WHY SERENDIPITY? – Marilyn Armstrong

For seven years, Serendipity was the “official” name of this blog. One day WordPress decided the money I paid wasn’t enough to protect the title of my blog and we disappeared. Vanished.

To emerge back into the light, I had to come up with a “more unique name” so readers could find us. In between, some kid — one of WordPress’s “happiness engineers” explained that the problem was really that I am irrelevant. People — the general public — no longer (overnight) likes anything I write.

He really pissed me off and I’m still holding a grudge. I actually asked him what award-winning work he was currently writing. He explained he hoped someday to write something pretty good but hadn’t gotten there yet. I asked him if he’d ever written anything at all and he said, “not yet, but he was planning to.”

I wanted to reach through the computer, grab him by the throat, and throttle him. Luckily, I can’t do that … but someday.

A year later, we are very much back as “Serendipity – Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth” which is really the name of the post plus the “subtitle” in one title and you can find all 8,729 posts by using at least half of this annoyingly long title — or the name of whoever posted it the piece.

A few years ago, a few more people started writing for the blog and now, we are five. Garry and Tom write when they feel like it, Ellin and Rich write at least one piece a week and I do whatever remains and these days, a lot of them are pictures of birds.

Rich Paschall – in France

Rich Paschall has been writing, always on Sunday, but sometimes other days. Now that he is retiring, I expect to hear more from him. He has also been an incredible help to me when I’ve been out sick for long periods of time, especially when I was in for, then recovering from, a massive amount of heart surgery.

I don’t know if this site would have survived without his assistance and I will always be deeply grateful for his caring and concern, even though we’ve never personally met. I keep hoping one of these days, we will meet!

Tom Curley in performance

Friends Ellin and Tom Curley — well, we’ve been friends a long time. Tom, and Garry and I all worked at the same college radio station and Ellin is the wife Tom always needed but didn’t know until they met. I love happy marriages!

Ellin Curley

Tom writes when his personal lightning hits while Ellin is a loyal, regular writer and is beginning to get the hang of photography as another way of writing the story.

All of us have a lot to say.

Garry talks about his life as a TV news reporter and all the people he met along the way. Tom talks about his life and views as a TV director, producer, and engineer.

Not to mention his post TV life doing Audio theater in which Ellin is his partner.Garry Armstrong

Everyone has a LOT to say about the political world, mostly not very good stuff, but that’s the way it is these days.

“Serendipity is defined as the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.” – Dictionary Definition.

Basically, life is all serendipity. I started this site 6-1/2 (seven years in February!) years ago and have garnered closing on 800,000 views from almost every country on the planet.

And still, I see a frightful lack of intelligent life on Earth.

Stupidity is exploding at an unsustainable rate. I thought we had reached epic levels of stupid, but there’s just no stopping it.

Marilyn Armstrong

Watching Jim Jeffries last night “interviewing” the Q people who also appear to be “flat world” believers … and believe Hillary Clinton kills babies for their blood. All of which beliefs are based on zero evidence. None of these bizarre “humans” think “proof” or “evidence” is important. Stupidity reigneth.

When you witness that sort of thing, not only do you get a splitting headache, but you realize seeking intelligent life on Earth may be a futile effort. To seek, yet never find.

There is no intelligent life on Earth. We are like Arthur’s knights seeking a Grail that never got to Britain and possibly never existed. Yet we seek it.

Serendipity? Well, there are two reasons for it as this blog’s title.

First, there is a lovely chocolate shop in Manhattan named “Serendipity.” They serve iced chocolate that is to die for. When I was a teener, it was the place to be, the coolest place in the big city. It continues to exist and I’m betting it’s still the place to be, especially if you live in New York, are young, and looking for life.

A flyaway woodpecker!

The other reason is more obvious. Life is serendipity. You go looking for one thing, you find something else. While you are “settling for that other thing,” you discover you like it more than whatever you were looking for. A lot of my writing is entirely serendipitous. I start writing and something falls out of my hands into the keyboard and sometimes, it’s pretty good.

We are born.

We have no idea who we are or what we will be.

We may never know who we are or what we will be.

We make choices, which may or may not work out, but regardless they are temporary. Because everything changes. We live many different lives and few of them are planned.

Life isn’t something you plan.
It just is.

SERENDIPITY IN MATURITY – WHAT’S NEXT? – Marilyn Armstrong

WHAT’S NEXT?


I had been having the same depressing dream for a while. I’d wake up, fall back to sleep and there that stupid dream was. Again. When I opened my eyes, finally realizing I wasn’t going to close them again, I thought: “Forget about fixing the universe. I should just fix me.”

I have really loved this blog. I’ve loved being able to write whatever I want without a boss looking over my shoulder. Now, I’m wondering why I feel like I’ve blocked myself off into a corner, why nothing feels quite “right.”

It used to be if you wrote a good piece, people read it. Now, I’ve got lots of people stopping by and “liking” stuff, but I have a distinct impression folks don’t really read anything.

Meanwhile, I have a huge base of “followers” — and I never hear from 99% of them. Who ARE those people? They can’t all be Russian hackers, can they?

I don’t want to get rid of Serendipity. I’ve put years of effort into it and it matters. To me, anyway. I realize it’s no big deal in the great scheme of things, but it’s meant a lot to me. I want it to go on, but I don’t want it to rule my life.

Where is that middle ground we are always talking about?

I enjoy writing. I like communicating. These days, I’m not sure I’m doing either. Is anyone hearing anyone anymore?

How do you feel? Do you feel your better pieces get attention or does it seem that posts fly by and no one hears you?

WORD PROMPT: SERENDIPITY ARE US – Marilyn Armstrong

Word Prompt: Serendipity


For six and a half years, Serendipity was the name of this blog. One day WordPress decided the money I pay per wasn’t enough to protect the title of my blog and for months, we disappeared.

Eventually, I had to come up with a “more unique name” so readers could find us.  Three (four? five?) months later, now we are “Serendipity – Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth” and the only way you will find all of my 8,000 posts is by using at least half of the full annoyingly long title — or the name of whoever posted it.

A few years ago, a few more people started writing for the blog and now, we are five. Right now, Garry isn’t writing much because he’s between surgery and techno-hearing-headgear and just hasn’t felt like it, but usually, he does write. Intermittently, by mood.

Rich Paschall – in France

Rich Paschall has been writing, always on Sunday, but sometimes other days. Now that he is retiring, I expect to hear more from him. He has also been an incredible help to me when I’ve been out sick for long periods of time, especially when I was in for, then recovering from, a massive amount of heart surgery.

I don’t know if this site would have survived without his assistance and I will always be deeply grateful for his caring and concern, even though we’ve never personally met. I keep hoping one of these days, we will meet!

Tom Curley in performance

Friends Ellin and Tom Curley — well, we’ve been friends a long time. Tom, and Garry and I all worked at the same college radio station and Ellin is the wife Tom always needed but didn’t know until they met. I love happy marriages!

Ellin Curley

Tom writes when his personal lightning hits while Ellin is a loyal, regular writer and is beginning to get the hang of photography as another way of writing the story.

All of us have a lot to say.

Garry talks about his life as a TV news reporter and all the people he met along the way. Tom talks about his life and views as a TV director, producer, and engineer. Not to mention his post TV life doing Audio theater — of which Ellin is also a major component.

Garry Armstrong

Everyone has a LOT to say about the political world, mostly not very good stuff, but that’s the way it is these days.

“Serendipity is defined as the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.” – Dictionary Definition.

Basically, life is all serendipity. I started this site 6-1/2 years ago and have garnered more than 700,000 (closing rapidly on 800,000) views from almost every country on the planet. And still, I see a frightful lack of intelligent life on Earth.

Stupidity is exploding at an unsustainable rate. I thought we had reached epic levels of stupid, but there’s just no stopping it.

Marilyn Armstrong

Watching Jim Jeffries last night “interviewing” the Q people who also appear to be “flat world” believers … and believe Hillary Clinton kills babies for their blood. All of which beliefs are based on zero evidence. None of these bizarre “humans” think “proof” or “evidence” is important. Stupidity reigneth.

When you witness that sort of thing, not only do you get a splitting headache, but you realize seeking intelligent life on Earth may be a futile effort. To seek, yet never find.

There is no intelligent life on Earth. We are like Arthur’s knights seeking a Grail that never got to Britain and possibly never existed. Yet we seek it.

Serendipity? Well, there are two reasons for it as this blog’s title.

First, there is a lovely chocolate shop in Manhattan named “Serendipity.” They serve an iced chocolate that is to die for. When I was a teener, it was the place to be, the coolest place in the big city. It continues to exist and I’m betting it’s still the place to be, especially if you live in New York, are young, and looking for life.

The other reason is more obvious. Life is serendipity. You go looking for one thing, you find something else. While you are “settling for that other thing,” you discover you like it more than whatever you were looking for.

We are born. Have no idea who we are or what we will be. We never really know who we are or what we will be. We make choices, but they don’t work out or they work for a while and then everything changes. We live utterly different lives than our “plans.”

Because life isn’t something to be planned.
It’s life. It just is.

SIX YEARS AND A MILLION MILES TO GO

According to WordPress, I started this blog on February 4, 2012. That’s not entirely accurate. I picked the name and signed up with WordPress on that date, but all I did was write a couple of paragraphs that basically said “I have no idea what I’m doing or why I’m doing it.” It took until the following June for me to blog more than once a month and it was August by the time I got into the swing of things, so to speak.

At least I sort of know why and what I’m doing this these days. Put most simply, I always wanted to run a newspaper and this is as close as I am going to get. I don’t even need to sell advertising to keep the paper running. Also, I think there’s a chance Serendipity can make a difference. Even if it’s a little, tiny difference … it’s something.

International Serendipity

Besides … I’m retired. What else should I be doing with my time?

Writing is my thing. I starting writing as soon as I could form letters and clutch a pencil. I don’t seem likely to run out of words anytime soon.

With joy in my heart, I have corralled others into my scheme. It has made this site infinitely better. We all have something worthwhile to say, but each of us says it in our own voice. Garry couldn’t escape my clutches and was doomed from the start. Rich was a great writer who deserved a bigger audience. Ellin thought it sounded interesting and she had stories to tell. After which I pointed out to Tom that he would feel much better about life if he would write too. So he did.

Wasn’t I lucky? All these smart, funny people contributing, so instead of this site beginning to fade from time and tedium, it feels like we’re just getting started.

I never imagined that Serendipity would become an enterprise, but I’m delighted that it has. If I had not been able to come up with such fantastic support, you’d be bored to death with me by now. Or maybe I’d be bored to death with me. Maybe both.

The Years of Serendipity

So in the course of 6 years, we’ve got almost 644,00 views and together we’ve written more than 7,000 posts. I have no idea how many photographs we’ve got. I’m afraid to find out.


14,800 followers, but I only hear from a couple of dozen of you. Will the rest of you please wave your hands in the air?


Thanks. I needed that.

It’s such a strange time in which we are living. I started writing the year Obama was running for the second time. I though that was a rough, tough political time. Little did I know what was lurking in our future.

The craziness of what’s going on in the world has changed the way we all write. I know there are a lot of people who feel they can’t must never write about politics. The thing is, I don’t feel you can not write about politics any more than you can avoid mentioning ecology and climate change, economy and education. All the life and death issues facing us … how can we pretend they don’t exist?

This is the stuff of our daily lives . We don’t have to write about it all the time and we don’t need to be deadly serious, either … but I don’t think we can simply act like it’s not there. Or maybe I just think we shouldn’t do that.

Regardless, I’m a writer and what I see as reality tends to intrude on my head space.

In the end, for me, reality simply is. What goes on — everywhere — is my virtual house. I can’t ignore it. I don’t want to beat it to death or make it the only thing I talk about … but I won’t pretend it’s not there — nor will I run from possible controversy. I think it’s too important to ignore, more so because it is so troubling.

Maybe that’s my self-appointed job — to look at the world and talk about it. If we can all do it with humor and commonsense, even better.

Six years. 7,030 posts. 643,800 views and a million miles to go …

POPULARITY

ONLINE POPULARITY


This has been an exceptional year for SERENDIPITY. As of today — October 1, 2017 — we have gotten more views for this year than for any previous year. Having other writers helped — and especially, it has helped me.

Moreover, this has been a strange year. A difficult, frightening year for many Americans. More people are online, all looking to make sense of a world we thought we knew. Looking for answers to questions we never imagined we could have.

I want to thank you — all you writers and readers who visit me even when I’m not having a sublime, artistic day. Some days, I know I’m’ pretty lame. I’m pretty sure this is one of them. My head is spinning with ideas, but none of them are congealing into something coherent. There are times when not writing is the best thing I can do.

I’ll leave it here. It has been a great year. Yesterday was the best day of September and the entire year has been exceptional, start to finish.

I’ve been trying to pull back enough so I have more time to take pictures and write. Which also means I have less time to read everyone else’s stuff.  I feel bad about that. If I could stretch my days an extra 10 hours, I’m sure I could get it all done, but until time becomes more elastic, I’m stuck with the standard 24 hours, some of which I have to give over to sleep. Even though I hate wasting all that time.

You make the days light up and give my world meaning.

As long as the computer keeps chugging along and the WiFi pumps through the wires, I’m with you.

I AIN’T MARCHING ANYMORE

Am I the only person in this country to have never worn a uniform? I never competed in sports … except as a bench-warmer for the high school swimming team. They didn’t have uniforms. I don’t think the team was good enough to compete anywhere.

I wasn’t in the marching band or any kind of military or nearly military group. I went to standard state schools through high school — so no uniforms there — and a private college. No uniforms there, either. I haven’t even worn a costume for a play.

If I want to look at uniform in another way, I don’t think I ever did anything in a “uniform way” either. I was always too young to do what everyone else was doing when I was a kid. I never followed the main stream in anything and it wasn’t because I didn’t want to, but because I wasn’t the kind of kid that got swept up by friends. I never joined a party except the Democrats … and they are such a fragmented bunch … no uniforms. Nothing even organized, much less uniform.

I suppose getting together with friends and (briefly) wearing our Serendipity shirts is almost like a uniform. Does baseball gear count too?

So, I’ve never marched and now that I’m 70. I have trouble walking, much less marching, I guess it isn’t going to happen. Not they I ever had a secret yen to become a marcher. Okay, I admit, a marching band was a cool idea, but as a pianist, that didn’t seem likely.

My husband joined the Marine Corps. That probably counts double, so I can claim secondary rights as someone married to someone who joined the Marine Corps.  Semper Fi!

FIVE YEARS OF SERENDIPITY

Today is Serendipity’s fifth birthday. Very few blogs survive this long. I’m amazed to find myself in such rarefied company!

Since February 2012 when I decided to give this blogging thing a shot, to an eclectic site featuring five intelligent, creative, smart — and often funny — writers creating relevant, unique content, it’s been quite a trip. We’ve got friends around the world in places I’ve only dreamed about and probably will never be able to visit in person, but I go there regularly in spirit.

serendipity-five-years

Through Serendipity, I’ve traveled to every continent and I hope the journey never ends. There’s so much world out there.

It’s really hopping on the Internet these days and we are closing rapidly on half a million views. I’m personally astounded at this turn of events and all I can say, is wow, thanks everyone! And it’s not because of one or two viral posts but rather a compendium of many posts, by me, but  now by Rich, Garry, Ellin, and Tom, too.

Online friends are real. I feel like I know you and share your lives and I hope you feel the same about me. I miss you when I don’t hear from you, worry when you are sick. Always wish you were my real-life neighbor so we could sit and schmooze and eat too many cookies.

A blog is a living thing. It thrives because of you. You read. You comment — and you inspire me. We engage each other. Exchange ideas, news. We teach each other all kinds of stuff. We enrich each others’ lives. We make each other laugh and cry. In time of trouble, you make me feel better. Because out there, in that great big world, we are friends.

I didn’t think I’d still be here — writing or even breathing — in 2017. I certainly didn’t expect this bizarre world in which we are currently living. But, if there’s a bright side to this mess. Life may be horrifying, frightening, weird, and surreal, but it’s not boring. There’s always something to write about. Maybe you shouldn’t think about that too hard. Maybe I shouldn’t, either. In fact, forget I even said it.

From all of us, to all of you, I’m very glad we inhabit the same planet and are connected to each other. I love you guys.