Saturday, September 8, 2007


This morning I left home early to work on my rewrite at a local coffee shop. It felt good to get back to the story after working on the Piper proofs. Rewriting(with the exception of the second draft) is my favorite part of the process. The hours flew and, before I knew, it was time to meet my husband. We had a date to buy bicycles!

For the last couple of years, I daydreamed about starting this new hobby. We're recent empty-nesters, the perfect time to create something special together. Riding bikes seemed so romantic. While my practical husband researched bicycles for beginners, I searched online for long distance bike trips.

"Look," I told him, pointing to a bicycle tour company website, "We can travel along the Mississippi River."

He looked horrified. "I was thinking more of around the block."

I snapped my tongue. "It's only a seven day trip."

"Seven days?" he squawked. "How many miles does it cover?"

"I don't know, but they said some days you travel more leisurely than others. You average 70 miles a day."

Jerry looked like he was going to faint. "Can we start off riding around the block?"

Even with our polarized goals, I daydreamed about riding my bicycle. When I told my daughter, she asked, "Mom, are you sure you can still ride a bike?"

"Of course," I told her. "Haven't you heard what they say about riding a bicycle? Once you've learned, you never forget."

"Well," she said, "when I tried to ride at a friend's house last year, I ran into a garbage can. And it had only been ten years since I'd been on one."

I did the math in my head. The last time I'd ridden was in college. That was more than ten years.

The desire didn't go away though. I wanted a bike. I wanted to ride, but now I wasn't sure I'd be able to. So today at the bicycle shop my husband listened carefully as the young salesman pointed out the attributes of the Gary Fisher bicycle--Gears...ahem, seat adjustment...ahem. All the while, I was thinking I'll take the orange color.

Then Jerry announced, "Well, go try it out."


He chuckled. "Yes, in the parking lot."

My heart thumped when I straddled the bike. "Where did you say the brakes were?"

The wise young man pointed them out, then offered me a helmet.

I tried not to reflect on the years it had been since I'd been on one. I glanced around for garbage cans. I took a deep breath and put my feet on the pedals. It only took a couple of spins around the parking lot to make me realize that I did remember how to ride after all. It was a small achievement, but I pedaled in the right direction. My daydream was starting to come true.

A lot of people daydream about writing. Maybe they used to write when they were younger, but somewhere along the way life happened and they put down the pen. For some that has been so long ago that a fear has built up in them and they don't start because they're afraid they might find out they can't do it. But how will they know if they don't try? If that's you, I challenge you to pick up the pen and write the first word. Any word. Then let it lead you to a sentence. I promise I'll keep pedaling. And one day I'll send you a postcard from somewhere along the Mississippi.

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