There are also things, quite uncanny, which bring me information that will help me in the writing of the book.
In this case, I was writing a story that included some kind of detail, period of history, a certain location.
And I needed to find something historically that would match that.
And I took down this book, and I -- first page that I flipped it to was exactly the setting, and the time period,
and the kind of character I needed was the Taiping rebellion,
happening in the area near Guilin, outside of that, and a character who thought he was the son of God.
You wonder, are these things random chance?
Well, what is random? What is chance? What is luck?
What are things that you get from the universe that you can't really explain?
And that goes into the story, too. These are the things I constantly think about from day to day.
Especially when good things happen, and, in particular, when bad things happen.
But I do think there's a kind of serendipity, and I do want to know what those elements are,
so I can thank them, and also try to find them in my life.
Because, again, I think that when I am aware of them, more of them happen.
Another chance encounter is when I went to a place
I just was with some friends, and we drove randomly to a different place,
and we ended up in this non-tourist location, a beautiful village, pristine.
And we walked three valleys beyond, and the third valley, there was something quite mysterious and ominous, a discomfort I felt.
And then I knew that had to be setting of my book.
And in writing one of the scenes, it happened in that third valley.
For some reason I wrote about cairns -- stacks of rocks -- that a man was building.
And I didn't know exactly why I had it, but it was so vivid.
I got stuck, and a friend, when she asked if I would go for a walk with her dogs, that I said, sure.
And about 45 minutes later, walking along the beach, I came across this.
And it was a man, a Chinese man, and he was stacking these things, not with glue, not with anything.
And I asked him, "How is it possible to do this?"
And he said, "Well, I guess with everything in life, there's a place of balance."
And this was exactly the meaning of my story at that point.
I had so many examples -- I have so many instances like this, when I'm writing a story, and I cannot explain it.
Is it because I had the filter that I have such a strong coincidence in writing about these things?
Or is it a kind of serendipity that we cannot explain, like the cosmological constant?