May 18, 2011

Fate and skill and chances

Well then.

Over the past few years I wrote at great length with great enthusiasm, but inevitably the naïvety of a beginner turned out to be much of its undoing. Perhaps the story will live on in the minds of those who did read it, before I culled it from these very pages to leave a jarring silence, and perhaps one day I might treat it to a subtle -- or not so subtle -- reworking, even an extension. That its successor behind the scenes is being brought forth oh-so-slowly from my fingers leaves me with the rather bold notion of producing it as a single work rather than by instalment as I did with an earlier work; perhaps it will even see print should someone be mad enough to support it. Not for me is NaNoWriMo, as I seem to have neither the time nor the on-demand ability to crank out material, but I will be plying the lexicon in my own incremental way.

I actually feel bad for shutting everything down for so long and wiping the board clean. I shouldn't have expected too many to be exploring my Are You Sitting Comfortably? page for updates, though that has been my natural receptacle for rekindling my enthusiasm for the written word. I can't keep blaming my accident two years and more ago, and about which I wrote very little, but it destroyed my confidence in many aspects. Those who were here at the time will remember it, and my shoulder mended fine, while my hand mended mostly fine. For several months my guitar playing was badly affected; indeed, my handwriting was affected, with a knuckle joint that even now pops and creaks in a way that it never did before. While I am tearing up the roads, albeit still tentatively, on my motorbike, and tearing up the roads with gusto on the same black bicycle as ever, my writing has come and gone and come again. This time I'm going to write stuff when I feel like it, and when I don't, I shan't; if a piece ends up long, it's because it wanted to be long.

So I guess over the last, hurmmm, two dozen months, I've probably come full circle. Over a summery two weeks in August in 2009 I rode 500 miles across New York and southern Ontario. I saw snakes and hedgehogs and deer. I comprehensively broke, and then mended, parts of my bike. I carried out my own little archeological history investigation. I got lost several times. I climbed over a train while carrying my bike. I discovered I knew more about the CN Tower than the local tour guide. I used a staff bathroom without permission. And worst of all, I caused a statewide shortage of Oreo cookies.


A FAMOUS cycle tourist once wrote, "Solitary long-distance travel is addictive". Intrepid touring cyclist might be a more accurate description, sufficient to have written, oh, several books at least and fitting in a ride or two around the world, probably because it was there. My degree of intrepidation had seen me leave Scotland for the far away lands of the seafront on the south coast, once or twice, and even then I'd had a train journey to help me out. I did discover that there not be dragons, just occasional partygoers wearing fluorescent yellow plastic sunglasses, a lot of peeling pale green ironwork, and a shop that sold really excellent chocolate milkshakes. Encountering, at speed, the bicycle lane that kinked alarmingly left and right between the end of a cul-de-sac and a raised flowerbed was possibly the most noteworthy event. Spending the day tootling back and forth from one end of the town to the other, eating paninis and salads, taking an occasional photograph and being very investigative of everything and nothing was my foil to the fact that I was somewhere where I didn't know anyone at all. The problem was, I quickly realised, I wasn't actually enjoying it. So much so in fact that I parked myself somewhere along on the shingle beach, wriggled myself a nice depression in the stones to relax in the sunshine, and wrote about how much I wasn't enjoying it.

Give me thirty years or thereabouts, and hopefully I'll have the rest of it written. In the meantime I'm making plans for the next adventures and quickly realising that I tend to have them faster than I can record them. Last year I took the summer off to go wrenching in my garage, but instead I found myself doing photography and picking brambles along the canal, and not writing very much.


Llŷr said...

Welcome back! Your voice has been much missed here in the hinterlands of the interwebs, where grammar is broken by routine and spelling follows the demands of an SMS-obsessed society.

May I tell you how grateful I am to find such an eloquent voice returned...and even more grateful to discover that there are adventures yet to come!

scott said...

Very glad to see you're back and writing again...