Coincidences happen so often that it’s surprising we still find them a bit weird. I like the fact that they happen; they give a teasing idea that there might, after all, be meaning, purpose, direction. I don’t believe there is but when seemingly separate events mirror one another or disconnected phenomena assume identical shapes or sequences, we like the idea that there’s a sort of pattern involved and we start looking for it. It’s a small step from that to claiming that there’s a controlling, organising mind or essence behind it. The mysterious ways in which God moves become more so if He has to resort to what G.K.,Chesteron called ‘spiritual puns’.
In a previous blog, I listed the coincidences which cropped up in writing The Figurehead. What I like about them is that they fire up the imagination. When one occurs, the immediate response is to ask ‘why?’ and to start using the elements involved to provide your own answer. So I’d welcome Freudian, Jungian, Christian or any-other-ian suggestions as to the significance of the one which I’m about to describe.
I’ve written before about Richard Wood’s ever-fascinating and entertaining Word Count Podcast. I’ve made several online friends as a result of contributing short stories and flash fiction to it. In fact, I’ve interviewed and been interviewed by one such friend, Eden Baylee, who lives in Canada, and we’ve even spoken of contributing a joint effort at some point. Collaborative writing is demanding but great fun.
Anyway, the latest of Richard’s podcasts which was first broadcast yesterday, had an extra personal edge to it for one particular reason. It only has three stories, by Eden, another friend Kimberley Gould, and me. These were all submitted independently to Richard, the only common ground between them being that they all had to contain the words ‘Woman’, ‘Book’ and ‘Fall’. None of us knew what sort of story the others were writing.
Eden’s came first – a tongue in cheek tale of a woman passionate about reading. The book absorbing her as the story starts (and ends) was written by a famous crime writer in Scotland called Bill Kirton. No, no, that’s not the coincidence; despite the striking similarities, the character isn’t me, because he’s internationally renowned, fans are desperate for his latest novel and sales suggest he must be immensely rich. Eden’s story ends with the (relevant) revelation that the Bill Kirton book the woman is reading is called The Fall.
Next up in the show is me, with a tale about brand names and a woodpecker. But here’s the spooky bit. The title of my story, about which Eden knew nothing as she was writing hers was… The Fall.
What are the chances?