You may know the song or the scripture it comes from, “…to everything there is a season and a time to every purpose…” this came to mind today when an author I follow posted in her group that “timing is important with books.”
Yes! With books and so many other things….it has many names, serendipity, synchronicity, the right time (divine timing), and coincidence.
There are so many books that I read at the right time, books that the timing was important. Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher is a memorable one. Mud Vein changed the way I connected with books; I viewed reading and writing from a completely different perspective after that book. (You can read my
post love letter to Mud Vein here.)
I first noticed the importance of timing when reading when I was fresh out of college and taking the train to visit relatives in Chicago and to attend my first RWA literacy signing (imagine 500 + authors wall to wall signing books…with all proceeds going to literacy, check them out at RWA.org). Months before this I had picked up one of my favorite author’s new hardcover book (yes, because I was a HUGE fan I splurged on the hardcover!!) I still hadn’t read it. I had tried and tried again and just couldn’t get into it. I thought I was going to have to skip it and just chalk it up to bad writing…
Here I was getting ready for a 5 hour train ride picking out my books for the trip (this is BEFORE ebooks…or at least before devices for ebooks were invented so physical books had to be planned ahead for the trip.) I was ready to try again with the spy-novel-romance book I had been trying to read for months. The night before, I forced (yes, forced) myself to read the first couple of chapters to get myself going.
The train was full and I ended up sitting next to a young gentleman who was nearly as well read as I was (he had just finished reading Tuesday’s with Morrie – one of my all time favorite books) and we chatted for the first portion of the trip (I wasn’t all that excited to get to my book, not at all like me…) he was heading to DC and then off to Germany for some sort of “training” and then he asked where I was headed…but my mind kept going back to the book I had started the night before…hmmm…the hero of my book was a former CIA agent….why would someone take the train from Wisconsin to DC only to fly to Germany?
At this point if you don’t know me, I have a VERY active imagination! So my mind was racing with all sorts of things between the book and the gentleman sitting next to me (whose name just added to the mystery – Sam Adams – yep, he was named after a beer! Couldn’t he have come up with a non-spyish name??!!!) Why did he have to go to DC to fly to Germany? Why couldn’t he fly out of Chicago? And his name is Sam Adams!
After that trip, I realized that had I read that book at any other time I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much. It was the timing of it that made it a book that I ended up loving. It also made my trip all that more memorable. I was unfamiliar with downtown Chicago and I needed to walk from the train station to meet my cousin, Sam Adams, spy in training in my head, offered to walk with me to the corner my cousin specified. He did. And I never forgot his kindness.
I no longer force myself to read books if they don’t catch me. Maybe they will at a different time…a time when I NEED to read it. I also notice books that I am meant to read. Mud Vein kept popping up for me, it was everywhere…until I finally broke down and read it. Then it wouldn’t leave me along for another reason entirely!
But for reading (and with writing too!) there is a time and a reason and I’ve learned just to follow my heart and let the reason figure itself out….
(As I’m finishing this post Miley Cyrus is signing Younger Now, and I think, yes, timing is important. Younger Now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LX2kpeyp80)