Well, the Beatles had the ‘Contractual Obligation’ album – I have to force myself to sit and think – and then to sit and write.
Writing seems joyous, in a perverse way, when I am most upset. My inhibitions flee before the onslaught of thought, inner censorship diminishes, and production (as though Marx was here, engaging me with the ‘reproduction of the means of production’) seems both easy and rewarding. And those posts are often the ones that I later reflect on, thinking they are well-written, a clear and concise thesis, evidence well presented and easily verified for the reader, posts that I’m proud to have written.
Or, at least, I’m proud of the way they turned out. Occasionally (hey, I got ‘occasionally’ correct on the first attempt) a sober second appraisal of the situation suggests that the writing may have been over the top, there may be the odd ad hominem attack, or some other error that I wish I had taken care of differently. But those concerns highlight an interest in the subject.
And I think it is a disservice to write on a topic I am not interested in.
That does not mean I wouldn’t write whatever I could, about whatever subject, if someone was paying me to write about it. But that is a different scenario; at that point I’m being paid to ‘be interested,’ to learn and apply the very best information I can bring to bear on the subject – in the service of my employer – before moving on to the next piece of work.
But the best part of writing is indeed being involved in the writing as well as living. All that writing to get here.
Summer is slowly disappearing now, in early August, and I must make the very best of the remains of the season.
Just north of the railway swing-span between Burnaby and Richmond I see a pair of osprey circling over the Fraser River. Working with the wind they traverse across the river, return, do it again, all while describing these circles in the sky. They will get their fish. Or die.
It’s mid-afternoon on a lovely day as I head along South West Marine Dr., just west of Camosun, up just one more incline and in the near distance is a cyclist whom I’m gaining on far too fast. I ease up on the pedals, slowing. Just to say ‘hi.’ Red bike. Gold decals.
and I grab the brakes. This is what I ride for. Osprey. And, in real life, a curly-stay Hetchins.
The gentleman riding the bike was probably mid-career, some 50-odd years ago, when I was born. The bike was something he wanted some time later, and judging by the Campagnolo equipment that graced the frame he could afford what he wanted. I’ve seen the Hetchins, in pictures, but just like pin-up models the real thing is far, far more satisfying.
He and I rode together for a few minutes. We talked bikes. We talked about riding what you wanted. We acknowledged that others would see our mutual selections as anachronisms – throwbacks in an age of carbon-fiber, of sub-17 pound bicycles, of ever more gears to select – but we rode knowing, not denying, and happily.
Saying my goodbyes I slowing rode ahead to the end of my ride. But the weekend, and the writing, carry me forward. The osprey offer some hope that we haven’t killed everything, yet. The old Hetchins proves that some things have to be experienced – not delivered digitally – to be recognized for what they might be.