Monday, April 4, 2016

Camp NaNo First Monday

By the first Monday of Camp NaNoWriMo, folks in my cabin are struggling with the demands of everyday life, along with the issues that can be expected to dog any writer. We all have different techniques to get past our Monday blues, writing doldrums, and plain, ordinary infections of jes' dowanna doit.

One of my favorite techniques is to begin writing about something I struggled with in the past, and managed to survive. I can think of any number of problems that seemed insoluble while I was in the middle of them, but in looking back, I see the clearly-marked exit that was there all along.

And now, I have plenty of blockage-breaking solutions to write about, to get that writing momentum going. Sometimes, being lucky is hard to see, except in retrospect.

An example from Kenneth Cummings' memoirs probably doesn't seem lucky to him, even with 37 year's worth of hindsight: 

In 1979, my wife was back in school at Mines, and I had returned from South Africa to join her. I had a job at a local mine, and started looking for a touring bike. 

Portia Masterson, the owner of the bike shop in Golden, had a Miyata touring bike of the kind I wanted, that she had ridden for several years. When she bought herself a new bicycle, she sold me the Miyata, and I rode it with great pleasure for a couple of years.

One afternoon in 1981, I was riding downhill on the frontage road below Lookout Mountain into Golden, when I hit a rock. I managed not to flip the bike, but both calipers [brakes] were broken off. The bike never was as sweet a ride after that, even though I continued to peddle around on it. 

Not long after that, I was pedaling along a Denver residential street alongside Roger Owens, another Denver Bicycle Touring Club member. I was chatting with Roger and enjoying the morning air when a Volkswagen passed us and turned left from the street ahead of us into a driveway. We saw the driver reversing out of the driveway, then to our disbelief, she backed completely across the street into the opposite driveway. Even worse, she then pulled right back into the street, smack into our path!

There was no time for emergency braking, although we both tried. Roger was to my left; with just enough room, he managed to whip around the car ahead of her front bumper. I was not so lucky. I could not stop in time, and was flipped across her hood and down to the street. The driver climbed out of her car to scold me. She was annoyed that I had broken off her wing mirror on my trip across the hood!

I was in shock, and simply wanted to escape. My bike was technically rideable, and we were close to the house. I was able to get home on it, riding slowly, not braking or even steering very much. The next time I rode the Miyata, however, the real damage was revealed as soon as I hit the brakes in a normal fashion. The front forks flexed at the damage point enough to allow the front wheel to touch the down-tube. The bike came to an abrupt halt; I was pitched over the handlebars, landing on my helmet. The impact gave me a concussion.

Alas, my Miyata was no longer even remotely rideable.

For me, rendering this story into readable prose from Cummings' verbal account helped to lubricate my stalled Monday writing engine.

Word Count: Day 4 Session 1: 4815; Session 2: 665
Word Count Total: 22,405 words