Missing the Off-ramp

Persistence is key.

Or so that’s the thought.

Years have been passing like mile markers on a long drive across the states. With those years it feels like the opportunities that were once there have passed too, destinations that revealed themselves right as the car passed the off-ramp. It was as though the sight of them was only meant to tease you with the missed opportunity presented were you to have taken that off-ramp— if you had simply taken the chance on an unknown.

Instead, the car kept moving forward as though unaware that the steering wheel could maneuver it another direction.

Writing feels like that. Many years of trying and trying to get somewhere only to see what is believed to be wonderful opportunities pass by. Hindsight can be a bitch in that manner. Funny enough, when thought about, it seems like those destinations that were only seen by looking backwards were only illusions. They may or may not have been there were the direction changed towards them at the appropriate time. Finding the answer to that is futile though. Who knows what would have happened, only what did.

Thirty or so years have passed since this whole idea of being a writer permeated into the brain. Since then thirty or so years have passed by without the supposed goals being reached. No destination; only a continued rolling of tires on the pavement pushing the vehicle ever forward. In a way, it feels upsetting to understand this. It feels like wasted effort. Is it though? Was there meant to be an end goal, some final stop on the road that once it is reached, all is good?
That’s the trick of it: there is no end. Death is the finality, but other than that, the road goes on forever.

Unfortunately much of life tries to persuade everyone into believing that there is some final destination, that if X is gained, then everything will be OK from then forward. One will achieve happiness, or satisfaction, or whatever— and that feeling will last forever. While gaining X might indeed generate those feelings, they will be fleeting, gone soon after one reaches the destination, as though it were nothing but a mirage.

This is when most people understand that it is time to look for another horizon. Many people, however, end up staying in the mirage, choosing to continue to see it as though it were still there.

This is all metaphorical, of course— an attempt to understand a concept. It could also be a story meant simply to convince those who don’t find the destination that it is OK. And perhaps that is all that is needed to keep moving forward in lieu of finding a satisfactory location.
Journeying is fine, though. Life itself is a long circuitous route with no destination other than that death thing mentioned before.

Writing can be like that too. It’s like riding down a highway hoping to find a destination and cursing one’s self at each passing of a trend or bestseller or whatever after passing the off-ramp. Destinations range from becoming a financially successful, being a NYT bestseller, to seeing one’s books in a bookshop and many more. Hut while these destinations might be nice, writing in and of itself —the drive along that road— can be more than worth the efforts.

In fact, if the illusory destination of continual improvement in the craft, then it looms like a distant object, never appearing to get closer while miles build up behind.

There’s many stops along the way that I hope to be able to visit on the road of writing. Though they each might be nice in their own way, I believe that the journey is the most beautiful thing in the whole experience. Maybe the destinations will never present themselves. That has to be OK, otherwise, what’s the whole point?

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