It is a Small Word after all.
Connections and coincidences. They pop up all over the place, especially in the world of the Internet and social media. You notice two of your real-life friends are FaceBook friends—people who live miles apart and are known to you in entirely different contexts. A childhood friend teaches at the same college as your grad school mentor—who is your advisor at another school. The connections are fascinating and fun, and some are more fun than others.
Many years ago, two seventeen-year old girls were thrown together as college roommates. One from Pittsburgh, one from a small town in Northeast Ohio—during their first few weeks in NYC, they saw Peter Frampton at Madison Square Garden (it was the mid 70’s) and made their first sojourn to CBGB, where they saw John Cale play and stood close enough to the stage to reach out and touch him. (But, of course they were too cool to do that.) Those weeks pretty much set the tone for their years in NYC.
Jump to the next century, and Amy Rigby is a singer-songwriter with nine albums under her belt. Social media enables us to keep track of each other, but our real-life paths seldom cross. When they do, it usually involves music, just as our early friendship did. When Amy plays anywhere within driving distance, I do everything in my power to go hear her. While Amy was in Cleveland, we saw the one of my longtime favorites, Alejandro Escovedo, together. Amy and Alejandro have played together and written a song together, and she introduced me to him after the show. Next, Amy was writing, recording, and performing with—and marrying—the incredible Wreckless Eric. Two people whose work spans my music collection from vinyl to digital making a life together. Cool.
As the Ronco spokesman said—But wait! There’s more!
I’m in grad school. This past week, while working on a presentation for a discussion of Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane, I wanted to include some quotes. Quotes I’d read online or seen in Internet memes. Since the web isn’t exactly a reliable source of information, I needed to verify them and fell down the rabbit hole on Gaiman’s website. One clicky-link led to another, and I ended up here. Neil Gaiman is a longtime Wreckless Eric fan! The book he’s talking about? I have it. (It’s signed.) I love it. While reading it in a public place, I ended up laughing so hard that a stranger asked if I needed help. (Don’t answer that.) For those playing along at home, this makes me how many Degrees of Separation from Neil himself?
Tumbling deeper down the rabbit hole, I found this. Neil and his wife, Amanda Palmer, performing Eric’s “Whole Wide World:”
Neil may have introduced “Whole Wide World” to Amanda, but the song, which Amy included in her sets before ever meeting Eric, was in part responsible for their meeting, and they now perform it together:
And, for any Romance readers and writers out there, here’s a love story and a Happily Ever After:
You may be wondering if I have a point to this post. Good question. I could make some philosophical statement about the universe and threads and connections and coincidences, but that’s over-thinking something that’s just plain fun. However, I do have some advice for you:
If you’re not familiar with the work of Amy Rigby, Wreckless Eric, Amanda Palmer, or Neil Gaiman, you owe it to yourself to correct that oversight. You’re in for some damned fine reading and listening.
ADDENDUM: I finished writing this and jumped into the car to go to work. The iPhone became an iPod set on Randomize, and I hit play. The first three songs up: Alejandro Escovedo’s “I Was Drunk,” Wreckless Eric’s “Broken Doll,” and Patti Smith’s “My Blakean Year.” Amy and I saw Patti Smith together, for the first time, on my eighteenth birthday. Next up was Ian Hunter’s “Cleveland Rocks.” There’s a connection there, too, but at this point, I can’t take anymore.
Please tell me this is sheer coincidence. MY ELECTRONICS ARE NOT SENTIENT. In the meantime, I’ll be looking for tinfoil hats. Wait. That hat graphic uses a font I designed years ago. STOP. NO MORE COINCIDENCES.