“It’s another summer, which means another effort on my part to be more productive, to read and write more, to get more exercise. (January’s resolutions don’t always stick.)
“This year, I’ve been making a real effort to ride my bike more regularly. I’ve pulled out and dusted off my old vintage Schwinn Le Tour from the garage, I’ve added a padded seat, and I’ve mapped out a route that I can take (mostly safely if drivers aren’t being too aggressive) to the Saginaw Rail Trail. Once I reach St. Charles, with its river and its haunted house, I start the long ride back. On good days, I even take the dog leg that parallels Klucks’ Tree Farm and ends up in Thomas Township. Those days I cover about 35 miles.
“I’m exceedingly slow, I don’t think that I’ve lost any weight yet, I need new brakes, and there are certain parts of the trail where I always ask myself *how* much longer? Oh, and the equivalent of saddle sores has been an issue.
“There are, however, always surprises: the eaglet in the dead oaks I saw last week, the fawns in the brush, the move from a tunnel of trees to the wide open expanse of sky. The glow of a wayward Baltimore oriole and the discovery of a new (to me) type of bird: the flicker. But not every day’s surprises are so pleasant. Though it is the same route, some rides seem much harder than others, and some days life—or at least the weather—derails my plans.
“But I remind myself that this is all like writing—it’s the practice that matters. It’s not how fast I pedal, and yes, the process involves much repetition, but the very attempt makes a difference to me if to no one else. No matter how many near misses or rejection letters, the payoff is in the attempt—and the joys found along the way, often by just showing up, paying attention, and putting ourselves and our thoughts out there.”
Helen and Chris write:
“Thanks to all of you who participated in our June poetry workshop. We hope that it inspired some interesting pieces, ones that you may consider submitting to ‘Still Life’—the deadline is fast approaching… July 15, so if you haven’t submitted yet, please do so!
“We also hope that you’ll also consider attending our July workshop on memoir writing and our August one on mindfulness and writing. There’s still time to sign up for both! Just register on the website, communitywritingcenter.com.
“This month, as always, we’d like to recommend a few books for your reading pleasure. As we are in summer reading mode, which ideally means time reading by a Michigan lake, we are still focusing on Michigan writers. For novels, then, we’d recommend a re-read of Bonnie Jo Campbell’s version of Huck Finn, the rich ‘Once Upon a River.’ For poetry, try something from another Michigander--Thomas Lynch’s ‘Bone Rosary,’ which includes a poem about Roethke that Lynch donated to one of the Community Writing Center’s past initiatives. And though we are moving away from Michigan, and on to something a little different, try the homage to reading called ‘A Velocity of Being,’ edited by Maria Popova and Claudia Bedrick. The book is a series of letters to readers (often written by authors) about the joys of reading. Each letter is then paired with a piece of artwork. It’s great fun to read metaphor after metaphor about reading, and the book itself is piece of art.
“That’s all for now. Remember our CWC writing consultants are always ready to work with you, so don’t hesitate to make an appointment with them. Until then, enjoy these long summer days, stay safe, and keep writing!”