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.
My blog is doing well, for something that I don’t promote elsewhere or spend as much time as I would like to engaging with other bloggers. I started in 2016 and through the end of 2017 I had written just 31 posts and had only about 20 followers. Now I have written 173 more posts and have 313 followers. Naturally, publishing regularly has been helpful in making it more visible. So I’m grateful for the readers and support I have received, while also realizing there are lots of things I’m probably doing wrong or not at all that would help. Still, progress is good, so here’s a short post with the statistics of what’s been going on behind the curtain in A Dude Abikes land.
Sometimes (like now) when I find myself lacking a topic, I’ll peruse other blogs on WordPress for ideas. There’s Biking in LA who does a very regular coverage of all things bike (including way too many accidents) in, you guessed it! — Los Angeles. Jack Akehurst, Life Behind Bars (as in handlebars – clever!) just wrote about his riding and use of Strava over in Nottingham, England. Half-fast Cycling Club from Washington State I think is almost done with a very impressive cross-country cycling tour. Pam LeBlanc, Fit City is here in Austin, Texas (ATX); she just covered the arrival of the Texas 4000, a ride to Alaska for cancer awareness and fundraising. Sheree, View from the Back over in France wrote about her trip to watch a bike race in the Basque Country. I’m sure I’ve left a few out (let me know!), but they’re all interesting when I get time to look. You’re encouraged to go check them out!
Meanwhile, here’s what I’ve landed on to blog about… Continue reading
When Pam LeBlanc interviewed me for a profile in the Austin American-Statesman that was published on January 15, 2018, it set into motion a series of most fortunate events that are still bearing fruit. When I first suggested the idea to her by email in late 2016, it fell flat. I guess the 5,306 miles I bicycled in 2016 was not that impressive. But I kept riding, and I kept writing this blog, albeit irregularly. And I managed 4,714 miles in 2017. So riding 10,000 miles in two years did catch her attention.
Then Pam, who is a total badass herself I hope to interview one day, expressed interest in putting me in her Fit City blog. After that, her editor wanted to run the piece in the print edition of the newspaper with photos, I was happily surprised. My persistence of pedaling and pontificating had paid off. But the main thing I learned was that if my bicycling story was interesting to the mainstream newspaper of the 11th largest city in the United States (or at least the lifestyles editor), then other peoples’ stories would also have value.
Writing a blog three times a week may not seem like much work, but sometimes it is. Today is one of those days where I’m tempted to skip it, except so far this year I haven’t done that. I either write this blog or in my book for 30 minutes or 500 words, and it’s usually for an hour and over 1,000 words. Or more time and words, depending how much looking up stuff, dealing with photos, and going down rabbit holes. I just keep on doing my best to #Don’tBreakTheChain. After six months and 11 days, I ain’t about to quit. Or better put in tee shirt format: