(I’ll be back with the druidic arts tomorrow, but this is on my mind so I want to run with it.)
Fate and destiny are tricky notions. As a Druid, I do not believe in one great creator deity with a grand plan for everything. As a pagan I’m conscious of ideas like the wyrd, and norns, the fates that crop up in various ancient mythologies. Certain of our ancestors do seem to have believed that destiny was in other hands. Supernatural hands at that.
On the whole, I like to think of reality as being a tapestry that we are all making, and of course, what we do now, shapes what we might be going to get. But sometimes, just sometimes, the line of causality that results in a thing happening, is so startling that I wonder. Looking back down the spider web thread that have held aspects of my life together, and the tiny decisions on which momentous things have pivoted, I wonder sometimes. On general principles I don’t like to think something else is pulling my strings, but then I look at what I’ve got, and I wonder. I thought today I’d tell you a story, a tale that is curious, and also entirely true.
About four years ago I was working on something pagan. I don’t remember what, or who it was for, but I put the search term ‘Elemental’ in, and a thing came up that wasn’t remotely what I was looking for. I think I was looking for a Damh the Bard piece on elements of Druidry. Now, normally I’m quite disciplined when working online, I focus on the job, I do not allow myself to get seduced by the many available distractions. That day, either my concentration was down, or I had a little spare time – also unusual. I cannot remember why I did what I did. I look back and wonder about hands on strings. Instead of trying another search term, I clicked play.
I remember that first hearing, the absolute strangeness, the joy of it, the laughing, the rushing to show it to other people. I had found something like nothing else. I had never seen steampunk before, or chap hop. I was enchanted. I had found Professor Elemental. Any time I was really down, or feeling lost I would go back and play the song, and feel better.
Two years ago, my lovely other half was still in America and was invited to appear at the first Steampunk World’s Faire in New Jersey. Looking at what else would be happening, we realised that ‘Professor Elemental’ was also going to be there. So I sent Tom links, and pretty much demanded that he went and at least said hello, as I wouldn’t be able to. Tom did manage to get a chat, during which the Professor’s enthusiasm for comics came to light and a Hopeless Maine bookmark changed hands. On arriving in the UK, Tom made contact with the Professor and the ideas started to flow.
I met Professor Elemental for the first time on Saturday. We’ve been corresponding for about six months now, and dabbling in some shared creativity. His first comic is out sometime around now, and we’ve just committed to doing a 6 page piece for the next one. He’s just shot a TV pilot, we’ve got an Archaia deal, publishers are already expressing interest in what we might do collaboratively. Tom will be doing an album cover, in the future (not the next one, that’s a contest).
Four years ago these things were no more than foolish daydreams. It’s easy to look at someone and think ‘oh, I love what this person does, I could do amazing things with them’. I’d stopped imagining anything like that would happen to me. And yet, these fragile spider webs of opportunity leave their little, sticky trails through the last four years, bringing me from distant admirer status, to someone who is getting to do a thing or three.
Talking in person, the three of us, getting a sense of being both on the same wavelength, and so different from each other that we can go places collectively none of us would have tried as individuals. Stood in a pub garden, overwhelmed by the sheer feeling of rightness, the absolute sense that awen is flowing now and that something is happening that really was supposed to happen.
Only, I don’t quite believe in fate, most of the time.