When I came home last night I found an unfamiliar jug being soaked in the kitchen sink. It was white, decorated with swirls of blue and orange, and had Made in Italy written on the bottom. After being cleaned up it proved to be in perfect condition. My husband had picked it up from the pile of rubbish awaiting the annual ‘inorganic collection’ from the pavement of our street.
Besides feeling delighted to have such a beautiful jug, I was amazed. A few days ago (unknown to my husband) I resumed editing the short novel which I hope to publish next year, and had been wondering where to find a cover image featuring the Italian jug which is a key part of the story and is painted in just the same colours and patterns as our own new acquisition.
This is an example of synchronicity – often defined as ‘meaningful coincidence’. As described in the writings of Carl Gustav Jung, this phenomenon suggests the presence of a deeper order of things, a spiritual framework organising and connecting all aspects of life.
When researching my ebook Life’s Labyrinth I was surprised by how many of the contributors described synchronous events which had turned out to be important in shaping their personal destiny. Such incidents might include apparently chance meetings or opportunities which changed the course of a life, or financial windfalls which equated precisely to the sum of money needed at the time. In recent years I have experienced several instances of synchronicity myself. One somewhat disturbing variant, which has happened on several occasions, is seeing a photo of an old friend come up on my computer screensaver on the day that they died.
Not all these incidents appear to have any future consequences, for example it may not be technically feasible to use a photo of our new jug on the cover of my forthcoming book. Perhaps the purpose of ‘synchronicities’ is just to remind us that there is more to life than we can understand from our limited human perspective. Or perhaps, as skeptics affirm, they represent nothing more than random chance and we exaggerate their significance because we are biased to notice things which confirm our preconceptions, and to seek for patterns and meanings where none exist.
I’ve just published Amazon Kindle editions of two of my books: Life’s Labyrinth: the path and the purpose and Focus on Healing: holistic self-help for medical illness. Both are also still available as ebooks on the Smashwords site.
I’ve enjoyed exploring the world of electronic self-publishing with its rapidly-evolving technology. Despite having only basic computer skills I found it quite easy to upload manuscripts – though did need help with text formatting and cover design. I love having the freedom to write whatever I like in my own time – seeing it online within a few hours after it’s ready – being able to edit and update later if need be – and to check on the sales figures as often as I wish – all without wasting any paper (having chosen not to make printed versions, although this too would be quite easy to do).
My past experience with traditional publishing has also been satisfying overall, despite the various trials and tribulations along the way – often waiting months for responses to submissions, getting the inevitable rejection letters not always kindly phrased (I was devastated by the early ones but eventually grew immune), more months of waiting after having manuscripts accepted, finding errors introduced into the proofs, and royalty payments representing scant return for the years of work involved. Self-publishing may seem painless in comparison, but perhaps the process has become too easy. Marketing is up to the authors themselves, and most of us are not very good at that. And now that so many people self-publish there may be more writers than readers. Most self-published books sell only than a handful of copies, and some sell none at all.
But, probably like most other people who were born with a compulsion to write, I feel it’s about passion rather than profit. Whatever publishing method is used, it’s rewarding to see the finished products out in the world, and hopefully get some good reviews. And, in the case of my medical books, the reward of having readers say they’ve found them helpful makes it all seem worthwhile.
I’m now working on another two books which I hope to finish later this year. Meanwhile, here again are the links to the new editions of Life’s Labyrinth and Focus on Healing.