It’s an amazingly small world we live in, isn’t it? If you didn’t know it before, just hop on Facebook and go through all your friends to see which mutual friends you share. It’s ok; it’s Facebook – if you’re not snooping on people, you’re doing it wrong.
Thanks to Facebook, I know that a teammate of mine used to babysit for my neighbor, another teammate is friends with my hairstylist, my old nanny used to play frisbee golf with another neighbor of mine, and a woman I met through a mom’s group attends a drum circle with a woman I met in my local Writers’ Guild. It’s Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon here in Chattanooga, except everyone is related to everyone.
Specific case in point: A few years ago I was at the YMCA finishing up a class and just chitchatting with a new friend named Mary, who is about 20 years older than I am (this detail matters), when a woman approached me and said, “Kate?” I turned and recognized her as someone I had met at a writing workshop. We talked for a moment and then Mary stepped forward and said, “Rachel?” Turns out Rachel and Mary had gone to college together back in the day. If Rachel hadn’t recognized me and crossed the room to say Hi, it’s quite possible that those two former classmates would have passed right by each other and never known that, all these years later, their lives had crossed paths again.
Sometimes authors throw in coincidences or chance meetings that are so contrived your eyeballs ache from their round-trip to the back of your skull. But sometimes these things really do just happen. And if you can write about it and make it work for your story, more power to you.
If you’re related to someone famous who’s not Kevin Bacon, let me know at Kate@KateLanders.com.