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Can Words Really Inspire? I Think So


I’m often told that the words I write or have written in the past are uplifting and on occasion, inspiring. I never really thought twice about it until recently when I saw a quick Facebook quote that read – ‘Don’t follow your dreams – Chase them!”.

I began to think about all the millions of words I’ve read and written. And even those that have been said to me personally and  really tried to pinpoint any that may have changed my life or had a deep impact on the way I live it. I thought about including song lyrics but decided that that would have to include the countless tunes that have helped me through every occasion of happiness and loss. You know those 80′s rock ballads that you play over and over immediately following a break-up or that party anthem that the entire bar shouts out every time it comes on? We all have our favorites but there are far too many to list and because each song lyric really has its own time and place I decided to leave them out.

The Road Not Taken

Back in college I was introduced to poetry. Not that poetry existed, but more the aspect of its meaning or at least interpretive meaning. I had written probably a dozen or more poems of my own at that point but they were written specifically for me – never thinking that someday, another person would lay their eyes on my them and relate it to their life. It was near the end of the semester, in my Creative Writing class, when I was introduced to a poem that would change my life. The poem was “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. I had heard of him, I think most of my generation had -  because of the movie The Outsiders, Ponyboy Curtis and the poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay”.

The Road Not Taken

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
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

The Road Not Taken was different for me. At a time when I was second guessing who I was or what I was about, Frost’s words gave me clarity. Some might call it an epiphany. I knew then that everything didn’t always have to have a cut and dry, right or wrong choice. Anyone that knows me, now or before knows I have always walked to the beat of my own drum. The poem’s words hold true for me. I haven’t ever been a follower. It seems I have created my own path through life more times than taken one already cut out before me.

All my wrong turns have gotten me to the right place ….and that has made all the difference.

In the end everyone just wants to be happy but only you can choose the path that gets you there. So choose wisely.


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Writer Jay Long

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