One day I found myself on a stool at a harbor-side pub in Maine. The young female bartender approached me and graciously asked what I wanted. Behind her were a bevy of ornate tap handles, and taking a quick stock of the selection, I put on a ridiculous smile that probably had her suspecting this was not my first bar, and I said, “I’ll have a bottle of Allagash, please.”
With my eccentric smile never wavering, I sat there and people-watched, drinking what I thought was the best beer ever brewed.
I was experiencing what I like to call a crossover moment. This was a scene from my book. The seaside pub. The bottle of Allagash. As authors, we may visit a place, or do something that is pivotal enough to warrant putting it into one of our books. But how often does one re-live an excerpt from a book after it has been written? It might be simple enough to purposely re-enact a scene, but have you ever looked around, and it suddenly occurs to you that you are smack in the middle of one your favorite passages?
Maybe you’re sitting on a train that has just pulled out of King's Cross Station and someone hands you a vomit-flavored jellybean, and you think, “Wow, I know this has happened before in a famous book…I just can’t place the name...”
Crossover moments are literary acts of déjà-vu. They could be as simple as a character quote that you didn’t expect to slip from your lips or as complex as only your imagination and knowledge can interpret them.
I once sat on the steps of the courthouse that hosted the Crime of the Century. I looked across the street at the Union Hotel which has changed very little since all the journalists were on site to document the Lindbergh trial. I could take that setting verbatim, or I could look closer and actually see those reporters standing on the hotel deck, talking and taking notes, waiting for news from the courthouse and experience a crossover moment.
Crossover moments happen to authors and readers alike. Can you think of any that have happened to you?
P.S. Congratulations to our own Wynter Daniels for her release of Protective Custody this week, and likewise for next week's release of Marcelle Dubé's Shoeless Kid, and ummm...who else has a release next week? Oh! Me, with Endless Night.