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It began, as it often does, on a walk.

Walks just before lunch have become a part of my weekday routine recently, offering not just a touch of exercise, but a chance to clear my head and maybe listen to a little music. Lunchtime is also a time when I often try to sneak in a little reading on one of the several books that I’m typically working on. (With books I am sometimes a serial monogamist, but more often recklessly promiscuous.)

As I ate, I returned to my latest crush, Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep. Good stories take you out of the present and allow you to experience the world through other eyes. But the ones that really engage, those stories and characters somehow connect with your life, generating momentary flashes of a sensation you could call paralleling or doubling, an idea that King himself has explored many times, most explicitly in his Dark Tower series. To others—notably Sting and his bandmates in The Police, after Carl Jung—it’s synchronicity.

So anyway. I’m sitting at the little conference table in my office eating and reading Doctor Sleep, the new sequel to King‘s classic early novel The Shining, when I come across a reference to hospice. This catches my attention because my mother more or less literally wrote the book on hospice in America, having 37 years ago authored The Hospice Movement, the first book published in the U.S. to embrace and explain the hospice approach to caring for the dying.

That alone made me smile—and then it got good. Because, as I remembered in a gooseflesh-inducing flash, my mother was busy writing that book in 1977, at exactly the same time I found myself riveted by the new novel from the fellow who had really impressed me with his first two. Yes: The Shining.

The fact that I, a second generation author myself, have just read (and written about) books by both of King’s sons, and that I recently finished writing a sequel to my novel Believe in Me, simply increased the voltage of the frisson of synchronicity playing up and down my spine.

And then came the coup de grace, as I remembered the band I’d been listening to for the first time in quite a while on my walk 20 minutes before.

No, seriously, you can’t make this stuff up: it was The Police.

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