I'm a great fan of WQXR and though I'm just a kid on the inside, I love listening to Naomi Lewin's program created for youngsters and broadcast on Saturday mornings. Last Saturday, Zoltan Kodaly's opera Hary Janos was featured. The opera begins with a musical sneeze. In Hungry, where Kodaly grew up there is a superstition that says, If you sneeze while telling a story that makes it true. That superstition made me think of writing.
Novels have the disclaimer that states that the characters are fictional and any resemblence to real people--living or dead--is purely coincidental. But what if one of our characters rising from our subconscious? A forgotton relative, friend or enemy who made an impression--good or bad--that emerges when we sit down at our computers and begin a novel. Does the story stem from a forgotton childhood trauma? A lover the writer was determined to forget? Perhaps it's an urban legend handed down from generation to generation and transformed by an author into a contemporary tale or gossip overheard and made real between the covers of a book. Do we begin our fiction with a sneeze?