Monday, January 21, 2008

At A Crossroads (Writer's Island)

This week's topic at Writer's Island: “Fork in the Road." You could also interpret the prompt as a “Crossroad”. It carries a like meaning, and provides essentially the same inspiration. A simple decision made at a ‘fork in the road’, or a ‘crossroad’, can lead you to a significantly different destination.


Gloria had been considered a very talented actress back home. Long-legged, good-looking, witty, charming, and vivacious. Here in New York, she just blended in.

But now, she was so excited to be a part of the production of "Seussical" at the Richard Rogers Theater on West 46th Street in New York. Lisa, a girlfriend she had met in the building where her tiny flat was located, had to quit the show after its run had already started, and the producers and stage manager had told Lisa she would be let out of her contract only if she found a replacement of equal talent.

Gloria thought it would be her big break! Divine Luck! Right Place at the Right Time! Her acting, singing, and dancing talent would finally be showcased. She was bound to be offered more parts as a result of this hit musical. As it turned out, she was a bit player in the last two months of the run. Apparently, she was a replacement for an extra who the other cast members had disliked, and that dislike trickled down to her simply by association. The director and stage manager never even learned her name, nor did many of her castmates. Her last performance was May 20, 2001.

She auditioned for another play opening July 11. It was a comedy called “A Thousand Clowns” playing at the Longacre Theater. The casting director had told her [rather sarcastically] that comedy was NOT her forte.

She tried out for “If You Ever Leave Me, I’m Going with You” at the Cort Theater. It would start July 17th. This casting director said she didn’t have the “look” for live theater.

There were countless other auditions, all with the same dreadful, disappointing results – “Major Barbara,” “Mama Mia,” and even one called “Urinetown!” Dreamgirls was opening September 24th. Oh, she had dreamed about that one! She just couldn’t stand any more rejection. She would have to go home to Minnetonka, Minnesota and work at the Ridgedale Mall selling shoes, handbags, or worse, burgers at the food court. She could work for Cargill, Inc. Her uncle had always said he’d create a job for her, but she was too proud for that.

Her family had given her six months of financial and emotional support to make a go of it in New York, and she’d already been here since January. Now it was September. Too many pretty faces, too many gorgeous actresses with high hopes, too much competition, too much negativity, and too many actresses willing to get their parts based on the couch call. And the rejection stung. It bit into her self-worth and wouldn’t let go.

Her lease was ending, and with no job in site, she was at a crossroads. Should she bite the bullet, ignore her family’s requests to come home, and get a waitressing job while continuing to look for the elusive part of her dreams, the one she’d actually be considered for? She knew it could take years! Or should she tuck her tail and go home?

On September 10, 2001 she boarded a Northwest Airlines nonstop flight from New York to Minneapolis, heading home. She has never regretted that decision.

(Author's note added 1/22: If you were not living in the US on 9/11/01, the ending of this story may not bear any significance.)

For more on the topics "Fork in the Road" or "Crossroads," visit Writer's Island.


  1. Nice story. How difficult to give up a dream and how great that it it turned out well. Wonder what she is doing now back home.

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  3. nice story, I would guess she should continue with her pursuit..

  4. to give up or to is a difficult decision..

    i would say, go for it..

  5. excellent silent tie in... very nicely done all in all.....

  6. wonderful, right before 911 too.

  7. A very good story with a powerful and emotional ending

  8. Very powerful tale.. is it a true story?? Sep 10th.. what a decision!!

    At the crossroad

  9. Well-written. Incredible decision and how well it worked! Fiction? Or's a powerful story.

  10. This is a very familiar story, having lived in NYC for eight years and having friends struggling with the same issues as your heroine. A very tough competitive world of acting, particularly on Broadway! Glad this story had a happy ending, despite the change of direction. And glad she was on that flight on Sept. 10 (my birthday) rather than the 11th! Well done, you!

  11. that was one decision i'm sure she would never regret!!

    was this fiction?...glad that it ended well..

    well written...

  12. Nice piece. Simple decisions can often prove most significant...

  13. That is an incredible story. I can not imagine what thoughts must have been running through her head the day after she returned home.

    On a lighter note, New York is filled with too many good looking people. I'd rather be in the Northwest, where my average looks carry more currency. Who needs suits and ties, silk dresses and high heels anyway?

  14. it must be difficult to struggle for a break like that, brave to decide to return home and on that date too.

  15. Great story, wonder where she is now? Thank YOU!

  16. WO! what an ending... talk about getting out in the Nick of time! Excellent, imaginative writing!

  17. That was amazing, the ending. So many times it is so easy to forget what is important in our lives. Your character (?) was this fiction was truly blessed in her decision


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