Sunday, July 22, 2007

Still Riding That Shiny Red Bike - Harris

I sell my articles and books, but not my paintings or poems.

Those I stuff into boxes. Sometimes I lose them.

The poem I wrote about my red bike might be in a box under the stairs. Or maybe it was lost when I moved. I wrote it about twelve years ago. I haven't seen the text for years.

But I hear it from time to time. The lines still go through my head.

Lines like:
Riding on a shiny red bike too big for her
Hot sticky tar holds her feet to the ground.

And the ending:
She slips her feet of out dime store thongs. (Or, as the 'fashionistas' now insist we say, 'dime store flip-flops.')

The 'bike poem' is supposed to be about who I was when I was nine. But maybe it's about who I am now.

Last week, I convinced myself that I would be cooler running errands on my bike than writing in my office. But, by the time I locked my bike to the rack at the mall, my hair was wet and much curlier than when I left home. And my face? I wouldn't say it was red exactly, just a very deep shade of pink. My over heated look didn't bother me. I was triumphant as I walked past the sedentary, albeit cool looking, layabouts drinking their 'iced whatever's' on the patio. I was on a mission.

A reserved copy of The Canadian Writer's Market was waiting for me inside Chapter's.
Determined not to waste time, I ignored the temptation to treat myself to Starbucks' iced special of the week.

In less than five minutes, I was back outside, unlocking my bike and deciding which errand I
must tackle next. But neither my 'to do list' nor the eye squinting sunlight could stop me from spending another five minutes in the blazing heat looking at my Canadian Writers' Market before I rode out of the mall parking lot.

It wasn't just the marketing opportunities that engrossed me. It was the cover: RED, SHINY AND BIG. Like the first bike I ever chose for myself. When I was nine, I didn't care that I had to stand up to peddle my SHINY, RED, NEW bike. I would be the right size in a year or two. I knew I would grow. And I did.

I grew up to be a writer. And even though it might be more sensible for someone like me, who lives outside Canada's major metopolitan areas, to qive up thinking that her books and articles will ever impact our nation's major news outlets, publishers, or even the public, I keep writing.
I am a writer because I'd rather dream dreams that are too big for me than give them up. And with God's grace, I am learning to slip my feet out of my shoes when I get stuck in the hot tar.

I'm happy to ride on barefoot. I hope you are too.

Jane Harris

1 comment:

N. J. Lindquist said...

I think sometimes we have to find that shiny, red bike feeling again. The joy that the act of writing brings. It can get lost in reality. Thanks for the reminder.

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