Prediction

I’ve been writing in a new spot these past few days that I have off from work, at the Brooklyn Public Library, at a long wooden table with a hardbacked seat.  I sit by the window and, in these three days, the tree in view has gone from white to green to a wild wind-tossed blur.

I have learned that the library is no longer a quiet place.  There are children running around crying, squealing and fighting like maniacs; librarians quoting Bon Jovi songs to the actor sitting beside me (I spied at his computer, read his email signature, discovered he was once on The Soprano’s.); people in deep conversations about a film called Vitus (which I’ve seen, which you should see.)

I just met Pat, who moved to the neighborhood in 1960, who once had a telephone conversation with Mike Wallace, who attended Yale graduate school because, at the time, they didn’t let women into undergraduate there (so she went to Brown.)  She hails from Waltham, Massachusetts and she doesn’t cook, she gets her food ready-made from Caputo’s and she lives across from the park.

At one point, a child sat beside me, learning reading comprehension from a patient tutor.  What’s your prediction?  The tutor kept asking. Together, they looked at the cover and discussed what the book would be about.  They read each page out loud and pondered what might come next.

At some point, the child stopped reading, mid-sentence.  I want to change my prediction, he said.  It’s not what I thought.


Go right ahead, the tutor encouraged.


It’s so rare we analyze a thought process like this.  And, I think, if this is the way we comprehend what we read, maybe it’s how we comprehend our own lives.  I wonder how it would feel to step out the front door, walk through life, make predictions about everything we might encounter throughout the day.  How quickly our predictions would change, how fast our own stories would surprise us.

I want to change my prediction. I say this, without saying it, every single day.

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14 thoughts on “Prediction

  1. Melissa, I just love your posts. 🙂

    I hadn't really thought about this, but I kind of do that with my books. When I begin writing, I predict the story will go a certain way, but, without fail, every one of them has gone a different way. So, I guess midway through my manuscripts, I sort of say, “I want to change my prediction.” 🙂

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  2. melissa, i can't figure out if i'm commenting, or replying to another readers message. this is the only place it allows me to write tho. and it was that way the last few times i've popped in. i need to try it in safari. right now i'm in firefox.

    anyway… love this post!
    and i gotta add…i miss the good ole days of a quiet library.

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  3. I don't have anything worthwhile to say about this (or many of your posts) but I just have to comment and say… goodness, Melissa. You know how to make me tear up with the simplest words and feelings. The last line damn near killed me.

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  4. Hmm re-read the beginning of that comment and wanted to clarify that my COMMENTS are rarely worthwhile, not your posts. I feel silly just commenting saying “Yes, I love this,” but I guess that's never bad to hear!

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  5. Life has a way of changing the game plan on us all the time, so making predictions about anything is always fraught with difficulty. I never try to predict what’s going to happen when I read – I like the author to surprise me 🙂

    And you’re so right about the lack of quiet in the library nowdays!

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  6. I bet it would help all of us if we had someone to ask us during the day, “What do you think will happen next if you keep this attitude going?” I think it would help snap me out of my funk on the days that I'm grumpy!

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  7. This is a really great way to look at life – I want to change my prediction! I love that. Also, I had to laugh because it''s MY children who are running around the library where brilliant writers are trying to get their work done! I apologize in advance…:)

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  8. I had to stop going to the library because my two toddlers kept acting like dogs and were crawling around barking. I was afraid to go back.

    I try to keep my predicitons open. I have a plan for life but I try to recognize those cues and choices in my life that creat change.

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  9. Libraries are not the silent and sacred domains they once were. Librarians aren't even librarians anymore. They're Media Specialists and that includes movies and music so it's no wonder there's more noise commotion in them these days.

    As for making predictions, change is good; organic even. Being flexible and able – willing – to change and let things happen naturally in life and writing allows things (people, plot lines, characters, etc) to reveal themselves fully and honestly offering you, the observer and writer, a richer experience.

    Cool post Melissa.

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