Decisions, decisions, decisions

Life is all about choices. If there is a common theme in my writing, it would be that. In fact, my curiosity about why people do the things they do, is why I write.

Left or right?

Certainly, the three main characters in my novel The Brevity of Roses must each face a major choice presented to them. Ironically, one of my characters, whose field of study was cultural anthropology, least understands herself and becomes emotionally imprisoned by letting others make choices for her.

A few days ago, I looked through an old file folder and found this poem I wrote in 2005. It’s theme? Choice.

Risk

I have stood on the brink,
but did not leap.
Could not.
I have stepped back
and fled to live
in fear.
To exist.
Forgetting.

 

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26 thoughts on “Decisions, decisions, decisions

  1. To jump or not to jump — that is the decision.

    But why must our decisions always be convoluted with the impending doom of finality?

    I prefer the picture of the fork in the road. Make a choice yes, but don’t deny yourself the ability to retrace your steps and take another path later on.

    BTW – I like your poem and it appears you have come a long way from that indecision since you wrote it. Of all the blogs I follow, you seem the most sure about the path you’re on. That is why I keep returning 🙂

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    1. Hmmm, I did not mean the poem to connote impending doom. On the contrary, I was saying that whenever you choose not to risk living, you retreat into your fears.

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      1. I’m sure it is just me. I read the article about Maria Osmond’s son this morning and the word leap probably sparked that memory and directed my thoughts.

        It is true – you can’t allow fear to direct your life. If you do you are mearly existing. That came across very clear in your poem.

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    1. That’s why I became a psychologist. For me, writing fiction has extended that fundamental enquiry beyond the permissible speculative remit of therapy or forensic analysis towards a more liberated consideration. I can’t believe my luck really.

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        1. I would like them to be but I’m a beginner so it’s an aspiration. I’m probably quite hard on them though because I need psychological authenticity and integrity and I think I do analyse as I read. Not consciously though – unless they’re truly awful (to my mind) – because that would take the pleasure out of reading. If they slip by without distracting me from the story, they’ve succeeded but if they become the focus themselves, it’s probably because something jars. What a right royal pain I seem to be!

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          1. We all read from our individual perspectives, that’s why a writer could never please every reader. (Hear that self?) But you’re right that when the writing is good, things slip by us … like those little things you don’t notice when you’re in love. 🙂

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    2. Thank you, Cathryn. I’m always happy to inspire.

      Being a Libran it’s often hard for me to risk upsetting the balance. But after awhile, safe sucks the life out of me and I kick caution to the side. And this is my year to take more than the usual amount of risks. So who knows what I’ll do. You know, like querying my novel? 😉

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  2. Love the poem. Some of life’s choices come with only one option. We either do it . . . or don’t. Take the plunge or live in fear, possibly regretting the decision. On the other hand, deciding to reatreat might be the best in the end. Depending.

    Less threatening are those decisions that come with options. Take the path to the left or the one to the right. Are those decisions necessarily easier to make? Again, it just depends.

    Honestly, I don’t enjoy making decisions of any kind. Especially the important ones. I can hear the baby-of-the-family in me asking, “Can’t someone else just do it for me?”

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  3. I’m not smart enough to wonder why people do the things they do. Or even why I myself do the things I do. So writing for me probably didn’t offer as much interest or challenge readers like other writers want to; just another reason for me to set it aside and take deep breath. Can’t play in the wading pool forever.

    Take the fork to the left; it looks less traveled, and a really cool poem I read once says that’s the better decision. 😉

    Hope you’re doing great!

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    1. I don’t believe a word of what you said, Darc. You’re plenty smart. I also don’t want to believe that you’ve given up writing. That, sir, is NOT taking the path to the left.

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  4. The very wisest woman I know once told me that, as a minister, she had the opportunity to hear and listen to many people’s stories. And that when she listened, really listened, long enough to a person’s story — every single choice and decision that person made, no matter how outrageous/destructive/good/bad that choice might seem to be from the outside — every single choice made perfect sense from where the person was standing at the time he or she made the choice.

    I try to remember that when dealing with the people in my life — both the real life ones and the ones I’m creating in stories.

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    1. Thank you for contributing this thought, Natasha. I guess it only makes sense that we tend to do what we think is best for us, it’s only in hindsight that we rue some of our decisions. I think we see this in action most painfully with our children.

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    2. I could argue this point. I have certainly made bad decisions in my life to spite someone. 🙂 You know what they say, youth is wasted on the young.

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  5. On the plane on Sunday, I was sitting next to a man who was reading. I twisted around until I could see the title. How We Decide–3 ice cream cones on the front: chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla, I presume. Intriguing…

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    1. Of course, I had to go look up that book on Amazon. And I saw this quote from the author: “Life is ultimately just a series of decisions, from the mundane (what should I eat for breakfast?) to the profound (what should I do with my life?).” Looks like I got something right in my post. 🙂 This is the kind of book that could easily distract me from writing. But no! I must finish this round of editing.

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