Tuesday Tryouts: To Travel This Road or Not?

11 Dec

7:40 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Soolaimon by Neil Diamond — it’s a little early to be bopping in my chair, but this is what the cloud gave me; you try not dancing to this!

Hello lovely people. Excuse the rush of emotion; I’ll beat it back into its cage before the next post, but I’m excited still from my celebrations on Sunday. Who knew turning sixty could be such fun? I’m also excited because in four days we head towards Christmas, a giant family celebration at my mother’s.

How appropriate. James Taylor is singing That Lonesome Road. Speaking of roads, think how many you have traveled down in all your years. Think of how many you didn’t travel down. Spend some time thinking about all the forks in your road, both literal and metaphorical.

What are you looking for? All the times you stopped at a point in your life and had to choose one way over another, to keep traveling. The choices can be as far back, or as recent, as you wish. Ask yourself not why you chose to go down one path, but why you did not choose to go down the other. Ask yourself what might have happened if you had chosen the other. Speculate. Fantasise. Think of the big things and the small.

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

As with Robert Frost’s speaker, has a choice, or choices, ‘made all the difference’ to your life?

This is one of those topics that is often helped by drawing, so feel free to rough out a map. I find it a tremendous help, because I can see decisions in order, in time, in relation to each other. I can jot sensory images and details on the paper and sometimes I can see a poem developing.

The poem does not, ultimately, have to be about you. You are using what you come up with as material. You might want to write about moments of decision; or, a fantasy about a road not taken; or, the whys of choosing some roads over others. Consider writing in the third person. Even if you initially write in first person, try the poem with the other. I am often surprised. For a very good article on the subject of point of view, check writer Sandra Beasley on ‘Risk & Point of View‘.

I look forward, as always, to seeing what appears. I shall be seeing you Friday for the week’s roundup of prompts, but then I will be dark until January 3rd. I know. I consulted my stress metre, my husband, my kids, my mother, everyone, and decided to have a two-week holiday [okay, two and a half weeks]. Yes, I shall miss you. I always miss you when I take time off. Enough mushiness. Go write.

Happy writing, all.


Posted by on 11/12/2012 in exercises, poetry, writing


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30 responses to “Tuesday Tryouts: To Travel This Road or Not?

  1. barbara_

    11/12/2012 at 8:59 am

    Happy, happy holiday(s) Margo. I’m taking a sort of hemi-demi-semi break, too, but I’ll still be missing your sane/zany buoy in this crazy meander.

    • margo roby

      11/12/2012 at 9:03 am


      Pinned me with that. I like it: a ‘sane/zany buoy in this crazy meander’. See you in the New Year, Barbara. May it be a good one. Oh, lordy, I feel mushiness coming on. Back to my video game and panettone.

  2. Hannah Gosselin

    11/12/2012 at 9:10 am

    Yes, just enough mushiness and I just love the excitement in your presence, Margo…big things, big lovely-loving family things…good.

    Tunes…check…Roads…check….POV possibilities…check…happy coffee-charged poet with a smile on this A.M…..check!!!

    Thank you, Margo, for another awesome Tuesday adventure…see you soon my friend!! πŸ™‚

  3. The Happy Amateur

    11/12/2012 at 9:35 am

    Happy Birthday and a very happy Christmas family gathering, Margo!
    The prompt is interesting as always, great photographs. I tend to think about “what it could have been like if I had or had not done this or that…” a bit too much, so I’m a bit nervous about going there again πŸ™‚ but it’s tempting.

    • margo roby

      11/12/2012 at 10:17 am

      Thank you, Sasha. Good wishes to you and yours!

      Regarding the prompt, try something a little different, like looking at a public figure whose roads are known, as well as their choices. Or, write generally on the topic of choosing and not choosing. Don’t make it about you.

  4. vivinfrance

    11/12/2012 at 11:20 am

    Happy big six 0 birthday – the best time of your life to come, if my experience is anything to go
    by. I have absolutely lost my mojo but will try and scoop some up for your prompt.

    • margo roby

      11/12/2012 at 3:41 pm

      I’m looking forward to it, ViV. I understand the mojo bit. Have you seen a poem out of me lately? I’m hoping the holiday will revive it. Try to relax. Remember to breathe.

  5. Pamela

    11/12/2012 at 1:40 pm

    Margo, I am happy your birthday was fun. How wonderful to be with all your family. Blessings. I am hoping for the same next year, I am still working on the coastal trip, looks like I will have an entire week off here in ten days. Another great prompt idea, Margo. I shall file it away. Thanks for all you do, and have a safe and wonderful trip. Happy holidays. Talk to you when you return.

    Pamela ox

    • margo roby

      11/12/2012 at 3:42 pm

      How lovely, Pamela. You can collapse in a little heap and do nothing! Enjoy.


  6. pmwanken

    11/12/2012 at 2:33 pm

    Here’s an older one I wrote, which came immediately to mind when I read the prompt. I’ll see if I can come up with something new. πŸ™‚

  7. JulesPaige

    11/12/2012 at 3:09 pm

    Belated Happy Birthday Madam Promptress!
    Spiffing up my place for a family gathering on Friday evening.
    Safe travels and Happy Lights, Peace and Health to all!

    • margo roby

      11/12/2012 at 3:43 pm

      Happy Lights to you and yours, Jules. Have a lovely gathering.

  8. The Happy Amateur

    11/12/2012 at 4:59 pm

    I’ve written..something.

    she would be whole now
    and to earth would not bow
    picking up piece by piece
    herself, would not trace
    her steps back to β€œyes”
    she would be at peace
    her heart would stand still
    and her words would not spill
    on the new page’s snow
    if she’d chosen β€œno”

    • margo roby

      11/12/2012 at 6:02 pm

      Very nice, Sasha. I really like this. I think you have something rather special here.

      • The Happy Amateur

        11/12/2012 at 6:22 pm

        Thank you, Margo, you are very kind. It’s my “down in the dumps” poem with a feeble ray of hope shining through.. Would it be better to say: onto new pages’ snow…had she chosen “no”?

    • margo roby

      12/12/2012 at 7:38 am

      I tried both ways aloud. I like the original better, for the feel of it in my ear and on my tongue. Make sense?

      • The Happy Amateur

        12/12/2012 at 9:54 am

        Makes perfect sense, thank you, Margo. I always taste poems, too.

    • purplepeninportland

      13/12/2012 at 11:46 pm

      Oops! I commented on your blog, but believe I left comments for Margo there.
      Well, Happy Everything to Everybody!

  9. pmwanken

    11/12/2012 at 8:03 pm

    OK…I’m back…with something new this time.

  10. purplepeninportland

    11/12/2012 at 11:44 pm

    Naturally, I prefer fantasy roads.

  11. markwindham

    12/12/2012 at 10:08 am

    Cheating a little (ok, a lot), blaming it on my schedule. πŸ™‚
    Hopefully have a new one before you bug out for vacation. Both of these are recent “road” poems.

    • margo roby

      12/12/2012 at 11:00 am

      Even if you don’t, I will have my handy dandy tablet and smarter than I am phone with me! I don’t plan on completely cutting myself off, until the eggnog starts flowing πŸ™‚

      • markwindham

        13/12/2012 at 4:25 pm

        Oh, I am thinking stay online with the eggnog. Could make for interesting verse. πŸ˜‰ And would sure make for some un-filtered commentary.

        • margo roby

          14/12/2012 at 7:28 am

          Listen, one drink and I text my daughter that her mother is cute. Eggnog and my tablet could be dangerous :-D.


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