A syzygy occurs when three or more celestial bodies form a straight line. At 3 AM this morning, #1 and two equally eccentric soon-to-be college freshmen were lying in our frontyard staring up at a lunar eclipse where the Earth, sun, and moon are aligned. By 8:30 AM, my wife and I had delivered our #2, #3, and #4 to three different schools for the first day of their tenth, sixth, and third grades respectively.
Last night at 7 PM, I sent off the latest (and final?) draft of Two Graves to my agent. Maybe my subconscious was at work figuring that the confluence of the eclipse and first day would augur well for its reception. All would be aligned. The protagonist of Two Graves is a Stanford history professor who is recruited to work on anti-terrorism by the Senate Intelligence Committee. In the writing, I drew on memories of my stint as a counsel to that committee way back when. On the very day when I sent off the manuscript, the front page of the country's paper of record featured a story about the committee during my time there. The Times article recalled the controversy that had erupted over the mumble-mouthed Director of Central Intelligence, William Casey. Fred Thompson, the former Watergate minority counsel and the future presidential candidate, was called in to help by the new Republican Senate majority. It was Fred's unstated mission to clear away Casey's problems if possible, which he did. An old colleague from those days once told me she had a picture of Thompson at an after-work party in my townhouse near Dupont Circle in the District.
Two Graves, my memories, and the appearance of the Times article. Another alignment, another syzygy.