One of the things I love about the creative act of writing, is the way memories or images float into my mind and reveal themselves in ways that connect an old memory/image to a new idea. This synchronicity amazes me and is a theme that often appears in my writing. Bridget O’Leary, my protagonist, often says, “I don’t believe in coincidence,” and neither do I.
I grew up in Arizona and have vivid memories of the day Manuela, my new friend in 6th grade, pulled 2 Sugar Skulls out of her lunchbox and handed one to me. She told me her grandma made dozens of the colorful candy skulls to decorate the altar for Dia de los Muertos (day of the dead). She pointed to a small crack in each of our skulls and grinned, “I got to take these two because they weren’t pretty enough for the angelito’s.”
That was my introduction to Dia de los Muertos, sugar skulls, and the tradition of celebrating a day when all deceased children (angelitos or little angels) are reunited with their families in heaven. In some families, the name of a deceased child is written on a sugar skull.
While writing my book, Dead Day, I flashed on the memory of Manuela, sugar skulls, and Day of the Dead, Dia de los Muertos. The result was a scene in the book with a serial killer who is taunting Dr. Bridget O’Leary by sending several sugar skulls to her office. The pretty skulls arrive with anonymous notes threatening that others will die before Dead Day, the day at the end of a college semester when students are studying for their final exams. This ignites Bridget’s passion for protecting her college campus and she embarks on a terrifying journey to find the killer before more students are murdered.
I am fascinated by seemingly random experiences that connect past experiences with the present. I am curious, have you experienced synchronicity in your life? Do you think it is prevalent for people who engage in creative activities? Let me know your thoughts.