4 Days, 9 Signs from the Universe
On a Wednesday in April, I was getting ready to travel from California to New York to pitch literary agents on The Possibility Book at the Writer’s Digest Conference, and feeling fearful. Not about the literary agents.
Worries about dying in a plane crash, being far away from my kids when they need me or getting lost and mugged in an unfamiliar city were far scarier than the possibility of being rejected by a literary agent.
But ultimately I didn’t want to add to my collection of coulda-shoulda-wouldas by canceling the trip, so at 4 a.m., so I kissed my sleeping boys goodbye, left them in the care of their loving dad and drove myself to the San Francisco Airport. Browsing one of the bookstores there, I spotted this:
This quotation also jumped out at me: “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.”
As the writer of a book about positive messages, I had to smile at discovering these timely and relevant words from Jane Austen.
Thanks to Knock Knock, the company that created the journal, for the reassurance at the right moment. (I love discovering companies that have products with positive messages. Knock Knock puts “the fun in functional” and adds colorful content to otherwise boring stuff like journals, sticky-notes, file folders and manilla envelopes.)
Thursday, April 4
With one day to play tourist before the conference began, I walked from the Upper West Side to Times Square and back. The first serendipity of the day: stumbling by happenstance upon the Imagine memorial to John Lennon in Central Park.
Finding this by chance when I didn’t even know it existed felt like living a high-definition movie where the creators have decided to give the main character precisely what she needs, when she needs it.
Flashbacks… years before, I had been inspired to begin writing what is becoming The Possibility Book by a quote about imagination from Albert Einstein spotted on the wall of a cafe, which led me to buy a necklace from Kathy Bransfield that says “Imagine,” and going farther back in time, when my son was a baby, someone gave him a crib mobile that played the song Imagine, which made me realize how much I loved that song, which led me to say to my son just a few days before leaving for New York when he asked what my favorite song in the world was: “It might be Imagine by John Lennon.”
Then to find myself standing at the Imagine memorial without meaning to be there?
Also encouraging, like the Universe saying, “You are on the right path. Keep going.”
Other positive messages spotted that day:
Somewhere in midtown Manhattan, a man draped in a saffron-colored Buddhist robe gave me this token, and I accepted it, realizing one second later that he expected a donation in return. He seemed disappointed when I gave him $5 instead of $20. My New York savvy friend Ruthanne: “Oh, you did not fall for that!”
Positive message spotted above the main entrance to 30 Rockefeller Plaza: “Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times.”
In St. Patrick’s Cathedral:
And in the children’s book section of FAO Schwarz:
Friday, April 5
Sometimes deciding where to sit in a room can shape your destiny. The first morning of the writer’s conference, I stood in the back of the hotel ballroom, surveying the landscape of people already seated in the audience. I wanted to make friends while soaking up information about writing and pitching literary agents on The Possibility Book.
I spotted two women who were enjoying talking and sat down in the open row behind them. That turned out to be a great decision – because the three of us, and later a fourth woman – banded together to support and encourage one another at the conference.
One of the ladies was Leigh Bones, someone definitely funnier and arguably crazier than me. I have wasted much time worrying that The Possibility Book is crazy; Leigh embraces her crazy. Her tagline is “You Can’t Hide Crazy!” And the message on her phone case reinforces the point.
Saturday, April 6
Leigh and I were eating our box lunches and celebrating having survived the Pitch Slam, a sweat-inducing, nerve-wracking cattle-call where aspiring authors have 90 seconds to pitch their book ideas to literary agents. The agents seemed to be in a benevolent mood and were requesting lots of proposals, including ours.
Nearby sat Eric DelaBarre, a self-published author promoting his new book with positive messages for kids, Saltwater Taffy. I ran into him in the hall after the Pitch Slam and bought two copies of his book for my boys. While Leigh and I reveled in the many connections and newfound friendships we were making at the conference, I opened Eric’s book to a random page, turned it around and showed her the message: “Friendships are memories. Make them often.”
Going through life looking for signs from the Universe requires paying close attention to what’s happening – in both your inner and outer worlds – at the same time. I’ve been doing this now for more than a year, and have been rewarded with:
I hope that by reading my stories, you might seek and find more positivity in the world, and feel encouraged, amused, comforted and delighted, too.