I Saw the Sign

Victoria Schade Writing

Do you believe in signs?

You know what I mean … you see something that you interpret as a harbinger of what’s to come, or a hint that you’re headed in the right direction. Like, if you’re trying to decide if you should relocate and you see a billboard with just the word “move” on it seconds later.

One of the coolest signs that kept popping up as I worked on Life on the Leash was Cora’s dress. There’s a scene set in Saks where Cora tries on different gowns – envision it like the beloved “main character cycles through outfits” montage in a movie. All of the options she tries on really exist … the Givenchy, the Donna Karan, and of course, the Herve Leger. I scrolled through hundreds of gowns when I wrote that scene (nice work if you can get it), but for some reason the gold dress was “the one” for Cora. And so it was written.

Then I got the sign … a few months later, flipping through a random magazine, there was THE DRESS! Of all the dresses in all the magazines, there was Cora’s amid the pages of the March 2015 issue of Princeton Magazine (A rando mag that I’d never even seen before.) Aside from the cap sleeves – Cora’s had straps – it was exactly what she tried on.

Totally a sign, right?

But wait, there’s more.

A year later, passing through Nordstrom, and my eye is drawn the sale rack. A gold dress. Could it be? I walked over and sure enough … THE FRICKIN’ DRESS!

Now I had the actual dress in my hands!

Of course you know what I did.

It was three sizes too small and un-zip-up-able, but I had to try it on. Note the casual hand across my midsection – it was quite unforgiving. But I loved getting to sample Cora’s magical dress!

Those little and not-so-little signs buoyed me as I worked on Life on the Leash. There were so many more, but the dress signs felt special.

Now I’m finding new signs as I finish up my second novel. I’m kicking around a different title than what I started with, and I proposed a new one word title to my husband over the weekend. (He’s my trusted sounding board.) The next day, the Washington Post had a feature article titled with the exact word I was considering.

I’m still not sure if I’m going to go with the new title, but that sign was a sweet cosmic vote for it.