Friday, July 23, 2010
Given the subject matter, it's understandable that my parents have been on my mind more than usual while writing this book. As I write about the grief experiences of others, I often notice similarities to my own. It happens when someone tells me their loved one died without saying goodbye, when I read about people seeing their deceased mother's influence in their own parenting, or when hoping for a sign from the person they've lost. I have to admit, I have asked for this in the past.
Shortly before moving to Nashville, I attended a Steve Seskin songwriting workshop in Reno. I stopped at a diner to eat before it started. My dad had always been very supportive of my music, and I consciously asked him, (he had just died), to let me know he saw I was getting to study with Seskin. I got a SF newspaper on the way in and began to read it once I was seated. To my delight, I went right to a column by Jon Carroll. (My parents were Jon and Carol King!) The subject of the piece was the area where I was born. "Well done, Dad", I thought as I left. Before I could get out the door, however, the manager stopped me to ask how I liked my food. I said, "It was great, thanks." It was only then I noticed his name tag. JON. Spelled without an H and everything. Nice touch.
Another nod from the beyond came last week as I tended to the final details of the book. I needed to secure permission to reprint the lyrics to a song I wrote with Candy Cameron about grief. Candy's publisher would have to grant us permission within a few days, and require no payment. Considering this usually takes months and can cost a tidy sum, my odds weren't great. Still, I had my editor's blessing to give it a shot. "It can't hurt", he said.
After a few phone calls and emails, I was directed to the person in Beverly Hills who handled such requests. Her name? CAROL KING. I'm not kidding. Once again, correct spelling and everything.
Yesterday Carol called to tell me she was granting our request- in record time and at no cost. She also told me how much she misses her parents and wished me luck with the book.
Coincidence? Who knows? I wasn't looking for any validation from my mom when this happened. I couldn't have interpreted this a certain way, to fit my hope or expectation. It's the woman's name! Did all this thinking about her make me more likely to notice her name, or did it allow her to come through? Obviously, I don't have all the answers, but I'm open to the possibilities.
I do know one thing for sure. I know how good it feels when these things happen, and that's real.