Nov 8 2010

The Paths We Choose

Melissa Crytzer Fry

Even though hubby and I live in the desert “boonies,” I continue to be amazed at the amount of foot traffic along the remote, now-unused mining tracks that border our property.

My imagination never stops when I jog along this section of track, envisioning various travelers, spanning decades, making their way to a new destination. I took one look at this photo and thought, “Wild West!” Click to enlarge.

Just last week, I was jogging beneath the train trestle, some 40-feet high, and watched a young man gingerly walk across it (gulp … yes, there are some spots with big gaps, and I’m not ashamed to say I’ve never been brave enough to cross it myself).

I waved. He waved. And it got me to thinking. Was he some adventuresome spirit taking a journey in the desert southwest that he could someday share with his grandchildren? Have the hard economic times sent him walking, in search of a better life – or forced him into survival mode (I’ve seen far too much of this, lately)? Or is he a local who finds it safer to walk the tracks than the highway?

It’s fascinating to ponder where this man’s story began … and to postulate where it will end. That propensity to find a story in everything is probably why I’m a writer. But what if you’re not a writer? Have you ever thought about the paths you’ve chosen, and how your life might be different if you’d taken the “other” fork in the proverbial road? Would life have been better, do you think? Or do you think you’re right where you belong?

For the record: I believe I’m right where I belong.

For Writers: What choices did you make that led you to writing, or that are leading you to that path? Could you have chosen a different route that could have gotten you there quicker?

I, for one, grew up a bookworm – the kind that hounded my favorite authors (sorry Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume) with fan letters. So the fact that I ended up pursuing the career of a full-time freelance writer, and now a novelist, isn’t surprising. It took me a while, though the English language and reading were always a part of my professional life. While I did earn English and Communications teaching certification for grades 7-12, I actually chose the marketing communications route right out of college.

That decision, ironically, afforded me the opportunity to pursue a freelance career seven years later, which has now given me the opportunity to flex my creative writing muscles. I’m, indeed, right where I belong, even though I took the long road.

What about you? Are you where you want to be with your writing goals, your writing life? If not, how can you get there? What would inspire you to take the other fork in the road today?

3 Responses to “The Paths We Choose”

  • M. McGriff Says:

    This was awesome and my creative brain started going when I saw that picture of the train tracks!

    It’s funny because when I was in the 6th grade, I wrote in my class’s yearbook that I wanted to be writer. However when I got older, I wanted to be an attorney. Two degrees and a horrible law office job later, I was at a dead end despite the fact I was doing everything I was supposed to do to be an attorney. I couldn’t even get into law school and the job market just took a plunge.

    Then while moving last year, I found that yearbook and when I saw what my sixth grade self saw, I took the writing path. I have NEVER been happier in my life and I haven’t achieved anything big yet! I guess my sixth grade self new better than my 29 year old self! 🙂

    M McGriff


  • Melissa Crytzer Fry Says:

    M. McGriff – I got chills reading your story; I love when someone follows her dream, especially in the face of adversity! Sorry the law career didn’t turn out the way you’d hoped. But it sounds like you’re on a professional path that excites you! That’s truly wonderful.


  • Rachna Chhabria Says:

    Hi Melissa…like you I was the proverbial bookworm. Though I didn’t hound my favourite authors. 🙂
    I got the writing bug in childhood. And once I took up Literature and Journalism in college I knew that I wanted to be a writer.
    Well…even if I had chosen the other fork in the road, I would still be writing.


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