When The Story Keeps Coming To You

I’ve written about this before, but a certain phenomenon that has happened to me multiple times in the midst of writing projects is happening again and it compels me to consider its possible significance.

I don’t know if this has happened to other writers. I’ve never read about it or had a conversation with a writer on this phenomenon.

The phenomenon is: I begin writing on a subject, and then I immediately begin randomly encountering books, music and people related to the subject and these encounters always work their way into the project. It occurred during writing books about Astoria, rain, dogs, the Portland Trail Blazers and the Yaquina Bay Bridge.

It’s happening now with the writing of a Christmas tale where communism is involved.

Everywhere I look I discover literature related to socialism, labor unions and communism. For example, today in two street libraries, I found an obscure history of the Russian Revolution and a memoir about a priest administering to political prisoners in the Gulag. Two days ago, in another street library, I found an incredible collection of short stories called Love of Worker Bees by Alexandra Kollontai, a contemporary and colleague of Lenin and Trotsky who was cast out via sexism after the revolution and went onto some notoriety as a writer. And then two months, I came across the writing of Rachel Kushner and one of her novels, The Flamethrowers, about the wild antics of the Italian communists in the 1970s. All of these books are working their way into my stories. I half expect to find Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book in a street library the next time I go browsing!

Is it because I am writing about something that I somehow see books differently? I’ve patronized thrift stores, library sales, street libraries for years and never run across such exotic Left wing-tinged literature as I have the past week. Is it a cosmic coincidence?