Herculean Habits: Regular Routines or the Struggle of Streaks?

This is one of those nights when a sensible blogger who is not feeling well skips writing; instead, she/he/they takes a bath, drinks some sleepy tea and reads, or gets under the covers early. Lucky for you, I never claimed to be sensible. (I also didn’t say whether that is good or bad luck. It’s your call if you’re feeling lucky, punk. Well, are you?) Anyway, I’ve been writing daily since January 1, 2018, either in this blog, a journal, or my memoir. It would be easy, but not at all simple, for me to just skip a night. But so far, no matter how badly I might feel, I write. So, here goes un poquito blogito.

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Writing a Book Is Like, Hard, and Stuff; A Partner Helps

My bicycle memoir, a book that’s been in process for several years now, is going like my bike rides — ever so slowly, relatively speaking. I like to blame the Writers League of Texas revision class teacher’s fault for blowing up my structure. It was 24 chapters over two years; she said ditch that for hanging things on half a dozen or so major events. The League director pretty much said the same. So not only did I write it, go back and revise it, then try to have some beta readers look at it, now I have to go back and re-re-re-do it? Apparently, yes. But I may have found a shovel to start digging myself out of this hole. That shovel is actually a person. I’ll explain.

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Writers’ League of Texas Summer Writing Retreat

For those new here, I’ve written a manuscript. It’s about the period covered by the first two years of this blog. It took a year to write the book, alternating days that I write this blog. Another year passed while I edited it. I was sitting in a virtual drawer for a while, then I found a couple of people to do beta reading. While that process continues, this opportunity came along after I recently joined the Writers League of Texas. Membership has its privileges, and one of them is discounts on programs like this class on revision. (Many are free.) Although not cheap, I realized it’s a bargain and that I couldn’t really afford NOT to take the class. Although the goal — to write a book — was accomplished, if I ever want to get this book done and out into the world somehow, it’s going to take a lot more work. After all, as they say, writing IS revising. I’m thinking of it as an investment. Who knows? Maybe it’ll make me some money some day. (Unlikely, but possible).

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60 Days of New Years Resolutions: How YOU Doin’?

Happy First Day of International Women’s Month. (Is it bad that I can’t get Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It”) out of my head?) Here in the States we were hoping 2021 would suck a lot less than the dumpster fire fluster cuck that was 2020. But it’s been a year already: insurrection at the US Capitol; inauguration of the lawfully elected 46th President (who quickly began steering the ship of state away from the rocky shores with some pretty righteous executive actions); impeachment without conviction of the ousted one for inciting said riot; the vaccine rollout happening but mostly botched (largely due to the last guy); and the new guy before bombing some places in Iraq. (Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, at least when it comes to war and the military.) Then there was epic Winter Storm Uri (a Russkie?) which led to ultra cold temperatures, blackouts (the weather kind and I’m sure booze-related ones, too), near record snow, ice, and in Texas especially, the loss of electricity, heat, and then water for millions. Yeah, pretty sucky, 2021.

But hey, there ain’t much a dude can do about all that but to survive and Just Keep Livin’. And that means doin’ some stuff, makin’ moves, and what not. Thanks to the boss man over at Sorryless saying I inspired him to take 10,000 steps every day but starting Februrary 1st, now that March has arrived, I figure it’s time to review my vows to suck a little less. It’s a lot to hope for, but maybe some of my very modest but important marginal gains will rub off on y’all, and on the year at large. OK, suck it up, we got some stats to update. I’ll try to keep it short.

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Book Review: Yoga and the Quest for the True Self by Stephen Cope

Naked in a hot tub with an author is not a situation I find myself in often. In this case, it was a quite a while ago when I spent a summer at a yoga center. I didn’t know it at the time, but the writer in question was about to publish a book he must have been working on during my summer there. I’m not in the book, and the whirlpool nudity isn’t germane to the review, but I thought it might be a fun way to grab your attention. Anyway, I finally got around to re-starting and finishing his work. Yoga is an ancient tradition spanning thousands of years, and I eventually got into a daily practice, so while I doubt the author remembers me or will ever see this review, if he does, I trust he will forgive me for the tardy book report.

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My Book Report: It’s Beta Reader Time, Baby

It’s taken me a good while to get to this point, but I’ve finally done it: I printed out Chapter 1 of my book to give to a beta reader. Of course they weren’t there went I went to drop it off, so I’ll do that tomorrow. And I’m working out getting an electronic copy to my first victim I mean volunteer who is out of town. Just today, a third person offered to read it. So the ball is rolling, wheels are in motion, the train is leaving the station… insert other clichés (which a good writer knows to avoid). Anyway, Sorryless wanted updates, and as my steadfastest reader and mostest commenter, I want to keep him happy.

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Book Review: HEFT ON WHEELS by Mike Magnuson

Courage is a word you could use to describe bicycling, especially the urban kind I do wherein one risks one’s life while several-ton killing machines blow by at high speeds mere inches away. Or bike racing, BMX riding with the ramps and jumps and tricks, or screaming down a mountain on a bike: all take some degree of courage. But writing? It doesn’t take any courage at all to sit down at a laptop and start hammering away, right? Well, that’s easy to say if you haven’t tried to write a book. And when it comes to memoir, laying your soul bare to people you never have, and never will meet, takes a big chunk of gumption.

I should know, because I’ve been writing this blog for over five years, albeit with far less courage since I use a nom de plume / velo. I have also written a book — a memoir. I have yet to find the courage to even show it to others to read. (I’m getting close to sharing with beta readers, once I figure out the details, having finally just found two awesome volunteers.) But in Heft on Wheels: A Field Guide to Doing a 180, his 2005 memoir (I know, I’m very late to the party), author, creative writing professor, magazine article writer, and cyclist Mike Magnuson has courage in spades. (Heft is a follow-up to his previous memoir, Lummox.) As quoted in a speech he gave, I’d even go so far as to say he has “sixteen suitcases full of courage.”

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New Year, New Dude, New US?

Since it’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I’ll also remind folks of an older post with a photo of The Rev. Dr. King on a bicycle. Thanks to the pandemic, there was no rally with speakers and then march. I’ve attended them on an off over the years here in Austin and was at a huge gathering and march after the police killings of George Floyd, Breona Taylor and other Black people. I was fortunate to be able to participate in some Black Lives Matter protests last summer and a pair of Black History Bicycle Rides.

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Book ‘Em Dude-O! I Completed Editing My Bike Memoir. Now What?

Just a little over 11 months ago, I wrote a post titled I Finished My Book, but It’s Far from Over. Now, I’ve finished editing it. Well, you’re never really finished editing until it’s published. Even then, there may be future editions. Point is, I’ve come to a place where I need to find some other eyeballs. For my collection of eyeballs. Just kidding! I mean having other people read it. Particularly an editor. Therein lies the rub. Because editors are like unicorns – a few people claim to have seen them, but they’re extremely rare. And they possess some powerful magic:  they’re able to get your book published — or not. So I’m looking for my unicorn. Or eyeballs. Or unicorns with eyeballs. I mean magical unicorns with eyeballs. Yeah, let’s go with that last one.

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