July 13, 2015

Like Riding a Bike by T. L. WIens



When I was young, I rode at least ten miles a day on my bike whenever weather permitted. The bike I rode was plain jane. I had access to a ten speed but always chose my simple, back pedal brake model. It did make hills a bit more work and you didn’t let go of the handle bars.
Then I moved away from home, got married and had children. My bike didn’t get much attention.
Now, I’m finding the desire to get back on my bike only my good old faithful ride has long since been stripped of parts to keep my children’s bikes pedaling. I still didn’t want the fancy multi-speed model. Then I was given an old moped with the motor removed. I do have the luxury of handlebar brakes but that’s it for extra features.
Recently, I took part in a reading at the library where the writers from my local group were featured. We had everything from fiction to nonfiction, poetry to novels. Our group consists of a large range of writers from those who write for fun to those who make a living from it.
I noticed the crowd’s response more than usual. When the most accomplished writer in the group shared part of his new creative nonfiction, the writing followed all the musts an editor would hone in on but the content lost the listener. The least "polished" of our writers had her audience hanging onto her every word.
I’ve read a couple of award winning books and have to say, they didn’t do much for me. I won’t reread them. It makes me question if we’ve put too much emphasis on technical aspects of writing, too stuck on the details the average reader doesn’t notice.
I like my simple bike because of the pure enjoyment of doing the work of climbing the hill and then the rush of coasting down the other side. And maybe that’s what I need to focus on in my writing as well.

12 comments:

  1. I think you nailed it when it comes to a common writer's struggle--to keep our voice authentic and the writing real against rules and regulations. They both have a place and it is a fine balance for sure.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great insight. At a writer's conference a while ago it was also mentioned that many presenters are not very good readers. Or is it just that you have read your book hundreds of times? Those listening to you have not. Make it interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's why we need to know our audiences I guess.

      Delete
  3. This is very insightful. Readers don;t necessarily care about what is 'correct' or trending. Story is 'king' (or queen) in fiction. Good writers can hopefully make their readers forget about everything else and just get absorbed in the story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How do we get this message to the publishers?

      Delete
  4. I loved your analogy of the bike; a lot of us, myself included can remember having at least one bike that didn't have all the bells and whistles but instead we concentrated on the sheer joy of the ride and the hard work was simply part of the fun. What a great way to view our writing as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Both have a form of freedom that appeals to me.

      Delete
  5. I appreciate what you're saying here, Tammy. Sometimes it's what you say, more than how you say it. We can overrate the bells and whistles in bikes and in also in writing. The woman who held her audience's attention may well have written from the heart instead of the head.

    Thanks also for the reminder of those days when my sister Joan, with or without a group of friends, could safely ride almost anywhere in Edmonton. We could pack a lunch, ride on the crest of the river valleys for hours, and stop for a picnic when we got hungry. I envy those freedom days for my grandchildren. I enjoyed this mental trip on my own Plain Jane maroon-coloured bike with my sister, who now has Alzheimer's.
    I can still say to her, however, "May the Lord make his face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you and give you. . ." and she will answer, "Peace." Amen!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How wonderful for you with your sister. My mother in law is in the early grips of dementia and how we treasure when she remembers. God bless you!

      Delete
  6. Simplicity promotes freedom! I still have a back pedal brake model bike, and love it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've noticed some of the same things, T.L. I take comfort in knowing that the words I "put out there" are in God's hands, and I trust that they are blessing someone. Thanks for your perspective!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to join in the conversation. Our writers appreciate receiving your feedback on posts you have found helpful or meaningful in some way.