It's a sign!
My mother says I put an eccentric amount of faith in 'signs.' Like the Bedlington terrier at the park who got me writing again. Or the fact that when I fell off a horse 18 months ago, it was due to an imaginary dog. "Where'd the dog go?" I asked when I regained my feet, referring to the big black and brown dog that ran out and spooked my horse. "There is no dog," answered my friend.
There is no dog? Really? But I'm writing a book with that title...
I went through a period during which the numbers 20-20 came up together all the time. At the supermarket (total bill: £20.20), the airport (flight number 2020 or departure time 20:20), and of course on clocks. It felt relentless for about eight months and then disappeared. What was that about? Clarity, maybe? Twenty twenty vision? Or nothing?
There was the woman who told me to 'buy that hat, it will change your life.' And I did buy the hat and it did change my life.
Look, Mom. None of this makes me a cranky weirdo fanatic, like someone out of Life of Brian shouting "it's a sign! It's a miracle!" Really, it doesn't.
For one thing, I don't believe in signs, as such. But I am interested in them, and certainly interested enough to observe them when they happen to pop up. Given that the majority of my writing takes place at the edges of reality, where what is strictly 'real' and 'not real' gets a bit blurry, it would be kind of strange if I didn't.
And yes, I'm somewhat superstitious as well. I don't walk under ladders and I do salute magpies and if there happen to be three squares on the pavement in a row, I'll only step on two. Not that I think something dire will happen if I walk under a ladder. But given that the closest I get to religious faith is a profound belief in bagels and lox, surely I need some way to structure the unknown?
p.s. if you like these magpies (and I do, very much), go to this blog and check out the rest of this guy's work.