Walking to Nowhere

Monday, May 01, 2017

I've been reading a collection of F. Scott Fitzgerald's letters this month. Most nights before bed, I've closed the curtains, turned the lamp on, and settled into bed for as much reading as my mind will allow. Not surprisingly, this is not one of those books that causes my eyes to get droopy. I've stayed up until close to midnight more often than not because reading one more letter turns into reading ten more. 

As I've read the words he wrote in his letters, I've learned so many things about him (he gave writing advice to anyone he thought would accept it, the fiction he wrote really was inspired by his life, when he went to Hollywood he worked on "Gone With the Wind", the writing life was a struggle for him, and I could go on, but I'll stop there). I noticed that there are phrases that he would use again and again (stupid-got being the strangest). I've come to admire him more than I ever have before and that's really saying something.

Reading his letters has had me thinking about all kinds of things. As is always the case when I read anything he's written, I've been taking some time to examine my own writing and the effort I put into it. I've read over some of my old writings. I've read drafts out loud to people willing to listen. I've laughed and nodded my head and even shook my head in disbelief over some of the things I've put down on paper. And I've noticed that there are phrases I use again and again. 

The one phrase that comes to mind is the one this post is named for..."walking to nowhere." I'm not sure when I first came up with it or what inspired it, but I know it goes at least as far back as 2014. Those three little words carry so much meaning and for some reason I like the way they go together. 

Today, we're taking a trip back to Massachusetts for one of my walks to nowhere. The day was gray, but the rain had let up and I was faced with a day alllll to myself. I did something I NEVER do and went on a very long walk by myself. The trail was the same one I would walk with Carol and Shauna and Hannah and Bonnie and Laura and whoever else wanted to go when I called MA "home for now", so it was familiar, but that also meant that walking it alone seemed strange. 

I wandered (that's another word I use A LOT) through the neighborhoods and followed the winding roads that make for the shortest path to my favorite part of the trail. I kept my eyes and ears open for anyone looking to cause trouble. I decided I would continue my walk as long as there were at least two people in sight. There was an older couple that granted me the courage to carry on with my walk and though they'll never know it, I'm grateful.

You ready? Let's go...

I held off on going back to MA for a long time. Too long, if I'm honest. I didn't realize it until I was sitting in my old bedroom at the top of the stairs on the last night of my trip, but I couldn't seem to bring myself to go back because deep down I knew that it would mean I would have to leave again and that just wasn't something I could face. 26 and one of my best friend's wedding turned out to be the motivation I needed. 

MA is a place dear to me for so many reasons. It has come to be a place I associate with some major work God has done in my life. This walk is another piece of that puzzle. 

Are you one to take long walks to nowhere? 

What's a phrase that you find yourself writing all the time?

Is there a place you associate with God's hand doing work on you?


  1. I need to go on more walks, but I'm not sure I'm comfortable with walking through my neighborhood by myself (though lots of people do it alone)...I've just heard some stories from my neighbor about some goings-on and I'd rather have Dan with me. And this is coming from someone who wanders NYC and downtown LA by herself...

    I love Fitzgerald and love that you're studying his work! Have you read "Z: The Beginning of Everything" by Therese Anne Fowler? It's a fictional biography of Zelda's life and I really loved it. It's been turned into a TV series by Amazon; I watched the first few episodes and really enjoyed it! I need to go back and finish the season.

  2. Well now I want to pick up that book! I LOVE walking. I walk every night in my neighborhood, but there's a nature preserve nearby and going there is one of my favorite things. I feel so peaceful there.


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