28 October 2017
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I ─
I took the one less traveled by…” -Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken”
It’s the perfect fall day. Then again, I think just about every day is the perfect fall day because the weather is fantastic. Although it is fairly cool, high 40’s, here today, I’m on the patio with my extra large coffee mug. The morning warrants the large mug. I slept for more than 8 hours last night, although my sleep was disrupted (only twice this time, not 5!). I had some of the craziest dreams (that I can’t forget to write down in my journal), and woke up warm and cozy under my blankets. It’s been a week of roller coasters, so the sleep was very welcoming. And since I have returned to the gym, my body shouted at me this morning, pleading for a break. It’s a gym-break day. I’ll walk Duke, but let my muscles heal.
It’s still quiet in the neighborhood. Some children were out raking leaves in their front yard yesterday. A reminder that I should finish cleaning up the wood in my backyard for a couple more fires this fall and winter before I leave. Now, if only to get the coffee warming up my veins, I’ll be ready for the day.
Switching gears from daily life to writing, Robert Frost is one of my favorite poets. “The Road Not Taken” is, by far, my favorite poem that I return to time and time again.
I have a couple of my own favorites; poems I have written. In my poetry ebook (currently off the shelves for revisions) I wrote, “Paths (Senderos).” This is a poem I wrote and did my own translation in Spanish. I had editing help from the renowned Dr. Rafael Lara-Martinez, and should remind myself to collaborate with him again. “Watcher on the Horizon” was also written and translated, and I was inspired to write that poem during one of the last visits my mother made to New Mexico. “Christmas Memories” is also a personal favorite because it combined some of the best memories of my youth, while incorporating a sense of nature into the poem.
Poetry is easy for me, but also envelops the personal space. Fiction is where my heart beats strong because I love world building, and sometimes hide behind the mask of a character. Both genres evoke emotion. This is where my pre-NaNoWriMo blog post will cover a few details. And you, my dear readers, will get a glimpse into the new world before it goes hidden behind a curtain for 30 days.
“Paths (Senderos)” captured the memories of lives observed or experienced; it was almost a pre-cursor to another poem (unpublished) I wrote many years later called “Alternate Route.” This one was written when my poetry group, The Tenth Muse Poetry Collaboratorium, assigned homework to further motivate us to keep writing; since then we’ve been writing rengas, and the last 2-3 we have written have been some of the most powerful writing we have done as a group. Six women strong with many backgrounds. There is a reason they are my diamond-my support system. Oh yes, back to the subject of “AR.” We chose lines from our favorite poems and had to work from the partial quote. I chose, of course, “The Road Not Taken,” using the same segment that I quoted above. I wrote it in a transition phase, a fork in the road so to speak. It was written March 2011, 10 months short of the year anniversary of my mother’s death; my parents both gone at this point. It was also five months before my brother’s untimely death.
And this is where the title of this blog enters the discussion. “AR” is about options faced on many paths during our lives. Emotions came alive, and I used colors for expression. I have been using colors for the last 10 years: in my poetry, teaching a workshop, teaching a community education class, and in my thesis-turned-novel. In fact, all of my writing. The poems end with new visions, but poetry is all about how the reader translates, feels, and relates.
We all have a destiny. It seems like my destiny began when I returned to grad school to get my MA. I originally wanted an MFA, but chose the MA to keep options open. It was the degree I always wanted, and one I was hoping to begin in 2010, before getting derailed.
Life is full of paths. The forks we stumble upon the in road are our options. Today, with everything I’ve been through, I call these forks transitions because every couple of months I have new transitions. I think of these forks/transitions like the people who are coming into and exiting out of my life. They’re practically intertwined.
I see not two forks, but three. My third fork is my writing path; one that is my straight fork that I won’t veer away from. It’s the fork that my mind focuses on. The other two go in a specific direction, and they are categorized based upon what is happening at the current time in life: right and wrong; familiar and unfamiliar; clear and unclear. Currently, I see the forks as one direction being a solid, worn path while the other is overgrown and unchartered. As I face them, the worn path is my past; a comfortable life with small goals. The unchartered path is the one I choose to take: it’s a new life, a fresh start. I’m creating the path for any who find themselves in the same position and want to follow. This path has bigger goals, new dreams. There are branches along this path, leading me to new people, new places, new experiences, but these branches reconnect on this path. Since I have chosen this one, I am guessing the branches on the worn path end with no reconnection, but have no way of knowing because I’m not looking back, nor am I curious.
Some of my transitions are short-lived, and I now understand they are designed to help me move through my own space, place and time. The designs are helping me make new discoveries, find new friends, stay connected to my stronger friendships, and term out old ones that no longer serve a purpose. I’ve spoken about the difference between being alone and being lonely. I have never felt lonely, but I do feel the moments of being alone, and realize this has more to do with the noise in my life. Noise has always been important, and I believe it’s because it’s been so prominent in my life growing up. Being one of seven people in a tiny house, there was always noise. Those noises faded as we (children) grew up, moved out, and some moved away, but pieces have always remained. Perhaps this is the noise inside of myself. I am creating new noises, even as I move along the unchartered path, moving further away from the fork that kept me stagnant. The grasses and weeds rustle beneath my feet. I choose to tread barefooted to feel the rocks, dirt, and everything against the soles of my feet, and brushings up against my ankles. On this path, my allergies don’t exist to distract me from progressing; I welcome how every smooth, sharp, bumpy, soft, bristled surface feels. I see it as a new construction moment, with smaller reconstructions occurring along the way.
The sun is out, warming my skin. The neighborhood is awake and alive. Duke follows me everywhere today; even he seems a bit restless. The coffee, nearly gone, has found my veins. My published poetry books are sitting in front me, and motivates me to finish the revisions on the one I pulled from the shelves, as well as finalize my next book that I am very excited to begin pitching. Like my thesis-turned-novel, and my NaNoWriMo novel, it’s an important book with a great message that I want to share with the world. I write for myself, but if I can make a difference in at least one life, I am happy. I know artists (musicians, authors, painters, etc.) find small fulfillments when they hear that their art has helped someone. I believe it does. So much music, some art, and books have helped me. Wild; Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It; Runaway Husbands; Option B have all made some type of an impact on my life. In some ways, they have helped me stay true to myself, confirming I did the right thing, and unafraid to travel new forks alone; while keeping in mind that I am not alone with my friends and family cheering me on from the invisible sidelines. So many messages. This is why I write. This is my segue-way into my next blog post.
I challenge you to accept the forks in your road as new challenges that are exciting. Don’t be afraid; you won’t collapse. You might stumble, but the solid ground, and your foundation (friends and family) are right beside you to help you get back on your feet to continue moving forward. Even I am here, in the backdrop, cheering you on if you have stumbled. God only knows I’ve been stumbling and continue to do so. It’s even okay to learn that you can only breathe in a single day; Out of six days this week, I have only been capable of breathing for five of them. Embrace these breathable moments as a time to dig deep and put one foot in front of the other along your new path. It’s a temporary transition that steers you away, but reconnects.
I want to thank you, my readers, for following me along these interesting journeys. May you accept the small blessings in your life and cherish them. I hope you have a great weekend. I will be spending mine packing some more while I watch college and professional football, and the World Series. I am in a house divided, but cheering for the Dodgers.
Until we meet again.