The Best Way Out is Always Through

The best way out is always through

Robert Frost is one of my favorite poets. He came to my thoughts recently with this quote, to awaken me from a sore subject on which I had been procrastinating.
I’ve been stuck on this question for some time now…I think as long as all my life—and I’ve lived a pretty long life. Sometimes, a crisis makes people think about pressing questions. I had a crisis that brought me back to this particular question which had been rolling and rumbling inside me—albeit yet unclear, stirring like lava beneath the surface of the earth—awaiting the perfect moment to erupt into the purpose and meaning of my entire life.

When I read the above quote it was as though Frost were slapping me across the face with the answer to the question I’ve been asking myself all those years during my vague and senseless search: How do I get through this? I was talking about life. But this was only a general set-up question. I had to actually seek further, unable to get out easily. The question materialized further: how do I make a distinction between what I must get through, and what is merely the stuff of life which always stays around me…?

I have been trying to answer this for so long. And yet, beyond even that question comes this other question that promises to make everything clear, and to give me the answer I need. It is one thing that will define me, and to which I can commit myself; this one thing with which I can live freely, and for which I can live with passion. I needed to find this one thing that has kept me from growing up—though I’ve grown old—and that promises to make me whole. I needed this one thing on which I can build upon my long-stunted character. So, I asked myself more distinctly: “What is it I want? What is the one promising thing I want, which will define my life finally; that one promising thing that will give me the drive to push through, as Frost stated?

My perspective of what writers write about is obviously subjective. Nonetheless, I believe answers are found by those who know how to question, but more importantly, who know how to embrace the right questions that we ought to love: questions that disturb us, or make us want to hide, or fight; or die, or live—or push through. So, writers pursue these kinds of questions. Every writer’s questions and answers are embedded between the lines of narratives, or displayed in scenes in a screenplay, or felt by a person’s performance in a play. These are only proposals from the observer/writer who painstakingly, but lovingly construct the entire foundation of his or her own personal character—but leaves judgment and definition to each reader or watcher’s own needs.

So back to my original thought: how do I get through, as Frost states—to get out? And what am I trying to get through? I can only tell you what I would rather show you, but for the sake of surfaces, I want to go through this MFA program, to get out of my fear of living, and begin my life’s meaning through public writing.

Lydia Nolan,

MFA Program Candidate


  1. Actually it's worse than that:

    "The *only* way out is through".

    Because if you start and then give up, it will hang there in the background.


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