*This entry is the latest from my 2009 coast-to-coast storytelling tour by bike blog found at http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/adventure2009*
It's strange, these blogs. You never quite know if they're entertaining, enlightening, or just the ill-fitted ramblings of a doddering old fool. Heh. Maybe all of the above?
Much has happened. Much. So much that I don't quite know where to begin, nor what to include. Perhaps I'll just begin, and like the avenue of faith, the way will emerge from the darkness.
Recently I re-read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. If you haven't read it yet, and you ever tell yourself, "Self, I like you. You're a good duck. I want to do you a favor" then the favor is reading this book. Coelho is a master at parable, and leads the eager reader into a world of omens, signs, mysteries . . . and alchemy. I want to cry just thinking of its poetic beauty, even though it isn't poetry, and even though men aren't "supposed" to cry. What a silly notion that is, men not crying. It's like we try to purge tenderness, the child's heart, from our being: strip it from the soul. Silly.
Well, the lad in this lovely tale speaks of his "personal legend," the driving dream filling his life, and the great king Melchizedek points out others who also have personal legends, but unlike this boy they discard their dreams. Or they pursue them for a time, give up, and settle down into the mundane world. Inspired, yet with some trepidation, the boy ventures into the unknown, the untried, the unfamiliar, and trusts in his personal legend. Whether he succeeds, and what course his life takes, is a tale filled with wonder.
Parables like this one move into the soul. That's the beauty of story: simplicity. And the power of story: to inspire action.
Well, like the mysterious beggar (or enlightened king) in countless folktales (and parables), an angel flew into my personal legend. Jaimie Stuart "magically" appeared to help with a recent Idaho storytelling residency, and felt so drawn to this bike tour that she's taking it to loftier heights. Never have I felt so pushed to clarify my purpose and define my aim. It's gut-wrenching. I'm reminded of Adrian in Rocky III when, on the beach, she rips Rocky apart trying to get at the heart of his fears, only Jaimie's getting to the heart of my vision. For hours (literally hours) I've pondered, penned, and pondered anew the purpose of this quest, trying to distill it all into one phrase. I'm nearly there. I can feel it close. Yet it's wickedly elusive, teasing and tantalizing, luring me deeper and deeper into the soul. But ohhhhhh, it's close.
Frighteningly close. I speak of the tour, now. It's a mere 6 months away. Shudder. Ohhh, so much preparation now, mental and physical. I picked up a BOB trailer for $150 (thank you Grant!), used my REI 20% coupon for an Alien II, and have finally finished two 3-week storytelling tours of the western corridor from Arizona to Montana, and my thoughts all bend to the tour.
Oh my heavens, I'm getting choked up again. What's up with that?
Y'know, fantasizing has been given erotic connotations, but that's precisely the blueprint of reality--fantasies. We do what we fantasize. We become what we dream. I dream of transforming the world through story . . . and envision a bike tour that opens the window to that reality.
If I could just figure out what to call the dang tour.