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Strange Things Happen

Do you believe in coincidence? Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you believe in Santa?

In May when I started planning my trip to Scotland and Ireland with my father, I played around on Expedia.com for days, searching for the most economical meeting place and starting point for our trip. This place turned out to be Edinburgh, which was excellent because I have a couple of writerly friends there, M.J. Nicholls and Laura Guthrie, whom I’d never met face-to-face.

Besides playing Lexulous on occasion, Mark and I collaborated on a story last year—a bi-national, transexual, dysfunctional Christmas celebration ‘neath the Bridge of Sighs. Ho ho ho. Moo. Yeah, there’s a magic cow.

In May I booked my flight to Edinburgh. Then, in June I came across a contest for bizarre, dark fiction, so I combed our odd little baby’s hair and entered him/her. I was in the contest-entering mood that day. You should see where I’m going with this now, but there’s more.

In June I also started planning another trip. Ulrich the Anglo-Saxon Cartographer wanted to go hiking in South Tyrol with his family, and he thought it would be great for me to plan the entire trip. This is seldom a good idea. But everything worked out fine. The hotel I chose in Meranzen was fine, and we even had a free day to drive to Venice. Yay. I hate Venice. Venice is the armpit of Italy. Venice stinks. So, they dragged me kicking and scratching to Venice.

But then a strange thing happened: suddenly I, along with a hundred other sweaty, irritable tourists, was standing right in front of The Bridge of Sighs, the setting of the story Mark and I had written together a year before. By this time, we had been informed that our baby had won the contest and would be featured in Strange Circle Magazine.

Now we had something to celebrate. Our meeting was starting to make a lot of sense.

My first night in Edinburgh couldn’t have been better. We laughed, talked about writing, our writing, the contest, and the death of a close friend. It was rarely awkward. I was able to give Mark his half of the prize money. At one point Laura took out her notebook and wrote a fairly long poem from memory—a beautifully surreal love poem. It’s going to be anthologized this year. And then Mark gave me a Lucy Ellmann book that I was having trouble getting. I gave him a postcard. Yeah, a postcard. The picture I took of the Bridge of Sighs was crap, so I bought a postcard.

Christmas ‘Neath the Bridge of Sighs is forthcoming in Strange Circle Magazine.

All a coincidence? Well, I’m going to cowrite a story about the Great Wall of China with someone in Rio de Janeiro and see if I get a flight to China and Brazil out of it.

I must be off,

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