Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Thin Threads

Kiwi Publishing is hosting a Thin Threads Story Collection contest. The publisher defines a thin thread as "a moment that led to a positive change (not a thought through process or decision)." We make decisions on a daily basis. What to wear. What to eat for breakfast. Paper or plastic? Sometimes the decision is impulsive, and the result is life-altering.

Months ago, I made the decision to leave my bad marriage and move in with my dad who has dementia. Within twenty-four hours of making that decision, I packed whatever possessions I could fit into my VW. While I had had years of experience taking care of Alzheimer's and dementia patients, I was prepared for what I would face in trying to take care of my dad. It was a daily grieving process. I can't tell you the number of times I sat on the floor, crying on the phone to anyone who would listen, "I can't do this anymore." Somehow I managed, and meanwhile, I bounced through the five stages of grief, staying in some stages more than the others. I hate to admit, there were times I regretted my decision and was ready to go back to my marriage, as unstable and ugly as it was.

My life has changed for the better. I didn't have much help taking care of my father. The one person who did, was a childhood friend. Through the years, he became close to my dad, probably closer than I was able to be. Whenever I needed help, he was always right there. To use the cliche, one thing led to another, and now we're planning to get married someday.

Think about your own forks in the road. Were any of the decisions life-altering? Kiwi Publishing asks these questions to help you define your thin thread: Did you ever find yourself in a strange place or had any strange encounters? Did you ever make an impulsive decision that ended up changing your life for the better? What were you doing when you met your spouse or partner?

Set your timer for ten minutes and freewrite about "thin threads," "a fork in the road" or any similar theme. If you're interested in submitting your polished piece to Kiwi Publishing, the submission guidelines are here. Also, come join me in the discussion. See you there!