#writephoto regulars ~ Meet Marilyn Armstrong

I asked the writephoto challenge regulars if they would like to come over and introduce themselves. Today we meet Marilyn Armstrong, who blogs at Serendipity.

Without those of you who write and read the pieces inspired by the weekly photos, the writephoto prompt would not exist. So, if you follow or take part in the weekly challenge, why come over and introduce yourself too?

Being a regular does not mean taking part every week… so why not drop me a line?

I know where I began and I know where I am, but how did I get here?

I think a lot has to do with — you guessed it — my mother. Born in 1910, she lived through World War I and II, then Korea and Vietnam and anything other war until she died in November 1982. She was politically active from a young age. She remembered how the government poured poison over excess food during the depression so starving people couldn’t eat it.


My mother

I thought she was making it up, but it turned out to be true. She was an avowed atheist, though I think in reality, she was angry with God. She felt that if there was one, he had failed us.

She was a bona fide liberal. She hated racism and wasn’t thrilled with any government. She believed all politicians were corrupt, regardless of party. She hated religious dogma and neglected to tell me I was Jewish until I was in second grade. The subject came up in school. One day, I came home and asked my mother: ” What’s a Jew?”

She looked at my father and spoke the immortal words: “We have to do something about this.”

When the Vietnam War (which wasn’t a war, but a “police action”) was in progress, I was part of the college anti-war group. I pointed out to my mother that all that money we used for the war could be used to fix problems at home.

She looked at me and said: “There is always money for war, but there will never be money for domestic problems.”

I thought she was just being cynical.

I had a lot to learn.

My mother was so against doing things the usual way, I didn’t do things the usual way. The only thing I wanted to do was write, so I became a music major. I never took a writing course. I was sure it would ruin my style. Like, at 17, I really had a style?


I did write for a living, but I wasn’t a lonely novelist in a house on a cliff. Instead, I wrote advertising, promotional material, book flaps, and news. The “who, what, when, where, and how” of news writing turned out to be a good set up any subject. After that, 25 years of technical documents taught me to say it simply and skip the adjectives.

I feel like a bit of a sham since unlike most of the other people who have written for Sue, I only wrote one book. Hardly anyone bought it, though someone offered to make it into a movie — except he couldn’t find a backer. I never really expected it to happen, but it was cool that he offered.

For me, blogging is the most natural way to write. I’ve spent a lifetime writing professional with a boss looking over my shoulder. News and features. Always, there was specific material that needed to be conveyed, a character count, and a boss.

marilyn teepee

The only things I ever wrote for fun were personal letters. I used to write great letters home when I lived overseas. In fact, I’m pretty sure most of my romance with Garry took place via letter.

He wrote. I wrote. He wrote. I wrote. For almost 10 years, we never stopped writing. Once I came back to the U.S., neither of us wrote another letter.

But I remember thinking “I wish there was something I could do which was just like writing letters.” Along came blogging.


Blogging is exactly like writing letters to everyone at the same time. It’s what I always wanted to do and I don’t have a boss at my back. The only thing I miss is having an editor to fix typos and warn me to rewrite awkward language. And a paycheck.

marilyn birthday 68About the Author

Marilyn Armstrong is a writer, blogger and photographer. She started writing as soon as she could form letters and has never heard a single good reason why she should stop. Marilyn and her husband Garry, as well their son, daughter-in-law, granddaugher and various intrepid canines, live in a setting of rare natural beauty and gigantic rocks in rural Massachusetts.

Marilyn blogs at Serendipity where she offers “memories via anecdotes, observations, occasional fiction, and photographs.”

Find and follow Marilyn

Serendipity blog     Twitter    Facebook

Amazon     Goodreads     Google+     LinkedIn

The Twelve Foot Teepee

Fighting the of demons of an abusive childhood and having given up on traditional paths to personal salvation, Maggie decides to find her own path … by building a teepee in her back yard. It’s a peculiar route, but her goal is simple: offload the cargo of her past and move into a future, sans luggage. Armed with a draw knife and a sense of humor, she peels poles and paints canvas until winter passes and she is free.

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
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21 Responses to #writephoto regulars ~ Meet Marilyn Armstrong

  1. Ritu says:

    Hi Marylin!!! Lovely to read more about you xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Marilyn, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Your mom sounds like a strong character for a book 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jordan says:

    A powerful story Marilyn! To honor your Mother is precious. Glad to meet you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you. I think it looks better here!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on Serendipity – Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth and commented:
    On Sue Vincent’s site — Thank you Sue! I always feel a bit silly writing about myself because basically, that’s what I do all the time. It WAS nice to make sure mom got her due. She was amazingly supportive at a time when previous generation mothers were mostly confused by we boomers trying to remake the world. We didn’t remake it nearly well enough, but I hope newer generations do a better job!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I really enjoyed learning more about Marilyn, Sue. Here mother sounds like a very intelligent woman. I would have liked her a lot and I like Marilyn’s blog. It is very interesting.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Pingback: #writephoto regulars ~ Meet Marilyn Armstrong – SUE VINCENT’S DAILY ECHO (Reblog) – Serendipity – Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

  8. I reblogged this, then realized our templates are totally incompatible, so I reblogged is piece by piece so it’s readable. I think it has to do with the different width of the pages of our templates, but it came out really weird. Thank you again!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. TanGental says:

    Ah Marilyn, I love mothers like yours. Shame there isn’t a mold we can use. Mine was a slightly later generation but equally contrarian. So beautifully told too.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Another lovely post! Hi Marilyn! So nice to know more about you ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  11. willowdot21 says:

    I have really enjoyed meeting you and your Mum, Marilyn. ..You have gone one better than me I have not published anything at all so there! Hugs 💜🍃💜🌹

    Liked by 1 person

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