It’s been rumbling around in my head for some time now. Having progressed from blog to magazine stories, might the next step be to write a book? There is no denying it is the ultimate writing accomplishment. And I rarely begin something without going all the way. This would be the marathon of writing.
Through the course of several memoir writing classes and workshops, I’ve pondered several topics. It was only last fall that the idea crystallized. And suddenly it was so obvious. I would write about our cycling trips. Between my blog posts, detailed journals, photographs and Rich’s trip reports I have a wealth of material. My passion for the adventures will fill in the rest.
Feeling a bit timid about the idea, not to mention being a complete novice, I hesitated to mention it to anyone much less start the project. So I set my sights on a writing retreat. I would be spending Thanksgiving week with my son Carl and his wife Chelsea in Milwaukee. With three full days to myself while they were at work, I had the perfect opportunity to dedicate myself to writing.
Carl was the one who delivered the ultimate push. He reminded me that their dining room table, which he inherited from his Grandpa Hoeg, once belonged to Sinclair Lewis. What better place to begin my writing? That did it. I assembled my resources and notes online in preparation for the trip. In the quiet household, I brewed myself a big mug of hot coffee. I fired up my laptop and sat down at the famed table. And began.
By the end of my three days, I had several short chapters written. I could feel this book. I knew my intended audience, and what I wanted to give them. In my collection of stories, I will convey the good, the bad, the ugly and the funny about our version of cycle touring. It should satisfy the curious. Inform the wanna-be’s. And entertain those with a travel bug. For now it will be known as America at 12 Miles an Hour.
Clearly I have a long way to go. A lot more writing to do. A ton of learning, editing and selling. Even just admitting my goals here makes me feel vulnerable. But if I don’t give it a try, I’ll never know if I can do it. So far, I’m enjoying the challenge and reliving all the memories from the 10,000 miles Rich and I have toured via bicycle.
If my blog posts are sparse, now you know why. My writing is focused elsewhere. No matter what ultimately becomes of it, 2017 is the year of my book.