Once upon a time, a friend and I wrote a book. We had lost touch, and it was a way of reconnecting. This was back in the mid-90s when email was relatively new and, at least for us, an untried medium. Rose was new to it and I lured her in over our heads by suggesting, "Hey, let's write a book! No outline, no deadline. We'll take turns writing the chapters. It'll be cool; we'll have to write it to find out what happens next." She sent back this wry reply, "You go first."
Two days later, I emailed four pages back to her. I know it was four because neither of us trusted computers, so we both printed out every word of what would turn out to be something more than (we lost count) 300 pages. Two piles; one in Mill Valley and one in Boulder. Finally, to see if our imaginations had been equally sick, we each made a comparative map. They became the front and back covers. We then cut the book loose after almost two years and fifty chapters. Though I pity the once-and-future editor, the book turned out to be wickedly funny, phantasmagorical and full of completely unforgettable characters.
If either one of us didn't like the way the story was heading, she could take a new direction with her chapter. Rose loved monkey wrenches and would abruptly strike oil or kill off a character. For example, I had written a too-long chapter about building a gorgeous barn which turned out to be a treatise on timber framing and decorative roofing. The next chapter was Rose's coup-d'etat; she burned the barn to the ground. I was so upset, she snailmailed me a card. On the front was the famous haiku written in 1688 by the samurai, Masahide. "Barn's burnt down, now I can see the moon."
From the beginning, we called the book, "Serendipity". We had so much fun writing it we could've gone on forever, but life turned out to be shorter than that. Rose died of cancer two years later. Let that be a lesson.
Epilogue: That card with the haiku is in my studio; I look at it every day. A couple of days ago, I was prompted to do this pastel. She likes it. So do I.