Thursday, January 19, 2012

Near Death, Same Old Life

Do we have to dance to the routine about how if the sun sets spectacularly in one place it rises thoughtfully somewhere else? Or is the earth merely rotating the way it always has and all the metaphors about things ending and things beginning are a bunch of horsepucky in service of positive-thinking peanutheads? I don’t know. That sort of speculation doesn't really matter to me, I guess, because endings, and dwelling on endings, that’s not my thing – not these days, anyway. I live in Wisconsin now, state of my birth and place of my intellectual formation, et cetera, and our state motto is Forward. True enough, my respect for authority and for motivational slogans has been traditionally low enough to occupy a position at the earth’s molten core, but Forward? I like that. That’s where I’m going.

That lovely sunset, anyway, happened last week in Seaside, Oregon. [Editor’s note: Didn't Mag just say he was all about moving forward? But now he’s moving backward? Is it possible to trust this guy?] I was out there on the coast teaching in Pacific University’s Low-residency MFA Program in Creative Writing, and that was the view of the ocean from my fourth-floor balcony. Awesome, no? Anyway, I was there for ten days and performing the usual academic function involving hanging out with old friends and meeting new friends and discussing literature on about six-hundred levels with students and faculty and even the hotel staff, one of whom told me, in confidence, naturally, “You writers are really strange.” I said, “Those people are strange. Me, I’m completely normal.” The staff person said, “I’ll bet.”

The whole ten days I was in Seaside, the sun shone. Sometimes not a cloud besmirched the sky. And in Seaside, Oregon, in January, rain always falls and wind blows it sideways. The day we (all of us from the MFA program) were leaving, the bad weather (or maybe it’s the good weather because rain is supposed to fall in Seaside in January) returned, and the temperature dropped, which meant we took a bus over the coastal mountains toward Portland in a snowstorm. The driver coughed nonstop, with epic violence that caused him to jerk at the steering wheel, and he drove way, way too fast. I believed my end was indeed about to come. That kind of end – bus crash at high speed descending a coastal mountain road – does not engender a new beginning. I was scared. Too scared to shit myself, really. I took this cell-phone picture and texted it to my girlfriend and told her she’s awesome because 1) she is and 2) the drama of the situation required a dramatic gesture, don’t you think? Oh well. I lived. I can tell another story, as the saying goes, and here I am again, telling more stories and meandering in a blog about nothing in particular.

This is to say, at any rate, that the Mag’s Sentence blog hereby returns to regular duty, or maybe limited regular duty. Some of the upcoming posts will appear in Podcast form, too – with music and interviews and the like – once I get the equipment to run satisfactorily, which should be soon. Most of the upcoming posts will be a lot shorter than this, too, for which I am anticipating you will be grateful, whoever you are.

I've got a bunch of businesslike information to pass on in the next few weeks. It’s not really in my nature to pass on businesslike information, but I’m going to do it anyway. Please forgive me for self-promotion. As always, gripe in the comments section if you have gripes.

So yeah, in May 2012, Rodale Press will publish my new book Bike Tribes: A Field Guide to North American Cyclists, with illustrations by Danica Novgorodoff. I will post some cool pictures of the book (and maybe some short excerpts) throughout the spring, as well as keep you up to date with some appearances I will be making in support of the book. A couple of my essays will also appear in the Best of Bicycling ebook, which is scheduled for release I think in May, too, but I don’t know the exact date. Count on hearing about it here.

AND I’ve started a cool new business called, unimaginatively enough, Mag’s Sentence: Editorial Services and Coaching for Writers. For now, you can find all the information about this on the Mag’s Sentence: Editorial Services and Coaching for Writers Facebook page, but eventually, I will have a website for the business. This is to say if you’re looking to hire an editor or proofreader or someone who can coach your writing up to a professional level, find me and hire me. You will be happy you did! J

Last, here is a picture of a seagull in Seaside, Oregon. I have been writing a novel that concerns, at least obliquely, legions of his cousins in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. He wanted to say hello. I have wanted to say hello, too. So now we have that out of the way, don’t we?

1 comment:

  1. I'm just going to assume that I can request a stop on your book trip--it's better than griping, no? Graduate of SIUC, living in Champaign, IL. Come to the UofI if you can!

    Thanks MAG, Jared


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