The Art of Shambles, by Miss Tick
A shamble: A handmade device for the focusing of magic. Like a lens, its primary uses include detecting, magnifying and projecting - in this instance - of magic.
‘Coincidence’ is an arrogant sort of a word, I’ve always thought. It takes all the glory and does none of the work.
It’s a word for when ‘fate’, ‘magic’ and, sometimes even, ‘miracle’ have been sat on the naughty step for being altogether too interesting.
The fact your mother and your father were of compatible genders, and indeed species, was an overwhelming stroke of luck. That they happened to be in the same place, on the same day and furthermore, though that it would be a jolly nice idea to knock boots to see what happened, well that depended on an astronomical array of variables. Remarkably, their mothers and their fathers managed a similar unutterably unlikely feat. As did their parents, and their before them. In fact, the chance of you existing in this place at this time is nothing short of magnificently, awe-inspiringly, jaw-droppingly improbably or, if you prefer, a bit of a ‘coincidence’.
The here and now is the pinnacle of hundreds of millions of little ‘coincidences’, of chances, all lined up in the exact fashion needed to produce this precise moment. This is where I find the power of my shambles. It is the coming together of objects which, against all probability, somehow conspired to be right here, right now, right when I needed them. The magic lies in the moment. Too often we let parts of ourselves wander off to the future, wondering what;s for dinner or allowing our memories to drag the past into the now. Building a shambles focuses the mind. It anchors you to one precise moment, and believe me, when a witch gathers all of herself in one place at one time, she can have a significant bearing on the next poor unsuspecting moment that comes along.
Of course, this is simply my way. We each make and use them differently, and a shambles in itself is not to be considered magical, but rather as a tool of magic. After all, owning a chisel doesn’t make one a sculptor, but it doesn’t half help. Shambles can be used for many things in many ways, but there are rules. The shambles must be built at the time it is to be used and from items that happen to be around you. It doesn’t hurt to have a few suitable items about your person in case of emergencies; after all, why can’t a well-stocked pocket serve as an eldritch agent of destiny on occasion? A shamble must contain an element of life; a beetle, an egg, a seed perhaps, and it must look the part (after all we are witches), but most importantly it must feel right.
- from 2016 Discworld Diary: A Practical Manual for the Modern Witch, by Terry Pratchett, aided and abetted by the Discworld Emporium