I’ve walked this path a thousand times. Moving forward, the same damn dust kicking up around my heels, the same sun beating down on me. There is a drive to move forward, to keep walking though. The creativity in my blood continues to build, overflowing out of my psyche.
Finally, I reach the forks in the road once again. My eyes travel over the paths, one lush and green, the air wafting from filled with the scent of fresh apple pie and warm, comforting cinnamon. The other shrouded in shadow, the stone cracked, unforgiving. The muse in my mind quiets, leaving me to make the choice alone.
Time and time again, I choose the green path, the comforting air and bright light ahead. There is no right path, no wrong path. Only a choice on where the destination should be. The muse in my mind settles, letting my mind work out where we are going, step by step and foot by foot.
What is popular now? What would people buy? What would look good on a tee shirt? On a print? How can I get people to see my art?
My feet hit the path in a slow, melodic motion, quickening as excitement builds in me. I burst into a jog, then a sprint. The smooth, clear path allows me to move faster and fast. My heart beat echos in my ears, drowning out the muse.
And then I look ahead, and see that the road seems to go on forever. No signs, no substance. I see visions of others reflected in the cast shadows around me. Artists taking trips and buy the luxuries of life, their work praised and respected.
My mind tells me they must be better than me. They must be more talented. More creative. More.
My gait slows, and tiredness sets in. I begin to realize that no matter how fast I move, no matter how far I try to go, I am getting nowhere. The shadows get deeper, the doubt stronger.
And then I stop. I just stop, the muse in my mind crying frustrated tears at my incompetence.
I ignore it, and rest.
When I open my minds eye again, I see a familiar sight in the distance. A hope, and a fear. The crossroads is one again in reach.
Hungry, broke, I start to move forward again. My strength returns as I get nearer, my mind filling with the ideas of what I want to do and what brought me to this path in the first place.
I see abstracts, deep in color and hidden meaning. Elves hidden at the side of the road. Cats dancing. Pixie glowing in the sky. I see the serene and the silly, the fun and the funny. I see the colors dancing on every surface. It begins to fill me.
And then I reach the cross roads again. I look at the paths carefully. One leads me down a hope, a prayer. A wish that could feed myself and survive relying on my art, a green path I see other on with the promise of comfort and glory.
The other is haunted with the ghosts of projects I’ve never done, the phantoms of the things I wanted to create for me.
My stomach growls, and my eyes look upon the low hanging fruit on the well lit path. I know I am hungry. And time and time again, I choose that path. A few tee shirts here. A print or two there. It isn’t fully feeding my muse, but it enough to keep her alive.
Not this time. I am too old, too tired to continue sprinting. My body aches to much to keep chasing that light down the bright, lighted path.
So I step onto the path of shadows. Instantly the sharp rocks cut at my feet. The wind of the past presses hard against my chest. Instead of seeing the success of others in the shadows, I see my doubt. As I walk forward, I nothing a tiny break in the division between paths. A turn off that would bring me to the lighted path instead. One last chance to return to the comfortable, secure way to go.
I step by it, walking on and leaving in the distance. Voices whisper telling me I am a failure, that I will never reach my goal. In the shadows I see fantastic creatures, swirls and colors forming. My mind fills with ideas to try and drown out the whispers.
I begin to create again, but this time it is simple to create, to do what I want. I focus, ignoring the hunger in me. I feel the creations fill me, using my muse to try and drown out the whispers.
I look in the distance, and still the road stretches on as far as I can see. The biggest difference now is that I don’t know what I will encounter along it. It may be the end, or a new beginning.
I feel my feet gripping the path, and try to run. The sharp rocks and slippery footing hold me back though. So instead I walk and just enjoy the view.
I may never reach my destination, but at least, this time, I am taking a path for myself. Win or lose, succeed or fail, it is now only me and the shadows.
And my muse. She is not silent along this path. I begin to see the beauty in the darkened doubt.
Moving forward, the same dust kicking up around my heels, the shadows pressing against my chest. There is a drive to move forward, to keep walking though. The creativity in my blood continues to build, overflowing out of my psyche.
Where this path takes me now is anyone’s guess.