Fear in Writing: Serendipitous Barthes

Today in Literary History

Today in Literary History...December 14, 1907: Rudyard Kipling receives the Nobel prize for literature, the first English-language writer to do so.ud

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Serendipitous Barthes

Heard of Roland Barthes?  A Vanity Fair article on the man caught my eye in November, but I didn't think much more about him beyond the back cover.  Then I walked through the bookstore.  And there, in the clearance rack, was a Barthes Reader.  Clearance?  Barthes?  It was serendipitous.  I just had to buy it, and I did.

Is serendipity just luck?  Does it mean something is "meant to be?"  Or is it a truly fortuitous coincidence?

I don't know.  I don't even know if I'll like the Barthes Reader.  But I know a good idea when I have one.  And if something pops into my head because of a find like this--a find twice pushed in my face--then I'll know true serendipity.

How about you?  Do you ever find something great by luck, an idea or even a purchase?


  1. Michele - Oh, that's so interesting that you found that Barthes! I think that if we're open to it, serendipity can certainly happen. I know it did when my family and I moved to California. It just so happened that someone at my husband's company was planning to leave, so he was able to get a transfer within his company to California instead of having to look for a new job. Talk about planning to go to the right place at the right time...

  2. It was meant to be! And on clearance as well.

  3. Yes, it happens from time to time that I find something great or useful by luck. Once I bought the Numerical Recipes book for $3 in a Salvation Army 2nd hand store. New price is $80. And some years ago I found The Picture of Dorian Gray for 50 cents in the Left Hand Bookstore in Boulder >:)

    Cold As Heaven

  4. Serendipity has given me shivers down my spine a time or two. Things happen for a reason; I don't believe in coincidence.

  5. I believe everything happens for a reason, but sometimes it 'appears' as chance, as the wonderful serendipity of life. And I LOVE it when that happens!

  6. I think serendipity or auspicious coincidence must be paid attention to. For instance I had a dream last week in which I saw this form swimming underwater. I asked my husband what it was (he knows everything) and he told me it was an 'aleph'. I have spent a lot of time this week tracking that down and I just realized that isn't serendipity but it is too late for me to think what it is! ha. So yes, read the book. There's a reason.

  7. I tend to look at those things as meant to be, too. Unfortunately, my mind is more like a collander than a pot, so my most recent event--a highly recommended YA author who I heard of for the first time twice in the same day--once via book recommendation, once via NaNoWriMo--I have forgotten the name of! I will know it when I see it again though, and go straight to my library website and request something...