I remember the Virgin Mary best. She stood at an attic window and glowed in the dark.
That summer work either began or ended at 3 a.m. I watched the front desks at different campus dormitories–answering phones, signing in guests, keeping an eye out for smuggled alcohol. I had no car.
To get through the Terre Haute streets in the middle of the night, I rode my borrowed bike on the yellow line. There was a drought that year and even at 3 in the morning I’d be a sweaty mess whichever way I was going. Most of the time I saw no one else. But on one street with houses pushed up to the sidewalk and attic windows over their front porches, stayed the Virgin Mary. At least, a large plastic light-up statue of her stood watch.
I could not help but look for her. One night she was turned off, and I didn’t like the idea of her owner not being home. Or maybe it meant the owner actually was home. Maybe before the owner had always been out. I considered taking a different street, but told myself I was being silly. I read too much into these things. I’ve an overactive imagination.
Do you ever look for signs (omens) that you’re meant to be a writer, that this book is the one, that this agent is meant for you? Maybe a story you wrote in the fifth grade got the highest grade in the class, you dreamed about the hero of your novel, or the agent you’ve queried has the same last name as your first crush. Something. Anything.
When it comes to your writing, do you have any superstitions or rituals? What symbols trigger hope or despair? Why or why not?