The first time it happened, I figure it was a great coincidence. I took a break from my writing and while walking my dogs through the park an injured crow showed up on our path. The coincidence, of course, was that I’d been working on my novel Black Crow White Lie and there was a scene where I needed to describe a crow. The one I came upon that day was very calm and slow with his movements. He was either injured or very old, or a bit of both. He let me watch him and didn’t show the usual agitated crow behavior at someone being nearby. This seemed like amazing luck and so I took my dogs home and went back up to the park to observe him alone.
By the time I got back to the park, I found that the crow had crossed the street to a neighbor’s house. He was in the planter. I carefully approached him and sat on the walkway just a few feet away. It was a strange experience. He watched me and I watched him for about a half hour. Not much happened, but it was enlightening. Having never been this close to a crow, I discovered that when he blinked his eyes, the lids moved from the sides inward instead of top to bottom. It was curious and cool and in our half-hour relationship, I felt like I’d learned enough to properly describe a crow in my book.
A couple months later, I had just dropped off my kids at school when I noticed something black in the middle of the street. As I got closer I found it was another black crow. This one’s wing was so injured, it couldn’t move. There were two men outside their houses talking and I asked if one had a shoebox I could use. I wanted to take the crow home and call animal control to see if they could help it. One of the men brought me a box, and I was able to transport the crow home. While waiting for animal control to come, I had yet another half hour relationship with a crow. This one was more vulnerable than the first. Instead of learning about the crow and analyzing him up close, I felt for him. It was more of an emotional connection, as animal control had explained they might have to euthanize him. Spending his possible last moments with me, I hoped I could comfort him with calm energy.
That should have been enough coincidences while writing a novel about a crow, but it wasn’t. The next time, I was specifically writing about a dead crow when I took a break from my computer and walked my dogs around the block. On a grass area near the park, one of my dogs approached something black and stopped to examine it. I froze in disbelief when I saw what it was—a dead black crow. Now it was just getting strange. I actually looked around to see if anyone was there, setting up the scene for me. And yet how could someone have done that? No one knew what I was writing about. So instead I looked upward. And I nodded.
I was familiar with the law of attraction but I thought that it simply meant ‘think positive and positive things will happen, think negative and negative things will come your way.’ What I began to learn through my writing experiences—with the crows and then with other strange synchronistic occurrences—was that thoughts are far more powerful than just floating ideas in our heads. Motivational author Louise Hay says, "The law of attraction is that our thinking creates and brings to us whatever we think about. It's as though every time we think a thought, every time we speak a word, the universe is listening and responding to us."
I understood this in a brand new way. It inspired me to write about things I wouldn’t mind showing up in my life since it seemed that there was a good likelihood they would. It also made me more careful about what I allowed into my mind. My thoughts did more than just float. They opened doors to the outside world and let into my life the things that I attracted.
As I went on writing Black Crow White Lie, the crows continued showing up. Though later experiences weren’t as intimate as the three I described, there were still unusual chance encounters relevant to the novel. I came to like their visits. They were a reminder that the universe was listening and responding to me. When I began my next novel, I fit crows into the story again, knowing that if I kept my doors open, I could keep the black birds coming around.
(This post first appeared on the Long and Short Reviews website)