collective mind

It looks like I have some more news about last week’s NYC Teen Author Festival. La Femme Readers were in the house! Much footage was documented during the big symposium day. I was on a panel called The Boy You Can’t Have with some other authors who have written about this conflict. It was a blast because Elizabeth Scott, Robin Palmer, Melissa Walker, Maryrose Wood, and Elizabeth Eulberg were on the panel, and they are all such amazing readers. The video footage is here, including clips from earlier panels that day. If you scroll down to the last video, you can see me reading from Something Like Fate and Elizabeth Scott reading from The Unwritten Rule.

When Elizabeth was in town last year, we were hanging out and I asked what her next book was about. She said it was about a girl who falls in love with her best friend’s boyfriend. I was like, “Get out! That’s what my next book is about!” And then we marveled over the coincidence. Actually, there’s a quote in Something Like Fate that says how there are no coincidences (if you agree that everything happens for a reason and everything is connected), so I see both books coming out around the same time as a good thing. It gives everyone who loves to read about relationship drama even more to read. What’s not to love about that?

This non-coincidence is an interesting example of the collective mind. When I first starting writing books, I’d get worried about using an obscure reference that I’d later find in another author’s book. I didn’t want the other author to think that I stole their reference. But then I was like, Please. As if they’ll even read my book. Now I understand the power of the collective mind. My fellow YA authors are sort of like colleagues to me. We’re united by a common goal. So it makes sense that in working toward our common goal, we sometimes come up with similar ideas around the same time. I find this fascinating. Only…I just want Blake Nelson to know that I didn’t steal the name of your girl from Destroy All Cars. I started writing my new book before I read yours, I swear!

Getting the party started for the Something Like Fate pub date (May 4!), I’ve posted an excerpt on my website. And now I have to get ready for the author video we’re filming today. We were going to film in Central Park, but of course after days of gorgeous weather it’s cold and rainy. But it’s all good – we’re filming in the best Penguin office ever. As far as magical places go, I couldn’t ask for better energy. Yay for non-coincidences!

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6 thoughts on “collective mind

  1. I totally believe in the collective mind! Wow, that’s something I don’t recall you talking about before, but a friend and I have had recent discussions about it (I’m kind of proving your point here, lol). I think that’s why certain archetypes seem so familiar to us all – I like the Jungian theories regarding that. The Wise Old Man, the Innocent Child, the Clown, etc.
    One of my strangest unexplainable experiences ever presumably occurred because of the collective mind. Years after my friend Jill and I became friends, she posted some old poems that she had written well before I knew her. One of them was… MY poem! I kid you not. It was *identical* to a poem I had written years before I knew *her*! It even had the same title. Mine, however, had one extra verse, but everything else was the same.
    At first we thought it had to be a mistake. I asked her if she’d posted it online anywhere, or sent it to friends. And most importantly, I asked her when she’d written it. Well, guess what? WE WROTE IT ON THE THE EXACT SAME DAY – *before* we’d ever met each other! She lives in Nevada, so it’s not like we had friends of friends in common. We both wrote the poem in December 2000 and met each other the summer after that. Additionally, I’d based my poem on a particular melody, so it had to fit that rhythm. She had not. We could both go into great detail as far as inspiration for the poem went. Her experience was different from mine, but both of our experiences had to do with losing friends.
    Jill is skeptical and objective, yet open-minded. She’s someone I really trust (and I don’t trust easily!), so I feel that what we experienced was genuine and real, even if we don’t know exactly how to explain it. One of my major novel ideas is based around the idea of the collective mind (but in a more fantasy-oriented context). Thank you for bringing it up – it’s hard to know who I could share this with without people finding it hard to believe. I find it hard to believe myself! We actually Googled each line and everything to make sure it wasn’t coming from somewhere else, but it wasn’t.
    Excited for Something Like Fate! I may have to bring it with me to England and read it on the very looooong flight. 🙂

    • Your poem experience is mind-blowing, but at the same time totally believable. Non-coincidences like that happen all the time, as insane as they are. I find the more I pay attention to those kinds of things, the more I notice them. They’re all around us! Just more evidence that there’s so much we don’t yet know (or will maybe never know) about universal energy.

  2. I’d been excited because two of my favorite authors (you and Elizabeth) were both coming out with new books, and those new books had similar premises. I didn’t realize you weren’t aware of that! 🙂

    • We’ve known for the past year, ever since our conversation. If we weren’t friends, we probably wouldn’t have found out until recently. But this kind of thing totally happens – just look at all the vampire books!

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