Born in 1894 in Massachusetts, E.E. Cummings always knew he wanted to be a poet. When the First World War started, he was deployed in France and, despite the circumstances, fell in love with Paris. His poetic letters expressed this feeling and his preference for the company of French soldiers, which not only raised suspicions with the Americans, but led to his imprisonment as he was believed to be a spy.
While some could easily be discouraged by this experience, Cummings used it to write his novel The Enormous Room in 1922 while living in Paris, where he returned after the war.
This brief glance into the poet’s life suggests that the quote above was somewhat of a mantra for Cummings. When you feel discouraged, it can be comforting to remember that the easiest way is not always the right way and staying true to who you are always pays off in the end.