In my childhood, my dad always had a motorcycle sitting in the garage. Every spring he’d head outside to bring the beast back to life with some tuning and then a couple sputtering coughs and finally it’d roar with joy.
If we were lucky, my sisters and I would get to ride with dad along the dirt roads and through forestland near our home. Not a care in the world, I’d lean back and grin with the feel of the bike and the world around me full of warm weather and life.
I’d dream of driving my own motorcycle and exploring the world. I’d see new places, introduced to me by the smell in to my nostrils before I even left the road. The sights would be that much clearer because they weren’t framed by the outline of a car window and were brought to me through the rush of wind on my face. The possibilities were limited only by my imagination.
As years passed, that dream sat in the back of my head, a tiny nugget of “I wish.” But with that nugget grew a malignant dose of reality. I realized, at some point, that most motorcycles sit too far off the ground for me to hold up with my short legs. (4’ 11″ of total height equals a very short inseam =)) Mixed in there came the realization of just how fast a motorcycle can go without the comforting metal frame of a car.
When my husband got his motorcycle a few summers ago, I thrilled to ride with him, but as soon as I threw my leg over that back seat, all those reality fears swarmed in to smother me. No longer could I simply sit back and grin, enjoying the wind in my face. The road passed by with alarming speed barely inches from the bottoms of our feet. Cars and trucks passed within feet of us, blowing their exhaust into our nostrils as they rumbled by, and the motorcycle itself tilted farther into the turns than I realized as a child.
My “I wish” clouded over, smothered in exhaust and noise. The desire still pulled at me but drawing it out, even to think about it, felt doomed. But my husband knew my childhood joy. Despite my reservations, he continued to talk about finding me a motorcycle and encouraged me to take rides with him. Then, last summer, he pulled the desire out of the sludge of exhaust by finding me a motorcycle I could touch the ground on. Never before could I fully lay the soles of my feet on the ground when straddling a motorcycle and the reality that maybe, just maybe, I could make the “I wish” come true filled me with a hesitant glimmer of hope.
Excitement and terror warred within me. I signed up for the class to get my endorsement and away I went to face my reality demons. For two days, I breathed down my terror, which sat like a sickness in my stomach, and let the excitement carry me. Even when, at the end of the first day, I totally messed up, and the motorcycle flew from under me, I found the excitement enough to put me back on the bike.
I knew then that, without a goal, the motorcycle would sit in my garage, taunting me that my reality demons were stronger than my courage. I determined to not give myself a choice. If it was sunny out, I was riding to work.
Every morning the sun lit my morning and I swallowed down that now very familiar terror. Maybe four or five weeks into it, I realized I was grinning on my way into work. Getting on the bike still terrified me, placed a deep ache in my stomach that threatened to keep me from following through, but actually being on the motorcycle brought me back to that kid, enjoying the wind and the sun.
With the New Year, just like most everyone else, I’ve looked at the coming year and contemplated what 2017 should bring. Especially with writing, this is always my point of re-motivation, where I find the drive to keep pressing forward.
In shock and sorrow, I’m seeing a trend in my writing just like in the “I wish” of riding a motorcycle. The thrill and joy are becoming clouded by the noise of reality.
Several years ago I jumped in with both feet and started my blog in conjunction with posting on other social media sites. The thrill of it left me grinning.
Now, the thought of working on a post feels very much like breathing in the exhaust of other cars. My goal to expand my platform led to more and more stuff and less focus to the point that the blog takes precedence over my other writing despite the fact that novels are my passion.
This isn’t to say I’m quitting the blog altogether. However, just as with the motorcycle, I found actually doing the activity I enjoyed most returned my enthusiasm. I had to cut down on the noise, take the fall, and press forward.
This is an extremely difficult decision for me but this year I’m looking at self-publishing the first adventure story and I need focus. I’ll continue to post updates and perhaps short stories as they arise; maybe I’ll rerun some of the adventures. I’m thrilled to share how the self-publishing thing goes and I plan on still checking in on other blogs, but for now, please understand if I’m quiet on my end.
The support from everyone here humbles me, and I promise to return in the future. Until then, I wish you the best of luck with 2017.