What is it about 3s?

Do you remember a little while ago we were talking about coincidence, and whether or not it had a place in literature?

When I began this blog about two months back it was with the utmost certainty that I would not include anything outside of writing life here. It soon became clear to me that it is near to impossible to write about oneself and writing a few times per week and not have tidbits of life seep in.

Yesterday morning I left the pool early in order to get ready for the funeral of a much loved mother and grandmother. My grandfather was being re-admitted to the hospital that same morning. A friend questioned me, and said “Ah, things always come in threes.”

But, this was only two, where was the third?

Lo and behold as I was driving on the highway the traffic came to a complete stop. Up ahead I saw a collision. As I got closer I saw it was a three car accident. One car had been sandwiched between a large van and another car; it had crashed head on with the medium. A man was pacing the highway with no shoes. Another was kneeling in the backseat, assisting an elderly woman and a young girl. They had injuries, but I do not know to what extent.

We’ve discussed the need to write quite a bit on this blog, and this was one of those times where I suffered strongly with this need. Yet I thought, this story is just too full, it would be unrealistic. Every time I have read about 3s in a story I have rolled my eyes.

I still have not wrote a single word about that experience (until now, I realize). Something felt off, and I chalked it up to coincidence. Yet, this morning, I found out the reason was because I was still missing a piece of the puzzle. And that was the six brave souls who spent a night by their mother’s graveside on her first night of occupancy. Now, my story was complete. Immediately I wondered if it was wrong to view this suffering as a story, but then, all of life is but stories.

I wondered if writing would be a way of committing it to memory, or a way of sorting it out in my head – a sort of self-exploration, and then I thought perhaps it would be a form of escape. Escape into fiction, even if it is only fictionalized life. Maybe it is all of the above.

In times of distress, or grieving, what solace do you think writing can offer?

12 thoughts on “What is it about 3s?

  1. I think it can offer a lot, in truth. You can’t keep the thoughts and feelings bottled up, I mean you can, but sooner or later they are going to come out one way or another.

    When I had a death in my family, I was really torn up because I felt like I hadn’t said good bye. I wrote a piece specifically about what I was feeling and what I wish I could have said. I sent a piece of it “up”, by destroying a copy, and somehow, it just helped.

    I think in many ways writing about a tragic event is really another method of honoring the loss, no matter how difficult it might be.

    My thoughts are with you and your family.

  2. Journaling offers me tremendous solace when I’m distressed or grieving, but I find it’s quite some time before that can be transformed to fiction.

    It’s interesting what you wrote about writing offering a way to commit events to memory … I’m reading “Diary” by Chuck Palahniuk and one of his characters says this: “…an artist’s job is to pay attention, collect, organize, archive, preserve, then write a report. Document. The job of an artist is just not to forget.”

    I’m sorry for your loss.

    1. Thank you Cathryn. Great quote! Really reflects a writer’s way of life.
      I think sometimes time does not need to pass before fictionalizing, if I think back to personal references it also has to the do with the degree of healing that is needed. I used to journal, and I found so freeing. I stopped for lack of time, but you are bringing back the itch!

    1. Sometimes Patti, when I read a journal I kept from youth or while I was pregnant with my first I am so happy I did write them down. I re-live moments I would not remember otherwise. Time to journal again I think, as Cathryn mentioned.

  3. I like Andrew’s view on honoring the loss. I see it no other way.

    I have had incidents good and bad, big and little, happen in threes. But since they’ve also happened in twos and fours it’s hard to depend on that prophecy/prediction/fate/karma. (wasn’t sure what to call it.)

  4. I started my blog with the idea that it would be about the intersection of reading, writing and life. And sometimes all three intersect not in a special moment, but in a mundane incident–a computer not working. And speaking of coincidence (without having read your post until just now), here’s how I began my post dated July 29th (one day after yours): I’ve been trying to keep my computer issues out of my blog posts; but anyway,… There’s probably a third person out there writing about the same thing today.

  5. I ended up with my first book as a result of writing about my grief after multiple pregnancy losses. While the experience did not lessen my pain, it gave me something wonderful to help change my perspective on my grief–I saw it as something that allowed me to help people in a way I couldn’t have before. I believe that when we are storytellers, we can share these moments with others to touch their hearts–a moment of deep connection.

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