Story of the Week #1–Historical Rewrites : Where Were You When?

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Why is it those of us who were alive back then do still remember where we were when JFK was shot and when the Twin Towers came down, but not for many other major events or catastrophes?  A CNN program Friday night (Nov. 21, 2013), called “Where were you when Kennedy was shot?” found that most people interviewed felt not just Kennedy’s life but their own, the country’s, and the world at large were significantly altered by the split second action of Oswald’s bullet striking down a US President.

What might have happened had Kennedy somehow avoided that fateful shot?  Perhaps–notables on the CNN program averred–the Vietnam war might have been shortened or forestalled, or Castro’s regime dismantled, or the Civil Rights movement might have been accelerated, perhaps (my conjecture) all or any of this changing the political atmosphere enough so that MLK or JFK’s own brother Bobby might have evaded their own untimely deaths.  Pure conjecture, surely.  Still, there is some evidence suggesting that major catastrophic events do have a contextual ripple effect.  Like a heavy planet that bends spacetime more so than a lighter one does, perhaps history has a force like gravity, all its own.

A Through the Wormhole TV episode called “Is There a Sixth Sense?” explores implications of a well known yet mysterious phenomenon whereby random number generating computers (RNG’s)–which have been around for decades–exhibit a non-random “spike” just before major cataclysmic events have occurred, famously including 4 hours BEFORE the Twin Towers were hit, and the recent Indian Ocean tsunami.  An organization called Global Consciousness Effect (GCE) based at Princeton has been studying this effect over the last seven years. So far they have concluded the effect is real, though they have not determined a cause.

The future can be thought of as a probability wave, where anything is possible but past and present conditions constrain the likelihoods of which future states will become activated in the reality stream of a given timeline. If we are all so interconnected by ripples in the fabric of time, or ‘heavy’ events, so that major shifts or glitches in the normal tendencies can affect the very fabric of all of our lives, the implications are staggering.

What if when we collectively support positive or constructive trends instead of feeding into negative ideological frenzies or collective fear or hatred, history itself–mirroring our own momentum or tendencies–to some degree conforms? For example, what happens when a possible catastrophe, like a looming terrorist threat or a potentially devastating hurricane, abates or is averted? Now whether any  of this conjecture has validity on the largest scale, perhaps at very least in our own lives, positive, constructive thinking such as Norman Vincent Peale and many others have advocated affects our own ‘local’ time ripples, anyway, which may have a wider effect from there?  Perhaps this lays the groundwork for more than just our own Better Endings!

One Small Step at a Time

Today’s installment will be brief. I just realized that in order to have our Better Endings Story of the Week publish on a Sunday, I mighta should have launched the blog on a Monday! So I will slow down a bit from now til Tuesday to let you and newcomers get up to speed with the layout presented in yesterday’s “launch” post: Welcome to a Year of Better Endings! All I will do for today and tomorrow is to offer a list of some possible topics for our Rewrite History week. Here are some possibilities:

So, here are some writing prompts, or of course choose your own! We have a couple of extra days this week, so please let me know you are out there! You can post your COMMENTS below, perhaps with some of your own historical rewrite suggestions, or with your welcome insights, or go ahead and submit your stories and guest blog entries.  So, set a date on your Time Machine and we’ll see you when/where you land!

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Welcome to a Year of BETTER ENDINGS

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Change a story, change a life, and a world … YOURS! Welcome to a year of Better Endings.  This is an inspirational, personal growth & development blog as well as a writer’s blog, about Better Endings. I am Linda Watts, an anthropologist who has developed a personal development approach called Life Mapping which has as its main aim to help anybody to Live Your Dream, Now! This daily, interactive Better Endings site is a free, one year adventure in creative re-visioning or flexibility stretching.  The idea similar in principle to the Lumosity program that trains the brain to higher functioning, yet here we will retool and train up your faculty of Imagination through creative story-telling. The basic inspirational idea is really quite simple: as you practice imagining and constructing ‘better ending’ scenarios across a wide range of topics, you will be developing your natural ability to create and actualize Better Ending scenarios in your own life!

I invite you to join in the fun, day to day and week by week. Every week there will be a Weekly Topic. I will introduce the topic on Monday and on Tuesday I will post a sample story on the weekly topic. Please send in your COMMENTS below any Post at any time, and please send in your own stories about the weekly topic. Multiple entries are welcome! See the menu tabs to Submit your story to my email address given there. We can discuss the stories and comments coming in throughout the week, exploring the possible implications and insights related to our weekly topic. Then, every Sunday, I will publish a selected Story of the Week.  As the author of the Story of the Week you will receive a byline and a short bio published with your story. You can send in stories on any of the weekly themes at any time, so please don’t feel constrained by the calendar. I will sort your story into an appropriate week and consider it as an entry for the Story of the Week during its appropriate week.  There are 26 weekly topics which we will cycle through twice over the course of this one year adventure in blogging.

You may also submit essays (approximately 300-600 words) for a weekly Guest Blog. I invite all of you to do this. Please just answer the question,”What Do Better Endings Mean to ME?” Please answer from the depth of your own unique life experience, career background, and interests. I’ll publish at least one Guest Blog entry every week on Thursdays. If a lot of entries come in I may publish two days of Guest Blogs per week.  Authors for our Guest Blog posts will also receive a byline and a published bio.

So, let’s get started with WEEK ONE!

Our first Weekly Topic is Historical Events.

Where would America or indeed where would the world be today if the Supreme Court had awarded the US Presidency in the year 2000 to Al Gore ? That was a very strong possibility that did not come to pass, and it has undoubtedly affected the course of history in radical ways.  Or what if Lincoln had leaned over to whisper an endearment in his wife’s ear just as Booth’s near-fatal bullet whizzed past his head (or, JFK or MLK, similarly)? Historical events become collective, cultural memories, or “memes”, and they can mark deep impacts on those who tell their stories later. Especially tragic events tend to be held as collective scars in the popular mindset over many generations. Books are written, movies made and remade, exploring every angle, every nook and cranny of these legendary crises and pivotal events.

So here is YOUR opportunity to alter that collective mindset and in so doing to subtly re-map–at least in your own and in your readers’ minds–the very landscape of a long-established cultural memory. Consider the possibilities! How might things have gone differently If? When? Because? …and how might history itself and the world we live in be potentially impacted or even radically changed because of the ‘better ending’ you envision?

The only guideline  that I would like to establish for your Better Endings stories that you submit is that “better endings” will have life-affirming, wellness oriented and personally fulfilling outcomes. I maintain the right to filter out strongly negative or destructively oriented stories and comments. But at the same time, a “better” ending need not necessarily be a “happy” one. Maybe a tragedy still occurs but somehow what someone learns from their hard experience affects later decisions or other people in a positive or constructively meaningful way.

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So let us embark and have a free tilt at History!  I heartily invite each one of you to COMMENT below any Post with your ideas, questions and insights. I will Reply to your Comments and the rest of you can chime in with follow up Comments too, so we can engage in a conversation about our themes and about the overall experience and principle of Better Endings. Of course also, if you enjoy this experience, join in! And please LIKE and SHARE this site with others.