If only writer’s block had been my only problem, as it was those weeks’ (sorry, months’) back when I wrote my last post. An even bigger challenge has been the absence of sufficient income coming through in time to justify me taking time off to take to the road like I had originally envisaged, as well as being able to afford it.
Too late in the day a good paying job has come through however, but it will not pay me sufficient cash in time to get back to the plan of taking the road to Canterbury at exactly the same time of year and dates as Geoffrey Chaucer did all those centuries ago. It just seems like Life is saying “So much for those plans” to me – and some little imp somewhere is laughing its evil little head off at having disrupted my grand plans.
Ah, but there you perhaps have the essence of my downfall in those last 2 words: grand plans.
What’s needed is something simpler, and more in tune with where I’m at. Indeed, on looking back on where I took that fork in the road – to taking the one less travelled – maybe I need to remember my friend, the Film-maker, and her trials and tribulations in producing something true to the spirit of the believer, as well as the words of another friend (who has sadly fallen by the way in the course of me being too overly ambitious) in heeding what Robert Frost hinted at in his poem. Namely that “way leads to way“.
What I mean to say is that there is nothing original in simply following the road, which many have travelled - and even down to enlisting people to recite the words from The Canterbury Tales along the way, as one guy has simply done without any rime or reason for doing it. Apart from the art, that is.
For me, by contrast, it is really about capturing the key or keys to why Geoffrey Chaucer did it – even down to departing from using the written language of his day, French or Latin, and instead choosing to write his tales in English which was then largely a hotch-potch language largely only spoken by those in the street.
Because, my dear friends, it is my view – nay, contention – that these tales were never ever purely about the art (despite Chaucer being declared a poet, and perhaps the first one to be fully recognised as writing in English). Rather, Geoffrey Chaucer was ahead of his time in writing stories of the people, in their own language, and supporting his recognition of their struggle to be heard – and so ultimately giving them the basis for a voice.
Of course, there is another person who came along shortly thereafter to help take this voice to a new level – and perhaps much like we nowadays have Facebook or Twitter. His name was William Caxton, the inventor of the printing press. Because it was Caxton who chose to select “The Canterbury Tales” as the first book to be printed in English. This is what allowed Geoffrey Chaucer himself to be more widely heard, and read, (perhaps sadly) over 75 years after his death.
“So what does that mean about the change in my plans to take to the road?”, you might ask. Well, let’s just say it is more about validating the road taken – which there is much confusion about historically – as well as seeing what truth can be found from following the one which is known to be most likely to be the true path, or “way” if you like.
If I had not had my plans disrupted then I probably would not have thought of doing this. So Robert Frost is right: “way leads to way” – and that’s really as much “the way of Life“, as it is anything it else. It’s just a question of whether one is brave enough to recognise and accept that, as well as then follow where that new way leads, instead of being too dogmatic and possibly grandiose (like I was) in trying to stick too much to the original path – and one which seems to be well travelled, from the looks of it….