Zebras walk past the cabin along the southern fence. “What’s next?” I ask myself, “Gazelles?”
It was less than a month later that I spotted the gazelles, or at least I think they were gazelles! Some say there is no such thing as coincidence; but does there need to be a reason for everything? The zebras and gazelles are probably a bad example, as I did know exotic animals were going to be introduced behind the high fence. So let me give you another example.
In early 1998, I watched a balloon piloted by Dick Rutan and David Melton take off from Albuquerque, New Mexico, on an around-the-world attempt. I was living in Albuquerque at the time. Seeing the balloon rise above the Sandia Mountains in the early morning hours from my apartment balcony was an amazing way to start the day. Unfortunately, a gas cell ruptured not long into the flight and the pilots were forced to bail out while still in New Mexico, leaving an uncontrolled balloon still in flight.
What very few people knew was that later that day, as my mother was driving home along a highway in North Texas, that same balloon almost smashed into her car as it came to rest in a nearby field. It can be a strange world to live in sometimes. Perhaps in real life, it can be too easy to ascribe meaning where there really is none.
Experiences are important to the life of a writer, and coincidence, however meaningful or not, can have a profound impact within a story, however truthful or fictitious it may or may not be. In a written story, there must be a reason for everything.