Thursday, December 20, 2007

In the middle of the road

There are certain times in life that you find yourself reflecting on what has been and what might be. Certainly the closing of another year is one of those for me. I think back on what I’ve done this year. And what remains to be done. You can make all the lists, tick off all the tasks, but it seems that the road never ends. That the next step forward only brings more steps forward. That when you look behind you, the road twists off into the distance and you realize you’ve come a long way. But then you turn around, and the road twists off into the distance before you as well. So you find yourself standing in the middle of the road, hoping to hell that Mack truck doesn’t turn you into pâté. And you wonder, should I go back? Should I go forward? I’m in the middle of it – both directions look daunting.

I won't go back. I, like Joe Pike with his red arrows on his shoulders, will always drive forward. Daunted for sure. But at the end of this year and the start of the new one, I recommit myself to driving forward.

Some of us have had setbacks this year on this twisting road called being a published author. Myself included. But then I think back on how far I’ve come along the road and I should be pleased. But I know the road ahead is long and uncertain. That’s why I’m hoping that you will join me on my journey – I could use a little company. That you too will recommit to taking the journey, long and twisted and uncertain as it might be.

So what do you say? A little road trip anyone?


Candy Calvert said...

Oh heck yeah, Mark. I'm there. Crawled out of a least one pothole, got asphalt tar and gravel stuck to my knees--but am still very mesmerized by the possibilities of the road ahead.
No going back.
And--jeez--no Mack pate, either. Here, strap on this set of mini-side mirrors.It'll be safer, and we'll be like the Fonz in Happy Days: we don't know for sure where we're goin', but we can see "how cool we look gettin' there." ;-)
Here's to the road ahead!


Felicia Donovan said...


My bags are packed. Thank you for this thoughtful posting.

I, too, travel along several major highways in life including Routes Hope, Dreams, and Gratitude. Like everyone else, I get the occassional breakdown and my tires go flat, but the necessary repairs are made and I'm back on it. If that isn't what we're supposed to be doing given we only have limited fuel on this journey, I'm one stop short of the roadstand...

And since I must be in a Robert Frost mood this week, I'll add his famous lines with homage...

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."

Mark Terry said...

In an interview, Christopher Reeve was asked if he thought he had two lives, one before the accident that paralyzed him and one that didn't. He said for a long time he had thought so, there was Chris Before and Chris After, but he had come to realize that life was a continuum, that there was no before or after, there was just Chris and this was his life.

I think he was a wise and great man and I think he had a lot of lessons to share and that's one of them.

Good luck on your road.

Joe Moore said...

Count me in, too, Mark. I used to think that I would have it made once I got a book published. I soon realized that might have been the easiest speed bump to get over on the road. Merry Christmas.

Nina Wright said...

I like that post, Mark. Forget about maps. We have no idea what's around the next curve. Even that long straightaway is not necessarily what it appears; we could come upon an intriguing hitchhiker, a surprising detour, or--God forbid--a suicidal Mack truck driver.

I'd prefer to save the suicidal driver for my fiction....but who the hell knows what's coming down the pike? The truth is we can sometimes change highways, but we can't turn this vehicle around. So let's drive on and enjoy the scenery.


Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - Chardonnay in one hand - chocolate in the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming "WOO HOO, What a Ride!"

A friend signs all her e-mails this way. I LOVE IT!

Count me in, Mark. I'll commit to the journey with you as long as you keep me supplied with chocolate and serve something a bit heartier than Chardonnay.

Keith Raffel said...

Last weekend my wife and I along with #3 and #4 drove to a wedding. We stopped along the way to eat and look at the scenery. When my next book sees the light of day, I'd love to drive around the west coast, visit bookstores and friends, and see the country. My kids said they might tag along. Nothing metaphorical here. I have a yearning to hit the open road!

Christa M. Miller said...

Great post, Mark. Thanks for this. I've already seen a couple of developments in my career this month, none book-related, but all interesting-looking. The road less traveled, and all that. I'm continuing to look forward!

Mark Combes said...

It's good to know I'll have you all with me on the road. The road can get lonely sometimes don't you know. Helping a fellow traveler can sometimes lighten the load - for both them and you.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I take comfort in the fact that the road never ends. That means there is always the chance to get that important thing done or do that other thing I've wanted to do or learn something new or meet someone interesting.

G.M. Malliet said...

Mark - we're with you, you bet. Just when I think I'm getting nowhere, sometimes I look back and am amazed.

Happy Winter Solstice, everyone.

Deb Baker said...

I like to think that those "setbacks" are really new opportunities. Where we end up is where we were meant to be. Life is good. If it all ends tomorrow, it's been a great ride. See you on the road.