Sometimes there’s no one theme that presents itself for a post. Instead, a mixture of many motifs manifests. (Alliteration apparently attracts A Dude. ) I’ve noticed myself thinking about three main topics: 1) creativity, especially the art of writing, and the necessity of commerce; 2) all the bicycling I do (and to a lesser extent, walking and yoga), and 3) issues about nutrition and health. Of course I also consider weightier things like the temporary end of the federal government shutdown, the sad passing of a former neighbor, and the goings on in the lives of friends, family and my town. So I’m gonna touch on the three themes, and perhaps we’ll stumble upon some insight or wisdom useful to you. But sometimes, a blog is just a web log of what’s going on, and its not going to change your life. To quote the farmer in the movie Babe, “That’ll do, pig. That’ll do. Continue reading
It’s the opposite of my last post about being inspired by creative people. The recent Melissa McCarthy movie “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” paints a bleak picture of a lonely, struggling writer who turns to forgery to pay her bills. McCarthy was nominated for a Golden Globe for her moving portrayal of one author’s quest for respect and success. It’s difficult to write about a movie without spoilers, but I’ll try. This isn’t a review so much as some thoughts about the difficulties for writers to be creative and stay true to their vision while dealing with the realities of commerce. This is a theme I often struggle with as I continue to blog and write my book without any compensation in sight. A review in Town and Country was titled “Can You Ever Forgive Me Is the Funny-Smart-Sad Crime Caper You’ve Been Waiting For” . By the way, it’s based on a true story.
Last night I attended my first Third Thursday free event held by the Texas Writers League. I’d heard of the League, but it took me hearing their director Michael Nolin speak and also met him at another event, the One Page Salon, to get me to a TWL event. After the panel, I went to a book release party for OPS host Owen Egerton, who has helped inspired me to keep on writing and to call myself a writer. At the latter event I met a couple involved in the Austin film industry, and had a good long conversation with them about their art. And then a fellow blogger made a really heartfelt comment about a recent post of mine. A day later I still find myself energized by this synchronicity. So I gotta write about it.
Lacking some inspiration I looked back at the last week in photos. They tell a tale of my ongoing journey cycling through Austin.
Tonight I went to Yellow Bike Project again to work on Sophie. For the first time, I left with something that wasn’t better than went I arrived. Disc brakes can be tricky and for some reason my rear one on the Fairdale isn’t working right. I’ll need to return Monday when a coordinator more familiar with the brakes is there, but more likely I’ll head by a bike shop. It’s it’s important to be able to stop!
I don’t mention my diet much these days, but below is one brunch I prepared. Also, I worked nine days of early voting and the final election day. Compared to the recent mid-terms with many questions on the ballot, only five races had runoffs, so turnout was very low. It gave me time to do some reading. A David Baldacci thriller The Fix, and parts of Napoleon Hill’s classic Think and Grow Rich. I also got more into Tim Ferris’s The Four-Hour Work Week and the Austin Chronicle. I do not fare well at crosswords.
A brunch of eggs, turkey sausage, avocado, red and sweet potato, cheese, onion, salsa, and blue Powerade Zero. Blue’s a flavor, but unnatural.
I’m still doing my daily walking. One way I make sure to get in my 30 minutes is to walk on my way somewhere and then bike the rest. Or if I’m in a hurry and it’s close by, I bike there and then walk home. It’s a handy trick and I often see something cool, like the above bike rack. I don’t always put all the pictures here, though. For that, you will need to follow me on Strava, the fitness app. That link will take you to my profile.
Chanukah at the house of two friends involved a number of brightly lit menorahs, a variety of foods, and hanging out and talking. I missed the candle lighting and if there were any prayers, but it was not an orthodox religious event. It’s nice to connect with that part of my heritage (which I wrote about in the post Bicyclists & Jews: Both Are Targets (But They Should Not Be) and hang out with others who may not be traditionally observant but who identify ethnically. As one comedian put it, “(he’s) not a Jew, he’s Jew-ish.” Joking aside, I think one can be both. But speaking of that uniquely Jewish sensibility of humor, one person punned, “Some people light a ninth candle on Chanukah, but they’re in the menorah-ty.” (For the goyem out there, there are only eight days of Chanukah.)
I snapped these two covers of books at Book People, the largest independent bookstore in Texas that’s in downtown Austin. One speaks to the hope of what bicycles could do, the other reflects my ambivalence about why I am riding my bicycle an average of over 80 miles per week so far this year. (See 4,000 Miles Biked This Year! + 3,000 Miles Total on Sophie the Fairdale.)
Nearby the book store is the international headquarters of a natural grocery chain. They don’t need any press from me but friends and I have long called it the “food hole” or “whole paycheck.” But they do have some cool stuff like an ice skating rink on the roof in the winter and this sign abbreviating Austin, Texas, which changes colors. I had never snapped any pictures, so for your edification, here is a nice series.
The awesome, fun and inspirational monthly gathering of authors of all kinds who read called One Page Salon, hosted by Owen Egerton, had a huge turnout this month. This was thanks to the Texas Writers League. Shown with Owen is director Michael Nowlin, a nice guy, author and nice guy who encouraged me not to give up on the possibility of getting published. It was cool to see a packed house although I only really talked to a few people I already knew. The TWL is an organization I need to get involved with as I get closer to finishing the first draft of my memoir of two years of cycling quite a few miles. (4,714 Miles Bicycled in 2017 = 10,000 in 2 Years! A Recap of My “Epic Velocimania” (Day 1)
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I’ve written about One Page Salon before, where local authors read from a work in progress. But after missing one or two in recent months, I biked downtown to be sure I attended tonight. Once again rewarded by being inspired by fellow writers, having interesting conversations with musicians and other creative people, and in general enjoyed being part of a community of like-minded folks. Sure, I could write about the election again, but you can read about that elsewhere. So I’m going to write about writing, and since I rode my bike there, it’s relevant. Protocol be damned!
“I have one of two choices – stay in the post office and go crazy … or stay out here and play at writer and starve. I have decided to starve.
-Chatles Bukowski, from Jay Dougherty, Introduction to Charles Bukowski
The other day I wrote about my take on the perennial struggle that many writers and other creators of art face: how to pay the bills while making their stuff. Well, today, that arm wrestling came into stark relief as I reported for duty at my new, albeit temporary, job. As a result, I’m getting to this blog quite late, later than usual even. Aside from throwing a wrench into my schedule, and reducing my bicycling time, I still did my walking and yoga. But the job had some positive things about it, too. Maybe you’ll relate.
Today I had the pleasure to make the virtual acquaintance of former Austinite, now Denver-area, soon to be Pittsburghian writer Lauren Modery. Her blog is Hipstercrite, and her latest post To Geoffrey Owens —Thank You on Behalf of Working Class Artists. It draws on the experience of former Cosby Show actor Geoffrey Owens, who was shamed, then praised, for having a “day job.”
What does any of that have to do with bicycles? Well, everything and nothing. Readers of this blog know that I can and have linked a bicycle to Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and actor/director Tate Donovan, to chocolate, and to racism. (I’m still not sure but I’m really, REALLY hoping that it’s not racist to use the words chocolate and racism in the same sentence.)
The fact is, that work is for most people not in the 1% (like future ex-US President Tinyhands Orangehead), an inevitable part of life. A Dude is no exception. For almost a year, his work has been this blog and a book in progress, biking his ass off (though it’s still there), daily walking and yoga-ing, volunteering, among other things. But today, he rinally had to join the working class again and get the dreaded J-O-B. He rode there on his bike, of course.