There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
What I grew up calling ‘coincidence’, but which I now prefer to know as synchronicity, happens so frequently in my daily life that I’ve learnt to take it as a nod from the gods that I’m on the right track in that particular endeavour.
But just as I’ve learned not to ignore the symbols and messages that accompany my dream world, when synchronicity occurs in connection to my books and writing I can only marvel at what we don’t yet know or fully understand about the universe we inhabit.
I’m consistently amazed by the many instances of synchronicity that my writing somehow attracts but there are a couple of extraordinary examples from the last few months that I thought would be interesting to repeat here.
The first of these arrived as an email from a complete stranger, David Rampling – a retired doctor. In researching a topic for a national conference on ‘numismatics’ scheduled for October, he had come across my grandfather Isidore Kozminsky’s name and articles in relation to coinage, and planned to use Isidore’s coin-collecting interest as his subject. We exchanged several emails and I heard again from David after he had read my book A Break in the Chain – the early Kozminskys.
Those of you who have read this book will know that it mentions my great grandfather the Irish Dr William Watkins who was Administrator of the Beechworth Mental Asylum in the nineteenth century – and who became Isidore’s father-in-law following his marriage to Dr Watkin’s daughter Eileen. David ends this email:
And finally a rather extraordinary occurrence. I discovered that I have had a photograph of your great grandfather, Dr W.L. Watkins on my study wall for the past thirty years or so. His photo is part of a large montage of photos of participants in the 1889 Intercolonial Medical Congress of Australasia. I attach my own photo of it taken through its glass frame. Eileen’s father is the central figure in the photo. The montage has all the participants’ names in row order, so linking the names to the images is straight forward. I remember you make reference to the view that ‘chance’ happenings don’t just happen, and I am inclined to agree.
I have a copy of that very same photo in my family album.
This year’s second major instance of synchronicity/writing connection came two or three months ago in relation to my current manuscript. The story is set in South Africa and I woke up one morning with the sudden decision to have it edited in that country. On the basis of her editing credentials and experience, Camilla Singh was an otherwise random first choice by my husband Richard and me from a list of around 70 South African professional editors.
It was partway through her first reading of the manuscript that Camilla first emailed to mention how much the story resonated with her, but it was a week or so later that she went into greater detail. The uncanny parallels between my story and Camilla’s own life shocked us both.
As a result of all this moving, I have never felt that I belonged anywhere. That, and the loss of my brother in the war, made your story feel like my story. It seems amazing that you found me to do your work.
Hmm. As the great man said: There are more things in heaven and earth…
If any of this resonates with you in relation to your own work, hobby or profession, I’d love to hear from you, either as a comment on this site or through my web contact address.
If you’re looking for a constructive and thorough editor, I’d like to give a shout-out for Camilla Singh.
Centre for Stories/Northbridge/Nov 9
The first installment of ‘Stories from Country’, a series of live storytelling events from Aboriginal storytellers coming soon at the Centre for Stories, Aberdeen Street, Northbridge. (In the latest instance of synchronicity, this email pinged onto my desktop a few minutes ago just as I was typing up this noticeboard. Scary!) Incidentally, the Centre for Stories also has a regular writing group. Check it out.
Qigong classes/western suburbs/Nov 4
After many years of training in the martial art of qigong, my sister Toni is offering courses in the discipline. Enrollment for the next class now open for Saturday Nov 4. Act now! You’ll never regret. For details: firstname.lastname@example.org