Serendipity is a strange thing and the word itself has been deemed one of the 10 most difficult English words to translate.
It can mean fortuitous, coincidental, finding something good when you’re not looking for it, a come-by-chance fortunate moment or, in my case, meeting someone with whom you have incredible similarities.
I first discovered author Carolyn Muir Helfenstein when she sent a short article to me that she thought we might be interested in publishing as a human interest piece As editor of several on-line news publications, I of course was interested. The piece titled … Why Not? A New Adventure, immediately appealed to me and I knew it would also appeal to our readers and, of course, I was right.
At the bottom of Carolyn’s article was her phone number that she offered for further information. Well, being the curious sort, I took her up on the offer and called. That began what was an hour long phone call, during which we discovered we had had many similarities throughout life – a passion for writing, the fear of taking a risk and doing it anyway (Why Not?), a love of theatre, families with dogs and kids and many others, and then many email messages back and forth,
I also learned that she and her husband moved from the city and, knowing nothing about farming, became dairy farmers. After many years of farming, they moved into publishing when they bought a small community-based newspaper, The Teeswater News. Starting in their own home on the Second Concession, they grew to an operation that presented two weeklies and several agriculturally oriented publications and won many awards. She said that, while they faced the challenge of never having any newspaper experience, they felt the satisfaction that comes from being active in their community. Ditto for me.
Carolyn also told me that when she and her family decided to make a move into a new endeavour, friends and family would ask them “Why”? Her answer? “Why Not?”
The result? ‘Why Not? a memoir in black and white‘, became a book published by Brucedale Press. Brucedale Press is owned by someone I know very well, Anne Judd, who is a publisher with a local focus and whose books and the stories they contain are proudly produced as close to home as possible, and always within Ontario. Another coincidence, or simply a small circle of people who write and publish?
We, Carolyn and I, have yet to meet face-to-face, which makes it almost like taking a step back to a time when ‘pen pals’ were a thing. You never know who you can meet if you reach out and, sometimes, all it takes is a conversation.
Serendipitous? I believe so. Two of my now favourite words … Why Not?