The Roads Not Taken

Today as I traced my familiar path through my neighborhood on the way home from the store, I noticed something. A side road. It struck me that though I’ve lived in this neighborhood for going on two years now, I’ve never gone down that particular side road.

How odd.

On impulse I turned down the road and drove slowly through this spur of my neighborhood I’d never explored (call it a breathing moment). Not much to see, really, except some pretty houses and lovely azaleas, much the same as the main road. A few people picking up storm debris, again something I can find right next door to my own house. Still, it was a road I’d never taken, and it actually looped right back around to the main road after a pleasant meander.

I don’t really think I’ve discovered anything new about Robert Frost, but it did occur to me that there are probably lots of life side roads that we never bother exploring. Most of us probably picture our road through life much as we picture our route to the grocery store. Main roads only, ignoring the side roads. I know I pictured my career path that way. Write a book, edit the book, obtain an agent, get a publishing contract. But lo! What roadblock was that in my way? No agents interested. A side road beckoned, and I found Lyrical Press there.

Was the path I chose something like the side road I took this morning? Maybe. Lots of the same scenery, and it led me back to the main road eventually.

6 thoughts on “The Roads Not Taken

  1. Very interesting Michelle, that this was your post today. I was about to begin mine with the title: I’m going to take a detour today… 😉

    I love exploring side roads and sometimes when hubby and I are driving our typical route home, I’ll call out, turn here! Lets see where it goes!

    But, in life, I think side roads are the particular path that gets us to our goal.

    I think we need to be flexible enough to try out the side roads, even if they seem too far off the path we had intended.

    Although, I’m sure that is easier said than done….when that day comes for me, I hope I have the foresight and patience to keep going and find that side road that does lead me to being published. 🙂

  2. Michelle, my life was meant to be all side roads and few main roads. I prefer the country roads to the interstates, the few remaining Rural Routes to the highways. I find these side roads always lead to great scenes and sometimes terrific story ideas.

    I am much the same with my writing, preferring to be my own person, my own type of writer, even if that means some publishers/editors want me to be more action oriented. It’s just not happening.

    I travel side roads on purpose, hoping to find an ancient house or some artifact of the past that needs exploring. I once found a grave yard that became the basies of a massive story idea that if I ever write it, it will become a novel.

    Great post, Michelle. Side roads are beautiful. And remember, the road less travelled often leads to success.

    • Believe it or not, I didn’t see your whole post at first, AJ! So I’m editing my response to tell you if there’s ever been a successful traveler of side roads, it’s you. Keep it up!

  3. This is truly something to think about, Michelle. Thank you … side roads don’t necessarily need to be startling or shocking to be of value, whether in our life or in our stories.

    Sometimes the gentle breath gives us the most to live for.

    • I love the idea of the gentle breath, McKenna. I think that was exactly how I felt yesterday. Some days I long for something big to happen, but others I’m just happy to meander along, and in the end, I’m probably better off meandering than jumping. It’s less tiring!

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