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 …
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by…
~ Robert Frost
With beauty before me I walk. With beauty above me I walk. With beauty around me I walk. It’s a lovely philosophy, isn’t it? And during my recent Beauty Way Guest Blogger Series, I’ve shared thought-provoking, heartfelt posts written by brilliant, gifted artists about how the Beauty Way affects their daily lives and their art.
You know what happened as I read these beautiful posts? I realized that, in the most important aspect of my creative life—my fiction writing—I haven’t been following my own version of the Beauty Way. I’ve not been true to myself and my gut instincts. And that’s been making me very depressed, unhappy, and, at times, physically ill.
A few days ago, as I read back through the series of Beauty Way posts, I made a decision. I am no longer going to let issues that were troubling me affect my art, my storytelling. After several long talks with Scott, I took an enormous leap of faith (in myself) and severed my relationship with my publisher. This means my books are now temporarily out of print.
I love Robert Frost’s poem, quoted above. I think it’s a perfect illustration of the Beauty Way. The poet is faced with a problem of sorts—a fork in the road, the option of going one way or another. This is how I felt during the weeks leading up to my split with my publisher. Staying the course would have been the easy path, the comfortable path, because it would have been the familiar path. but there was also the promise of greater beauty (and more peace) in veering off the path I’d been on so many years and setting off on the road less traveled, the road where I control my own destiny. [Today I will walk out, today everything negative will leave me.]
A tremendous burden has been lifted from my shoulders. [I will have a light body, I will be happy forever, nothing will hinder me.]
Now, I’m looking forward to being able to write fiction again. [My words will be beautiful.] I can finish my Work in Progress without worrying about giving up control over what the final product looks like and how it is distributed. It’s been more than a year since I felt excited about writing fiction, and I’ve missed that passion, that excitement. I’m not back to that point yet, but I can feel a creative restlessness growing inside me.
One of these mornings, I’m going to awaken and my characters are going to be begging to come out and walk with me, and talk with me, to let their stories be known. [Through the returning seasons, may I walk. On the trail marked with pollen may I walk. With dew above my feet, may I walk.] I’m here, waiting for them, listening for signs they are ready to speak, for as an author, listening is an integral part of my job description. Listening, and then translating what I hear into words pleasing to the eye and ear and soothing to the soul. I give voice to my characters’ tales. I am my characters’ mouthpiece.
I am a storyteller. And I walk in beauty.