Today marks eleven years of this little old blog. Where has the time gone? It certainly doesn’t seem like I have been at this for eleven years which means it must be fun otherwise I wouldn’t keep at it. So how appropriate was a sort of celebration Bookman and I did yesterday: Bikeworm.
Bikeworm was the first of what I hope will be many, sponsored rides for bookish folk. The Twin Cities Book Festival was yesterday at the State Fairgrounds, the ride, advertised for those who had a hard time deciding between a book or a bike, started at the downtown Minneapolis Central Library. We got a little backpack with a snack, a bike map of the Twin Cities, a bumper sticker that says “Make Your Next Stop the Library,” a bookmark, some discount coupons for booths at the festival, and a raffle ticket to win $500 worth of bike gear. The ride was limited to 100 people and I believe we ended up with 97. At 9:15 we got on our bikes and rode together along the Dinkytown Greenway, a newly completed off road bike only route that took us most of the way to the fairgrounds. It was an easy and pleasant, though chilly, 6.5 mile ride. Bookman and I have never been on a group ride like this before and we had a blast.
We even had two authors riding with us, poet and musician Ben Weaver who, at the conclusion of the ride, read us a wonderful poem he had composed for the occasion about bicycling. The other author was Terry Kerber who has just published Major Taylor. Taylor was a black cyclist and in his day the fastest man on a bike in the US.
Bookman and I locked up our bikes and went in to the festival exhibit area and wandered around to all the tables, browsing books and sometimes chatting with authors or publishers. I suck at this kind of chatting so it was really me looking interested and nodding my head a lot while Bookman did the talking. He is so good at this kind of thing I marvel to watch it. We managed to slink by the Dianetics booth without any of the Scientologists there trying to lure us over with some kind of stress test. The man in front of us wasn’t so lucky. One of the publishers had a book judging poets by the weight of their beards. I flipped through it giggling. There were no bearded female poets in the book, though if there were it would have been even more interesting.
Did I buy any books? Why yes, yes I did. At the Coffee House booth I bought a copy of A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride. I’ve heard the beginning of the book is particularly perplexing so I opened the pages and read the first paragraph. Yes, perplexing, but in a delightful way. The Coffee House person at the booth, thinking, perhaps, that I would be turned off like so many other people are by experimental writing and difficult books, started trying to sell the book to me and assured me that after the first ten pages or so it would start to make sense. She was a bit surprised when I told her I knew all about it and loved this kind of thing, here’s my credit card.
At the Graywolf Press booth I got sucked into buying two more books, The Art of Subtext: Beyond Plot by Charles Baxter and The Art of Daring: Risk Restlessness, Imagination by Carl Phillips. Baxter’s book discusses subtext in fiction. Phillips, a poet, takes on poetry and “its capacity for making a space for possibility and inquiry.” They are slim books and are targeted at writers which explains why the person at the Loft Writing Center table who saw me buy them tried to get me to sign up for writing classes. The books may be aimed at writers, but I am always of the mind that there are plenty of things readers can get out of them too. Writing and reading are feedback loops in a way. Reading teaches one about writing and writing teaches one about reading. There were a few other tempting books but remembering I came to the festival on a bicycle, I figured three books was enough.
Katha Pollitt was scheduled to speak at 12:30 and I really wanted to stay for that, but my cold is lingering and by 11:30 my energy was beginning to flag. Bookman reminded me we had to ride home, so I gave in and we headed out to our bikes. Our return trip included a woman named Cathy who had signed up for the group ride but had driven in from the burbs and missed the group, riding over alone and not really knowing where she was going. So she asked if she could tag along with us. Of course. She was really nice and grateful for the company. Back at the library we parted ways. Bookman and I rode to the metro train station a block away and hopped on with our bikes, got off at the station closest to our house and rode the rest of the way home. I then collapsed on my reading chaise for the rest of the day, much more tired than I should have been. But it was a fun day. The ride was a success and I suspect it will happen again next year. I hope it does anyway!
Now, to also celebrate eleven years of blogging I thought it might be fun to open up my Donny and Marie diary from 1979 when I was eleven years old. Turns out I didn’t have much to say that year because the only month filled in is January, but oh, what a laugh those 31 days are. Here are some samples with all the misspelling intact.
January 3, 1979
Today we were playing a game Cat’s Eye. I was playing with Alicia and my sister Cindy. Cindy was cheating! I’ve started to write 3 storys but, I still haven’t finished yet!
January 8, 1979
Today Sha came over and Cindy got mad. She told my mom of course. Now my mom said next time I write a story it has to be what a good sister is.
January 10, 1979
Today we went to room 16 only the 5th graders. We had to do mouth to mouth on resea Andy. that was the manican’s name. I did it and it was awful hard to pinch a rubber nose.
January 16, 1979
Today it was cold but it did not rain. I got a letter from Tricia today. I’m going to write her back as soon as I can. We are having chille for dinner. I don’t like chille.
January 17, 1979
Today at school we saw Iland of the blue dolphins. It rained and Cindy and I are playing school we are pretending to be freshmen.
January 27, 1979
We made a hop scotch out on the patio. We walked to the store with mom.
And there is a glimpse into the ever eventful life of me when I was eleven. I have no recollection of the “storys” I refer to nor do I remember not liking “chille” because I like it just fine now. I like to think in the intervening years both my writing and my spelling have improved. Perhaps one of these days I will go back in the archives and check out some of my first blog posts. But then maybe not. It is easier to forgive my eleven year-old self for being silly than it is to be kind to myself from eleven years ago.
But now I’m just rambling. Blame the cold medicine.
Thank you all for visiting this little corner of cyberspace. The internet is such a big place and you could be anywhere else but here. I do so appreciate you stopping by. Each one of you are part of what has made this blogging thing so much fun and I am ever so grateful.