Since each of us was several, there was quite a crowd. Here we have made use of everything that came within range, what was closest as well as fartherest away. (Deleuze & Guattari, in the introduction to A Thousand Plateaus, 3)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

By Coincidence

I find myself collecting all those small fragments left over from a quilt, fragments too precious to throw into the bin beneath my work table. The pile grows steadily until it starts to encroach into my working space, then a pile of plant-dyed wools gets mixed with the fragments and, here before me, by pure coincidence and little else, I have the making of a quilt--my 'parallel journeys' quilt, named in honour of an emerging and unexpected (coincidental?) collaboration. I choose my words with care. Already 'pure' unsettles me, questions arise in my writing mind ('honour' seems appropriate it's how I feel, honoured that such actions, those of collaboration seem to be emerging of their own volition into the light).

'Pure' is by definition: unmixed, unadulterated but 'coincidence' (occurring or being together) blends those that occur or be together, creating other meaning, symbols or memories. As a noun it lacks the dynamic self which lies within it, while 'coincide' in its verb form appeals to me more--by introducing both time and space into the equation (huh I seem to be arguing my scientific self here, losing the spontaneity of a coincidence, that leap of thought to somewhere until then unknown).

I had set out to make a list of coincidences but instead I find it is coincidence itself which appears to be a dynamic of this project. I have Francis Ponge and Ruth to thank for this insight. A book of Ponge's selected poems sits next to me as I write and I had lifted it absent-mindedly (my mind coincidentally elsewhere concerning itself with Nick's un-wellness and need for chicken soup) and read it before I started to type out this erstwhile list.

Water's restlessness: sensitive to the slightest change of slope. Jumping downstairs both feet at a time. Playful, childishly obedient, coming right back when you call it by shifting the incline to this side (FP, Selected Poems, p59).

And a poem by Mark Tredinnick included in this year's "Best Australian Poems": for I am also marked by the moon, my vision occluded.


  1. Have you ever watched the movie "I heart Huckabees" ? It has a great bi-line on coincidences throughout it. . .

    I really like the idea for this quilt. There is something almost desperate to the level of 'salvaging' and I wonder how small a pile of threads you could get down to. And it works as a really lovely way of documenting past projects. . .

  2. Hooray, hooray how I love finding a comment waiting for me! Yes now you mention it, some of the threads of fabric are pretty small and yes perhaps the quilt has a sense of desperation to it, being unable to let go of even the smallest piece of favourite cloth!

  3. PS I haven't watched that movie, I'll look out for it!