Choices & Storytelling: Why I Could Be a Crime Scene Investigator

Crime Scene Investigation“If money was no option, what would you do?”

In a special meeting for our local Morningstar Toastmasters Club, members were working on Table Topics skills or their impromptu speech technique. While the question I received was one I have pondered several times, what came out of my mouth took me by surprise.

“Blood splatter specialist for a crime scene investigation unit.”

Wait? What happened to “writer?” CSI? Where is the real Weegee?

I could tell by the lift of the inquirer’s eyebrows that we were having the same mental thought train.

However, upon reflection, I did say “writer” . . . just of a different type.

“We have a choice about how we take what happens to us in our life and whether or not we allow it to turn us. We can become consumed by hate and darkness, or we’re able to regain our humanity somehow, or come to terms with things and learn something new about ourselves.” — Angelina Jolie

At every crime scene, a choice was made. Someone determined that this was the best course of action; this needed to be done. This was the pathway needed to head down.

One moment became the summation of a series of choices, actions and effects.

It is up to the CSI staff to look at the end result, and work backwards. What led to this moment? What was the emotion behind this? What choice was made? It is their job to start with the tragic ending — and build the true crime story.

“Every man builds his world in his own image. He has the power to choose, but no power to escapte the necessity of choice.” — Ayn Rand

Our choices are a reflection of our personal history, status, relationships and perspective. Each one of us would have a different viewpoint on any given situation and our end results would vary. That is what makes people interesting — from how they handle the stresses life throws at them to whether they see themselves as the victim, the hero or the villain in their own personal novel.

Each choice is the end of a story . . . and the beginning of the next chapter.

CSI is just a writer who creates backwards in the true crime genre.

Under Pressure: How the External World Can Inspire Our Creativity

Last week, my husband and I received some news that was a little less than positive.  My husband was notified that unless a particular partnership deal came through, the parent company was going to have to shut down the satellite office where he works.

This announcement was not by any means breaking news, for we had been notified months ago that there were to be some changes in the near future.  My husband and I have contemplated several courses of action. Should he take another job in the engineering field, even if he was growing a bit tired of it? Should we consider relocating out of the city center to an area a bit easier on our wallets? Should we move up our five-year-plan to own a bed and breakfast? Should I consider a more lucrative job position?

These are tough decisions that many people across the nation, the world, have been making since the shift in economical climate has led to job reductions and extreme cost-cutting measures. It’s long talks and late nights that can add to one’s daily stress load.

Faced with the uncertainty in our future, the sense of urgency unleashed something unexpected in my husband.  Surprisingly, the deadline compelled him to tap into his creativity — in the kitchen.

Breakfast Calzone, Breakfast PastyHe woke Saturday morning with a mission — to test his idea for a breakfast pasty. He had a thought about combining the best of breakfast into a biscuity, calzone-ish pocket.  Working from gut and instinct, he soft-boiled eggs, rolled out the dough and formed the large triangular pastries.

The warmed baked goodies were amazing, but I think he felt a deeper satisfaction at having taken a pro-active step towards our dreams. If we were going to move up our plan to have a bed and breakfast, he wanted to have more breakfast recipes to pull from. He was able to focus on something that needed to be accomplished and shift our agenda into high gear.

What compels us to create? To produce the great idea or engage the inner entrepreneur? How does one unlock the door to opportunity?  There is the belief that outside pressure, such as job loss or deadlines, can be the key to fueling our creative spark.

In the August 2013 issue of Success Magazine, publisher and founding editor Darren Hardy said that “we often don’t do what we want to do, but we will do the most incredible things when we have to.”   He also stated that the “big idea is already inside you but below the surface of consciousness.”

I believe, as Mr. Hardy stated, that it is inside us. I’m not sure one needs outside pressure to activate the “have to” button.  I believe it is more about looking beyond our fears (fear of failure, acceptance, etc) and embracing our natural talents.

Next time life throws one of it’s infamous punches, see what it is you can do to not only roll with them but perhaps serve up one of your own.  Consider your options and look at it from another perspective — asking yourself “What am I missing? What could I do instead?”