There is an area of human experience that is rare and yet common, a phenomenon of convergence. It happens rarely perhaps to each of us and yet is a common phenomenon for all of us. This has happened for me recently regarding bread and books.
Specifically, during the Christmas holidays I began to plan to learn how to bake bread in this new year. Who knows why this desire entered my head? You just follow it if it promises a new skill and something delicious to taste and share, right?
I began to research bread-making machines and books, while not mentioning this idea to anyone. I wanted to surprise them.
At the end of December, I started to think of how the four basic ingredients of bread relate to writing and on another blog, I wrote about that! Was it a stretch? You be the judge, but for me, it made sense. I even renamed one of my blog pages and a bookstore and wrote about that, too.
Mind you, not one visit to the store for bread ingredients had occurred. Not one bread-making machine or book had been bought. Yet, I was going bread crazy already with nary a homemade loaf, muffin, or doughnut hole produced!
See how strong ideas and planning can be, how motivating? Yeah.
Meanwhile - and here's where the main convergence comes in - my husband brought home Jodi Picoult's The Storyteller.
"You've got to read this," he said.
"OK." I guessed I'd find out why I had to read that once he finished the book and I got into it. Would I get into the story or the author's style?
Hubby did not mention that The Storyteller has two or three heroines - or at least, that's how I see it, having finished the book yesterday - or that one of them is a seriously skilled... bread-baker who also loves to talk and think a lot about bread. Perfect for my secret plan, which I soon told him and everybody about.
He only said something to the point that the book had to do with "different stories coming together." (I later realized, it is another form of convergence phenomena.)
That happens, doesn't it, as different lives cross, and it happens with these phenomenal events, over "little" things, that converge strikingly. I have not yet even started to bake bread, but I have learned so much about different kinds through The Storyteller.
The Storyteller is not for everyone, but if you dare to read it - so far, I've learned, it's been on the NYT Bestseller List for a while - you will find it worth it at the end, I believe. Here's a link to tell you more about this book, which I added to one of my online bookstores.
That's all I'll say about that, dear friends, for this time. I do want to add, though, that my husband's mother, our beloved Mary Helen, was a superb cook and, of course, she could bake any kind of bread she wanted to "from scratch." She could make the process seem so easy because she appreciated, as I look back on it, what the baker's waiting and the bread's resting do for the outcome.
I wish I had asked her to show me how to bake all kinds of bread, but I was too impatient or busy, it seems, looking back on those times.
The phenomenon of convergence in our lives is not earth-shaking, yet it leaves a mark, and we say hmmmm, what was that about?, and we feel somehow that the convergence might be hinting at something important for us.
It sometimes happens between a book and an idea to bake bread, and I'm paying attention.
(c) 2014 Jean P. Purcell