It must be 12 years ago now. I was living in Allston “Rock City”, playing guitar in a shoe-gazing instrumental indie rock trio. My G string broke. No, not that G string (not that kind of band). Out of extra strings, I managed to find a D string lying on the rehearsal room floor. I strung it on and kept playing. See, a D string is wound steel, and thicker than a G string, which is a single strand. But winding it tighter and tighter, I was able to tune it back up to a G.
From that day on, I exclusively played with two D strings (one tuned to G) instead of a normal set of guitar strings. It changed the way I played, changed the sound and timbre of my setup. It became a part of the DNA that made up whatever it was we were creating.
It’s been happening throughout history, of course. Beautiful accidents. Unintentional intentions. We can’t plan these mistakes, but wish we could. What seems like disaster, turns into the spark that ignites what we perceive later as “rightly so”.
And it happens all the time when I’m designing. Oops, I dumped a white paint can where color used to be. Wait. That’s nice. It’s become a part of my process. A part I can’t anticipate, or account for, but a part nonetheless.
I’ve been thinking about ways to facilitate these accidents. Make them happen more often. I haven’t come up with anything yet. Too much coffee, not enough coffee, time of day, etc.—are they really accidents, or our subconscious guiding the way?
Until I figure out, I’ll keep adapting, accepting and discovering.