Superstition

I’m generally a rational person. I don’t believe in any gods. I walk under ladders with a smile. If a black cat crosses my path, I’ll try to stroke it (but then I never could ignore a kitty).

And yet there is one absurd belief that I can’t quite shake. No matter how much I try to deny it, some part of me is convinced that the things I write will happen. Not exactly as I write them (which would be damned handy) but… similar.

Incident #1 – Car Accidents

I wrote a short story. It was a fairly quiet, reflective piece about a man walking through his memories, eventually coming back to the present he was avoiding. Nothing groundbreaking, nothing notable – but it was the second short story I’d written within a few months that hinged around a car crash.

Not long after this, I was involved in a car crash.

Just a coincidence, right? Except I wrote about two car crashes. And a few weeks later, a driver in too much of a hurry overtook the replacement car my insurance company had given me and then stopped in front of me. Crash number two.

Incident #2 – Money

But I’m a rational man. I was shaken and it was a weird coincidence, but it didn’t mean anything. So I decided to try something, with my walking-under-ladders carefree attitude – if the stuff I write comes true, why not write something good happening?

I started a new story. It was a silly piece that never got beyond a few thousand words – a boy finds a bag full of money stuffed in a hedge. I didn’t find any bags of money – but I did get a refund cheque from my car insurance company for £350 (which was very useful at the time). I hadn’t expected it; there’d been a mix-up of some sort over the second (replacement) car accident, and they apparently owed me more than they’d paid for the first accident.

I filed my story in progress and never went back to it.

Incident #3 – COVID-19

I am really, really sorry, everyone. COVID was my fault.

I was looking for a new writing project a few years ago, and came across a number of short stories I’d written that, if you squinted a bit, had a linking theme. I adapted those ideas into a full novel, which is now being redrafted. One of my ideas here was that some sinister organisation was behind all four of these strange events, but why?

The obvious answer – they were biological weapons, a man-made plague that would destroy the world.

I was working on fixing the plot and making everything fit together better when the pandemic struck.

It’s too late to stop it now. I may as well finish this novel off – whatever is going on, it only seems to work once per story.

The Future?

I can’t just stop writing. It would be absurd. I know that my writing isn’t really affecting reality. But still… I wonder. I recently wrote a short story about deadly rain causing mass suicides, and I can only hope the people of Sweden are spared the fate I wrote for them.

But maybe I should try writing a few fun and silly stories for a change…

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