Have you ever had a day where so many tiny magical things happen that you can’t help but smile? This morning started out like any other Monday morning. I drove to my appointment with the podiatrist, dreading The Needle (if you’ve ever had a cortisone shot in your foot, you know what I’m talking about). As I waited in the examining room, I heard faint music coming from the speaker in the wall. It was hauntingly familiar and took me a moment to place it. When I did, a chill ran up my spine. When I was working on my second novel, Lovers and Strangers, (twenty years ago!) I created a character, David, who loved opera. They say you should write about things you know, but I don’t think that’s a necessity. I think you should write about things you want to know, and I wanted to learn about opera so I made David an opera lover. I bought a few CDs of arias and duets and fell crazy in love with one of the duets, “Au Fond du Temple Saint” from Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers. I was a little stunned when I realized the two men singing were in love with the same woman–the plot of my story. The song even made it into the book as a couple of the characters sing it as they float down the Amazon at night in a dugout canoe. (side note: Lovers and Strangers is, to me, the oddest of my books. I have no idea if it’s good or bad. I hate the title, given to it by my then-editor. The cover was silly. Does this look like a book set in the Amazon Jungle?? Silk blouse and pearls? I think not! The protagonist commits adultery, which didn’t go over well at all with the fans I’d won with my first RITA award-winning novel, Private Relations. Lovers and Strangers was waaay over-researched, and the research showed. Yes, it was about a primatologist in the Amazon, but that didn’t mean my readers needed to know every imaginable behavior of my fictional species of marmosets. I needed an editor with a much stronger hand. At least my editor persuaded me to leave the dung beetles out of the story. However, I will say that I learned a lot about pacing and revelations by writing that book.)
Back to the point of this blog post!
I practically held my breath as I listened to this beautiful duet in the examining room. The music was so soft and I didn’t want to lose it. Finally it ended and I was literally hugging myself with a sense of wonder that after all these years, that song had come back to me. Suddenly, another piece of music began and I actually gasped. You’re kidding! The oboe solo from the soundtrack of the old movie, The Mission. Composer Ennio Morricone, my absolute favorite. I listen to this soundtrack often as I write and this oboe solo is only a snippet of a chillingly beautiful piece of music. When it was over, Au Fond du Temple Saints started up again. It was as though I had my own personal little mix tape playing in the wall behind the speaker.
Then the doc came in. He’s very nice and cute–a Brad Pitt look-alike. Guess what? No shot! This was definitely my lucky day. When I went out to my car, I turned on NPR and instantly recognized the voice of the woman being interviewed: my good friend and fellow writer, Katy Munger, who was saying something very Katy-ish that made me laugh. I was already pretty giddy. Then I remembered I was practically around the corner from Snoopy’s Hot Dogs! Evil, I know, but I was so close. Snoopy’s is great, although I intentionally avoid looking at the placard on the wall with the grade from the Health Department because I just don’t want to know. I bought my chili dog and ate it in the car so I could listen to the radio and feel as though I was hanging out with Katy.
Now I’m home, sharing my morning with you. When’s the last time you had a few hours of simple pleasures?