I have had so many moments of weird coincidence or strange happenstance in my writing career that I will struggle to remember them all as I note them down in this blog. And some of them I can't tell you unless I know you've read every single book (in SWAGG, particularly) so that I can avoid massive spoilers. But these are the moments that feel like magic - as if you're being given a little hint from powers you can't see about which way to go.
This one I do remember because it was pretty recent - although, as most of these instances turn out, the journey to the final 'aha' spans several years.
About a decade ago, I owned a big house divided into flats. My family lived in one and we rented out the others. There was magic in that building - we made many friends and had wonderful times with the tenants and holiday-makers who came and went, and each of them holds a special place in our hearts.
One of our most memorable tenants was Jeremy. He'd come from New York where he was Principal Cello with the New York Met on a year's secondment to the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra. A lovely guy, he bought himself a camper-van to see the country between performances, or would stride off to the bus with his cello strapped to his back like an enormous and much-cherished baby.
Because of Jeremy, my daughter was introduced to classical music at a young age and we had excellent experiences of seeing the APO in action in cathedrals and theatres. No performance ever compared, however, with the magic of standing on our balcony among the palm tree-tops, as eddies of beautiful music drifted up from the garden flat, so deep and melodic that it hummed in our hearts.
Eventually Jeremy headed back to the States. He wanted to create film scores at some point in his future. Whether he did or not, it was evident that he would be going places, creating music and laughter and that cruisey sense of ease wherever he went.
So now I'm on a plane, flying from Auckland to Manchester for Chrismas 2019. I can't get the screen to work properly so give up on the big action movie I'm trying to watch. Instead I filch around through the menu and stumble on an indie film I've never heard of. It features Martin Freeman as the romantic lead - all good as I like Martin Freeman - and the plotline sounds quirky and interesting.
It's a great film, in the end. The screen's still playing up so I have to watch it in twenty minute bursts, which is not the greatest way to follow a storyline. I like the film so much that I decide to try again, and this time get a slightly less lumpy experience which allows me to appreiate the film even more, including the very funny piece where Bernadette from Big Bang is singing along with her cello to a very uncomfortable audience.
For some reason I stay glued to the credits at the end. Very soon after the main cast list, the line 'Musical Score by' pops up. And there's his name. Jeremy Turner. He'd done it! A composer, artist, score creator.
I was so ridiculously excited by this that I woke up my daughter to tell her, and then when we landed in Hong Kong to transit I emailed Jeremy to tell him what I'd just seen. It is magical to me that he's living his dream, and his dream is uplifting other artforms now. Gorgeous.
The film, btw, is Ode To Joy. Watch it. It's sweet and funny, as is Martin Freeman. As for Jeremy - well, if you're looking for your next film score, here he is https://jeremyturnerstudio.com/. But the magic for me is that I could be 30,000 feet in the air, led to a pretty obscure film and be trapped in a fairly restricted airline seat so I watch the name of a friend pop up before my very eyes. Magic.
What's even more magical, however, is that stop-over in Hong Kong. That was in December last year. We made the same stop-off in mid-January 2020. There wasn't a mask to be seen, or any sign of coronavirus whatsoever. One sole staff member waved a temperature scanner near us, smiling the whole time, nothing to worry about at all. Who would have thought it would be so very different, just weeks or maybe even days later ...