Perspectives on Percentages

“Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.”
Lou Holtz, American football coach

“Eighty percent of success is showing up.”
Woody Allen

“Ninety percent of everything is crap.”
Theodore Sturgeon, fiction writer

“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”
Thomas Edison

“Ninety-nine percent of who you are is invisible and untouchable.”
Buckminster Fuller


The Steppenwolf Effect, pt.1: Synchronicity

As mentioned in my previous post, a couple of things occurred to me while I started reading Steppenwolf.

As mentioned in a previous previous post (here), I write fiction. I’ve written one novel and have since completed the rough draft of a second. When I started reading Steppenwolf I realised (at the point where Harry meets Hermine 1) that it shared a parallel storyline with my second novel.

I clearly remember starting to sweat, followed by some muffled swearing.

If there was anything that freaked me out at the time, it was the fear that I was going to open a book (whether it be a novel or a collection of short stories) to discover that something I’ve written had been, as they say, “done before”. In retrospect there isn’t much reason for this fear – unless one is directly influenced by something it would be a hell of a coincidence to write something that was so similar to a previously published work that you should have to worry – particularly if it’s something as complex and individualistic as a novel.

But I was concerned; I thought to myself: F*!king bastard Hermann Hesse and his f$~king storylines. But I digress…

I turned to my writing group 2. I asked them: has anyone opened a book to discover some freak-assed psychic parallel to something you’re currently working on? The answer, surprisingly, was yes – all the time, in fact. Synchronicity happens more often than we think, as it turns out.

Thinking about it, it makes sense; assuming we aren’t forced to read the books that we do (as in school) we end up reading those works which appeal to us – as readers and perhaps subconsciously as writers also. So it should come as no surprise to find narratives, plots, or characters that ring familiar.

1. Harry & Hermine sounds like the name of a Hollywood adaptation.

2. I’m blessed to have such a good writer’s group – most of us were students of DM Thomas at the Humber College School for Writers.