest of the story, and many others, are in fact in bits and pieces of my fiction. I just need someone to believe the incedences are possible...

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