Wednesday, October 12, 2011

RTW: Path Less Traveled

Welcome to our 100th Road Trip Wednesday!

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic. We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link in the comments - or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments.

This Week's Topic:

What has your writing road trip looked like so far? Excitement? Traffic Jams and detours? Where are you going next?

First of all, congratulations to the gals at YA Highway for making it to their 100th Road Trip Wednesday! That's practically ancient! I'm honored to have been a part of it for only a short time. It's been a blasty blast.

My own writing journey has been somewhat unpredictable. I didn't really start writing seriously until my freshman year of college, and I only got started down this twisty road because something changed my life and writing was the only thing that seemed to make me feel like myself.

The Path Less Traveled, autumnI know I'm not the only person in the world to suffer from something, but that first year of college was a rollercoaster for me, mostly because I developed polyarthritis and suffered debilitating pain in all of my joints. It used to get the point that I couldn't even lift the covers off of myself in the morning without crying.

In brief: it was a dark time.

That's when I started writing. For some reason, typing didn't seem to hurt my fingers, so I took to typing all of my assignments for class. One of my classes required that I write a page everyday in a journal, and those pages soon came to mean more than just an assignment to me. They became a type of escape from the pain.

I wrote about everything. I know that most of what I wrote was pretty emo and whiny--"Why do I have to have arthritis? I'm too young for this."--but as I kept writing, I started to fall into a rhythm.

My imagination used those pages to create worlds and stories. The pain fell away when I wrote, and before I knew it, I was writing even when I wasn't supposed to be.

These days I try not to think about how my life used to be during that time. Yes, it's a part of me, but it's also a horrible reminder of my own weakness and mortality. It's not fun to dwell upon. Maybe I'm being unfair to myself; maybe I should remember those days.

But I want to focus on the present and where I am on this writing journey. Writing has taken me to a place where I no longer feel the need to write about my own suffering. Instead, I write for other people and for the sheer joy of it.

I don't want y'all to come away from this blog post feeling sorry for me. I even had second thoughts about telling y'all about my past, simply because I wasn't sure if I wanted anyone to know. But I kept writing, and now if you've made it this far into the post I just want to let you know how much I appreciate your attention.

Right now I'm writing every day, mostly articles for my campus paper, but it's writing all the same and it keeps me sane. Oh yeah, and the occasional blog post (mostly RTWs, haha) when I find the time.

I leave you with this well known poem by Robert Frost. It's one of my favorites and seems to sum up my writing journey quite well or so I think.

The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

(Poem courtesy this place.)
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  1. OK, so when you mentioned the arthritis, my finger joints hurt. Sorry, but I do that. Whenever people talk about surgeries and pain--especially anything to do with knees and cartilage--I squirm and feel sympathetic aches. Yeah, not very manly, but that's one of the reasons I didn't go into medicine. That, and the amount of science required... but that's another story. (Strangely, I have no problem dealing with my kids' blood, vomit, and poop... but I digress...)

    The main thing here is that dark time in your life led to the discovery of your passion for writing. And I think that's an important lesson for us all: even the worst times serve to shape and direct us for our good. Thanks for sharing! :)

  2. What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your journey, and how great that you've found meaning in the difficult times that can be expressed to others.

  3. This was beautiful. And the combination of your post and the Frost poem had me all teary-eyed. I think a lot of us have those experiences that define us, that make us stronger, that help us become better for having gone through them. And I think many of us use writing as a way to escape the pain. I could be drinking away my problems, but writing's much more constructive. And it makes me feel way better.

    And now I'm rambling. Thanks for sharing.

  4. This is really inspiring, and I love the Frost poem too :) It's amazing how writing can be healing in a sense. My pain wasn't physical, but writing has definitely helped me cope with a series of disappointments and has given me purpose. Thanks for sharing your story!

  5. Even though you're stuck with the arthritis (which is awful--joint pain is the worst), I'm glad that you were able to make it a positive. It's been great getting to know you through this blog!

  6. Dark periods can spur such beautiful, if painful, turning points. Thank you for sharing!

    And I love the Frost poem. I am forever trying this:
    "And looked down one as far as I could
    To where it bent in the undergrowth;"

    and realizing (and re-realizing) that you can never know what lies down either path. You just have to pick one. We're all lucky to have a choice at all.

  7. I absolutely, 100% adore you, lady. I'm glad those morning pages did that for you. I had no idea.

  8. I feel for you and your need to write to get through the pain. I didn't note it in my RTW post, but I started writing when I was diagnosed with a painful disease. Writing was my escape. So I know exactly what you mean about needing to write through all of those emotions.

    I hope since then you've been able to find some relief from the arthritis.

  9. I can't imagine how painful both emotionally and physically that time must have been for you, but I'm so grateful to see that you have found something that will keep you from focusing on those memories. Whatever you do, keep writing. You're certainly an inspiration to me.

  10. Reading all of your comments makes my heart warm. I'm truly blessed with such wonderful friends--bloggy or not--and it's the knowledge of y'all's support that makes doing this worthwhile.

    At the moment, I am living fairly pain-free due to medication, and I try not to take it for granted. Life is far too short for that.

    In other thoughts, I can't wait to see what the 200th RTW prompt is!

  11. Thanks for sharing your story. Your post reminded me how important it is to accept the struggles we face in life.

    “... how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong but to feel strong, to measure yourself at least once, to find yourself at least once...” -Primo Levi

    This is a great book and must read in my opinion. Primo Levi: Survival in Auschwitz


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