Monday, May 11, 2009

The Road Not Taken

Growing up, I despised poetry. Not because the genre itself was boring. No one can read something like The Walrus and The Carpenter by Lewis Carrol and possibly say that poetry is boring. No, I hated it because our teachers made out every line to be some sort of code that only adults could understand. To me, poems were stories told in a beautiful style that only a few could master. Symbolism wasn't lost on me, but often I had to wonder, "When is a shoe just a shoe and nothing more?"

It was thanks to writers like Lewis Carrol and Shel Silverstein that I have any love for poetry. If it wasn't for them I would have given up on the genre altogether in my childhood. I bring this up because I was thinking about one of my favorite poems today, while asking myself, "Well, Manda, which way are you going to go?"

Of course, I'm talking about Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken. It was one of the few poems I knew by heart for years and years, and every time I come to a fork in the road, figuratively or literally, I hear my 13-year-old self murmuring in my mind, "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both. . ."

My current problem is deciding on a single direction to move in and sticking with it. I feel pulled in a multitude of directions all at once and I can see the dozens of possibilities that each path could bring. That's what makes choosing so darned difficult: I keep wondering what I will miss by choosing a particular road. I can promise myself that I will revisit the paths left behind, but as Frost said, "Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back."

Do I plow full-tilt into graduate school? Buy some programs and books and opt to teach myself these things that look like gobbledy-gook when my eyes pass over them? Take art lessons from the cartoonist who lives nearby? Start reviewing video games and hope someone thinks my opinion deserves monetary rewards?

I just don't know.


Anonymous said...

You can do them all to some extent. What you need to figure out is what your true passion is, and once that is done, you won't have any more questions. Try this, imagine yourself knee deep in your speculative work and if money seems like the last of your worries, then that is your passion. We have only one life to live.

...and discouragement will always be a part of it by the way.

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