Novels are full of coincidence, so often they rely on them to fulfill the plot. Where else could we happily believe in a narrative in which the hero escapes from a castle where he has been held captive and flees into a dark forest, many miles from home and somewhere he has never been before. In the forest he meets with a hermit, who has lived there 20 years. Only after spending a few days together and each being attracted by the others humanity and sensibility to they discover that the hermit is the hero's long lost father.
It happens, and we lap it up.
Anyway, reading a website article this morning about Holy Wells I found within it, totally unrelated to the topic, a mention of the Gothic Society. It just so heppened I had been thinking about the Gothic Society half an hour earlier in the context of coincidences.
Just by way of the Gothic Society, I have posted about it before, it existed throughout the 1990s, was run by the wonderfully imaginative Jennie Gray, and was dedicated to the dark and obscure backwaters of art, literature and life that was commonly referred to as Gothic. In its early days it tried to promote meetings, but the thinly dispersed nature of the membership meant that most members remained in contact through its magazine published 2-4 times annually. Initially called The Goth and later renamed Udolpho. One of the original contributors now appears regularly on Time Team, others have since written scholarly books on Gothic literature.
That was a diversion, but the issue of the membership being thinly spread around the globe was a pertinent point to draw. A few years ago, some time after the Gothic Society ceased to be, i sat opposite a man in the office at work every day who I would in now way describe as being Gothic. We talked daily on a range of work and non work related topics, but Gothic never came up. Until one day I happened to be reading one of the Gothic Society publications. He saw it in my bag and asked straight out had I been a member of the Society? And it turned out that so had he. of all the gin joints, in all the towns in all the world, what a place to find a fellow member.
That's all really, just thinking coincidences since the place where we worked could in now way be described as somewhere that would attract people interested in gothic ideas, and to find two of us placed randomly side by side in the office.
So when we read the coincidences in the novels, just allow that sometimes they really can happen.