At the Crossroad

I put forth a challenge at the first of August (2014), asking you to submit your story titles and I would in turn write five hundred words or more just from the title. One of my personal tricks to keep the writers block at bay is to come up with just a title. I keep an ongoing list of titles to spark the creative juices. As promised I will use one each week for the month of August to pen a new story. The list of titles is listed below. Thanks for all your input. While I can’t write to all of these, I do hope that you get to see yours in print.

The Blue Truck Across the Street – While Waiting

The Difference Between Penguins and Lions

Talking Heads – Floating Heads – If God Is In Front of Us – My Lullaby Was Rhiannon

At the Crossroad – You’re Not Going to Believe This

When I Thought It Was Over, the Adventure Had Just Started – Finding Dead End Roads

Secrets in Every Man’s Life – 21 Year Journey

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At the Crossroad
Submitted by Kathleen Woodruff Esguerra

Life is about choices.

There are a lot of every day choices that are relatively non consequential. Mostly so because we have made up a basic set of guidelines we intend to follow. We decide what time we get up in the morning, what we have for breakfast, what clothes we put on, which route we take to get to work, what we say to people in response to their comments and questions. Most of these choices are decisions we make on autopilot. We don’t have to think about them because we’ve set up guidelines that we unwittingly adhere to without much thought.

Some choices become a form of habit; what we watch on television, the products we buy, the foods we eat and drink. At some point we made choices about these things, but for the most part they become routine answers that we tend to follow without much thought. These are all the easy choices.

Then we come to places in life where we know our choices are profound. We have to decide between one college or another or what curriculum we choose to follow. We have to decide if and how to punish a child for mistakes they have made. We have to decide to accept a marriage proposal, or break up with the person because they seem to have choices in mind that don’t fit with our own. We have to make hard decisions sometimes that are life changing. What becomes even more profound is when we have to make choices that go against what we want, what we believe and how we feel.

We don’t always have the luxury of time in many cases. Sometimes we have hours, minutes or only a moment to make decisions that are life changing. Then other times we are in places where we really don’t have to make any choice at all; which of course is a choice in itself.

crossroadsStanding at the crossroad, looking down the path of different choices, we attempt to discern which road leads us in the most comforting, the most productive and/or most rewarding direction. We stop to ponder the details that lay before us to contemplate the journey and the destination. We inevitably find that we simply have no way of knowing what lies at the end of either of those roads. Try as we might, we weigh, measure and reason to the best of our ability, yet we can not know where either of these roads will ultimately take us. And just as we know we are not able to predict the future, we struggle with these choices because we know we can not change the past. Once the choice is made that decision becomes a part of our record. It also becomes a reference to good and bad decisions.

The first important thing in coming to a crossroad is to know we are standing at the junction. Some people pass them by without any thought whatsoever, without any realization they had any choice at all. For others, they figuratively or physical fall to their knees in desperation and confusion. They find it virtually impossible to make a decision; becoming paralyzed by their choices.

The answer to which direction we take has little or nothing to do with the moment. The crossroads always depend on the destination. We have to decide which road leads us closer to our goals, and which roads lead us away from our goals.

If we want to lose weight we have to choose between the fatty foods or the healthy foods, and how much of those we will eat. If we want to save money for our dreams we have to decide to place that money aside or spend it one small piece at a time on frivolous momentary satisfactions. If we want to have a strong marriage, a happy family, successful children or rewarding careers we have to be true to our goals. We have to base the choices we make on the goals, not on the momentary rewards. We have to keep the big picture in mind.

Life isn’t about the choices as much as it is about the goals. When we set up our goals we need to carve them in stone and resolve ourselves to reaching them, then the choices become much easier.

When we come to the crossroad there is really only one choice; follow your goals and reach for your dreams. Do things that take you closer to your goal, and avoid paths that lead you astray.

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Finding Dead End Roads

In last week’s blog I put forth a challenge, more to myself than to others, but a challenge nonetheless. I asked you to submit your story titles and I would in turn write five hundred words or more just from the title. Some of you elaborated on what you expected to see in the story; that wasn’t part of the rules. One of my personal tricks to keep the writers block at bay is to come up with just a title, then let ideas start to flow from there. I in fact keep an ongoing list of titles to spark the creative juices. Anyway, you submitted some great story titles and as promised I will use one each week for the month of August to pen a new story. The list of titles is listed below. Thanks for all your input. While I can’t write to all of these, I do hope that you get to see yours in print.

The Blue Truck Across the Street – While Waiting

The Difference Between Penguins and Lions

Talking Heads – Floating Heads – If God Is In Front of Us – My Lullaby Was Rhiannon

At the Crossroad – You’re Not Going to Believe This

When I Thought It Was Over, the Adventure Had Just Started – Finding Dead End Roads

Secrets in Every Man’s Life – 21 Year Journey

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Finding Dead End Roads
Submitted by Corke J Lockard

It seems a bit difficult in these modern times to actually get lost. With GPS on every smartphone and answers to every question we imagine found on Google, getting lost is a matter of losing one’s self.

There is a sense of beauty in getting lost, exploring new places, new ideas, new recipes, new things of all sorts. Sometimes though, getting lost is the best way to find what you’re actually looking for.

This week I uncovered a video that talks about failures. It mentions some of the greatest achievers, the greatest minds and talent we’ve ever known and points out their personal discouragements. Yet all these people managed to become someone special. That really struck a note with me. Maybe like you, I get down on myself and the things I’m trying to achieve, and I forget how so many others have failed miserably before they finally achieved their famous success.

seuss

Click the Image to See the Video http://youtu.be/zLYECIjmnQs

Maybe the problem with most of us is rejection. Many a great writer has gone unpublished and unknown because those first few manuscripts were turned down one time too many before they ended up in the trash. The famous Dr. Seuss met with twenty seven rejections of his first manuscripts and yet today his name is a household word. I don’t much like rejection but some of my greatest work has come from the things people didn’t like.

Spending hours pouring over your work only to be told it isn’t good enough seems like a huge waste of time; been there done that a lot!

I’ve been down a lot of dead end roads. Dead end jobs, dead end projects, dead end relationships and dead end convictions. But the one thing I’ve done without change is to get back up, to turn around and move in a different direction, to keep my legs moving, my mind thinking and my heart filled with ambition.

Sometimes we get knocked down so many times we wonder, “why bother to get up?” Sometimes staying down seems a lot more comforting than facing failure again and again.

It’s very important to remember that dead end roads are in themselves a form of success. We discover things about ourselves, our methods and emotions, our abilities and skills, our hopes and dreams. We discover who we are by the things we fail at. The only real mistake is not learning from our mistakes.

As a matter of fact that’s why we practice things. Failure is what teaches us to be stronger, to build character and determination. Making mistakes fine tunes our ability to know the difference between what works and what doesn’t work. Falling down serves as a reminder what not to do.

I love to go hiking. Getting outdoors and walking nature trails is one of my great passions. I’ve hiked miles of the Appalachian Trail and I’ve been down a lot of paths that looked promising and ended up going nowhere. But no matter how far off track I got there was always the one thing that remained. I was in my element, I was outdoors doing something I enjoyed in an environment that gave me a thrill. It was the scenery I loved along the way.

Life is all about the scenery. It’s about finding dead end roads and turning around to walk a new path.

There’s no promise that there will be a pot of gold at the end of your trail. But there is a promise that if you don’t keep trying there will never be a pot of gold and you’ll miss a lot the scenery along the journey.

What’s Your Story

What IS your story. I’m curious to hear it. In fact I’d like to write it.

Facebook is filled with all sorts of posts about finding your true self, about doing what makes you happy, and being who you are no matter what others think. I have for a long time been on a mission to do what I love. And what I genuinely love most is writing. I’d have to say I’m pretty good at it too.

I know the difference between to, too and two. I can define theirs and there’s, its and it’s and I have an enormous lexicon (if you don’t know what that is then you probably don’t). I’ve got a pretty solid handle on grammar and at times I’m a damn good story teller; in fact I’m getting ready to publish a couple of books soon. But like many writers, I come up short sometimes on what to write about next. That’s why I would really like to enlist your help.

yourstoryI’m on the lookout for good stories. If you have one you’d like to share, I’d love to read it. More so what I’m looking for are some good titles. That seems to be one of my strengths; to take nothing more than a title and pen a story based on those few short words. In fact, one of the tricks I use to keep writers block at bay is to make up lists of titles, then later pull them out and think about what they might turn into.

Here’s the challenge I want to put to you. Send me your titles. Jot down a few short words to serve as a title and I will write five hundred words or more based on nothing else but the title. I can’t promise it’s going to turn out anything like you imagined; then again isn’t that part of the fun in this? So let me see what you’ve got.

I’m open to just about anything you want to throw my way. I must first acknowledge that I won’t be able to do this for every title that is sent to me. I plan to choose one to write each Sunday for the month of August. That’s four, and if I’m compelled, I’ll do another one or two for the kicks.

I can’t promise any cash rewards. I’m just an aspiring author at this point who publishes three different blogs of various topics. What I can promise is to give you kudos for giving me good titles. And if by some far out chance one of those stories turns into a published work (other than my own blog pages or sites I post on for free) then I will in the very least buy you a night on the town. Sure, if it makes me rich I’ll give you greater rewards. Just don’t be holding your breath on that account.

So let’s have at it. Show me what you’ve got. I want to see some great title ideas. Anything spiritual, funny, enlightening, scary or even depressing. Don’t send me politics, that’s one subject I stay away from; even though I am passionate about my politics. I just leave that one to the professionals.

Post them to this thread on Facebook, LinkedIn or Google; or send them by email if you know me and prefer.

I’m sure there are some great ideas out there and I’m looking forward to bringing them to life. Now get to work on ideas and next Sunday I’ll share the first of those with you and maybe even some trailers of those to come.