Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Connections and Coincidences

Apologies for being MIA last week. I’ve been finishing up my first round of edits for ACID, and was in the deepest, darkest recesses of the revisions cave with only my survival kit for company. But I’m nearly done now. What will I do with myself when they’re sent off? Hmm. Tackling my TBR pile might be a good idea – if it gets any bigger, it's going to need a risk assessment. I should probably hoover, too…

Anyway, on with today’s post!

I’m fascinated by coincidences – the way seemingly random things can turn out to be connected. Perhaps this is why I’m drawn to writing fiction, as plots are all about patterns and connections (and yes, sometimes you can have coincidences in there too, although you can’t get away with too many).

I say seemingly random, though, because what if they aren’t?

For example, I grew up in an environmental studies centre in the south-east of England. Back in the 18th century, it was a private house, and it was here that the novelist Fanny Burney, described by Virginia Woolf as ‘The mother of English fiction’, met her husband.
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What about Virginia Woolf herself? Her husband, Leonard, had a sister called Bella (coincidentally, a writer too)… who was married to one of my ancestors.
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And then there’s Jane Austen (who can also be connected back to Fanny Burney, as she took the title of Pride and Predjudice from the final pages of Burney’s Cecelia). The environmental studies centre I grew up in was just a short distance from a place called Box Hill, which features in a scene in Austen’s famous novel Emma. Which is why, when I was born, my parents decided to call me Emma.
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So, three hugely influential writers, all connected to each other in some way, and all with a connection to me, also a writer (although I’ll get back to you on the influential part). And before I decided I wanted to be an author, I had no idea about any of them. You could call it coincidence, but sometimes, it makes me wonder if becoming a writer was something that was always meant to happen.

What about you? Do you have any connections like this? I’d love to hear about them!

18 comments:

  1. Spooky. *cue Twighlight Zone music*

    Maybe you're right. Maybe it was meant to be. And so you've got me wondering about coincidences. I'm going to be seeing them everywhere now . . .

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    1. Thanks, Dan! It IS spooky, isn't it? Let me know what coincidences you come across…

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  2. *jaw drops* I have author crushes on Virginia Woolf and Jane Austen. I'm in awe. Now we HAVE to hang out sometime. :)

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  3. It's SO weird, isn't it? I couldn't believe it when I found out. Now, if only some of their genius would rub off on me… :op

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  4. I love coincidences... or are they? kind of things! Ohhhh, I don't think I have any though Emma, but then I have descendants in Ireland, whose history is vague, and my maternal grandmother was adopted, so history there is vaguer than vague. Maybe I'll just make up my own spooky backstory... now there's a thought!

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    1. You never know… I had no idea about Bella Woolf until I saw our family tree! :)

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  5. Very impressive connections, Emma!

    I'm descended from Roger Conant, the founder of the infamous witch-trial town of Salem, Massachusetts, which perhaps explains why I veer toward writing spooky fiction. I also discovered a member of one of my favorite bands, They Might Be Giants, is also descended from him.

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  6. Thank you, Cat! Your connections are fascinating, especially as they're actually your ancestors (mine, sadly, are not!).

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  7. We've had a bit of synchronicity going on in our blog-posts lately, haven't we, Emma - or is that telepathy? I love this stuff - it's spookilicious!

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    1. We certainly have - it's very spookilicious indeed! I wonder what we'll come up with next week… :)

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  8. No, I have no writer connections (that I know of or have learned yet!), but this is a very cool post! I think how your parents picked your name was wonderful!

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    1. Thank you, Julia - I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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  9. Eep! I don't think you had a choice! :)

    Agatha Christie, James Joyce and Ezra Pound all lived in my 'hood, so I feel surrounded by literary greatness.

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    1. Wow, that is literary greatness indeed! :)

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  10. Emma, this is so neat! I wish I could claim *something*, but nope.

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    1. Ah, but what about the coincidences of us both having dystopians out from the same publisher, with main characters who've both been compared to the same person… spooky!

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  11. Oh, I love it! What fabulous connections! I don't have anything quite so spectacular, I'm afraid. Apparently I'm related to lots of the Kaufmans floating around in the arts, because we're a huge family, but I don't know how in most cases. I suppose the most exciting is my connection to the protagonist of THE LOST CITY OF Z, which is soon to be made into a movie -- he's a great uncle, and will be played by Brad Pitt. Does that mean I can claim a connection to Brad Pitt?

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    1. Oh, definitely! Especially if it's Brad Pitt. :)

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