On being a biker and the appearance of my writing muse
Bug Guts and Butt Cramps
I was meant to be a writer. Since I tend to do things by taking the most circuitous route, I had to become a biker, first. That's right, the real kind of biker. I have logged thousands of miles on the back of our bike and I wear a leather motorcycle jacket, chaps, and boots. Most people don't recognize me in my full biker gear.
I ride as the passenger of a large Harley street cruiser. A typical day trip here in Colorado is about 300 miles. Then there is the trip up to South Dakota every August for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and Races. That's about a 500 mile trip one way for us, a trip we did 18 times between 1997 and 2015. There is a lot of time to let my mind do some serious wandering during a 500 mile ride.
There are two ways we can go to South Dakota, either though Nebraska farmland or through Wyoming ranchland. There is not a ton of scenery either way, but if you have ever gone up Interstate 25 through Wyoming, you know the meaning of wide open spaces. There is nothing but grasslands for miles on end, without a cow, building, tree or anything else to give your eyes and brain something to focus on. We especially noticed the lack during a famous Wyoming cloud burst. It will suddenly pour down rain with 50 mile an hour winds, and there isn't an overpass, tree, building, or cow to provide any cover.
In 2008, we headed up to Sturgis via Wyoming, and unbeknownst to me, my muse chose this opportunity to tag along. I didn't even know I HAD a muse, much less had need of one. As we cruised along through the grasslands, she took control of my wandering thoughts, and planted my very first story in my head. I spent the entire 500 miles lost in this story. We spent the week in South Dakota, riding everywhere we went. Every time I was on the bike, my mind would go to this story. I would work out plot lines, scenes, characters, and dialog in my head.
I couldn't wait to get home to start typing this story! I was in an absolute fever about it. At some point, I confessed this to my husband. He was not particularly surprised, but then maybe he chalked it up to one of my many eccentricities.
This year on our way up to Sturgis (this time going through Nebraska), I had a giant green bug go SPLAT on the visor of my helmet--right in my line of sight. Right after that happened, we made a quick turn onto a tight on-ramp. The unexpected shift in the bike caused a tremendous cramp in my right butt cheek. All was right in my biker world, and my muse was having the time of her life. I wrote no fewer than three short stories in my head during that trip.
This last trip to Sturgis was probably the final time I will be going, at least for quite a while. My muse hitched a ride again this time, but I'm not worried that is the last I will hear from her. I have her trained to join me in the comfort of my recliners, snuggled up with two or more dogs. That is actually my favorite place to write. I don't need the bug guts and butt cramps to write.
word count: 586