A recent blog post by my guru of all things entrepreneurial, Barbara Winter, caught my attention. She writes about “intentioned serendipity,” which may sound like an oxymoron, but it all depends on how you look at it. Some people may take objection to the concept of serendipity, relegating it to the New Age world of woo-woo. If you fall into this category, then perhaps “coincidence” will suffice. I love noticing coincidences. Acknowledging them, pondering their meaning, is like following a trail of crumbs in the forest, right behind Hansel and Gretel.
Shortly after reading BW’s post, I read an interesting anecdote on Facebook, posted by a classmate in the MFA program. Last week she was in need of details about boxing in the 1930s, for something she’s writing. Lo and behold, the next day she gets a call from her boss with a new home care nursing assignment. (drum roll …) When she arrives at her new client’s home she is blown away when his living room wall is covered in memorabilia from his boxing days in the ’30s!!! Love that.
So why the doll and toy mosaic? I have my own little tale of serendipity this week. Not big, but something. The kind of coincidence that has me snapping my head left and right, looking over my shoulder to see who’s responsible for this magic. …
Our visit to see friends in western New York last week included a stop at Monkey See, Monkey Do bookstore, where our friends’ son was enrolled in Cooking Camp (sounds fun, doesn’t it?). On a whim, I asked the owner if there were any copies of The Lonely Doll in stock. You see, this was one of my favorite picture book series when I was little. My love for dolls has stayed with me over time, to the point where I make little set-ups with them in my craft room, window sills, and book shelves, and take workshops to learn more about how to make them, too. Since finding a cozy niche with vignette photography, it has been on my mind to create my own series of doll story photo illustrations. Alas, there were no copies in stock at the bookstore. They could order one for me, but I was only passing through and would be gone before it could arrive. So I restuck the idea into the interior reaches of my To-Do-&-Make queue and didn’t give the idea much further thought. Until yesterday.
While looking in the library stacks for Joyce Maynard’s memoir, guess what I found in its place — on the shelf where Maynard’s book should have been? The Secret Life of The Lonely Doll – the search for Dare Wright! It’s a biography of The Lonely Doll’s author and photographer, whose name I never really knew. I practically squealed with delight at the surprise, the serendipity, the coincidence, and went right to the check-out counter.
One line on the cover jacket really spoke to me: “…the unforgettable story of a woman who, imprisoned by her childhood, sought to free herself through art.” Echoes from my own memoir’s summary. Wow.
So, getting back to the patterns in coincidence. I believe that if we are focused on something, the bread crumbs are there for us to follow. It’s all a matter of noticing them. And then, of course, what we do with them. Nothing happens without action.
I’d love to hear your stories of serendipity. Care to share?