I know: I haven’t written for awhile. I’m sorry. Partly, it’s because I’m a bad blogger, a lazy turd, a terrible person. But mostly, it’s because I’m the world’s least realistic planner.
Before setting off on my Book Tour by Bike, I had grand plans to post here weekly. Or at least bi-weekly. Or, at the very least, once. But it’s been a busy month. A really, really, really busy month. And though I perhaps could (okay: should) have foreseen that I wouldn’t be ultra-productive this month—a month in which I would be giving nine readings in three states, blogging for the Huffington Post, catching up with dear friends, sleeping in pine groves and backyards and strangers’ homes, and, oh yes, riding a two-ton bike-tank for 900+ miles—well, let me just repeat that I’ve never super strong on that whole foresight thing.
Anyway. This July has been tremendously fun. I don’t quite know where to start talking about all that’s happened, and I definitely don’t know where/when I’d end. So for now, I’ll just say that I’ve met some incredible people; I’ve fallen in love with at least three cities; I’ve read to some engaged, generous, flatteringly-large crowds; and I’ve acquired what has to be my worst-ever biker’s tan. Some of the above I’ve detailed in my Huff Post dispatches (more on that shortly), and I’ll do my best to recount the rest once I’ve returned to Portland and taken several naps and done some serious wall-staring—but today, I’m just going to talk about the big things I really should’ve mentioned like three weeks ago.
First off, I’m writing a blog for the Huffington Post—and I’m loving it. Since said blog is read (or at least designed to be read) by total strangers, I’ve had to make an effort to write posts that will appeal to people other than Mom. And so I’ve been doing a lot of in-the-moment reflecting, trying to find some sort of narrative arc embedded within the moments I’m still very much living (and, on that note, I’ve been thinking a bunch about Kristen Forbes, who is a genius at this kind of thing). Some posts have been more successful and coherent than others. All have been rewarding to compose. At present, the blog is about a week behind the tour itself, so I’ll be posting well into August. If you haven’t yet checked it out, please do! And if you’re already reading along, I hope you’ll enjoy (or at least tolerate) the rest of the series.
Over the past month, I’ve also gotten to do some more super-fun radio interviews. My favorites are (a) this conversation with Natalie Jablonski on WXPR (public radio in my hometown of Bumblefuck, Wisconsin) and (b) my appearance on The Book Report, during which Elaine Charles, in the sweetest, smiliest voice ever, asks me if I’m maybe kind of a jerk sometimes.
Having dominated the American radio market, I decided to move on to television. Just before my reading in Land O’ Lakes, I got to do a TV interview my hometown NBC affiliate. The reporter, a super pleasant guy named Ben, drove up to my parents’ place, took a bike ride with me, and put together this little feature, which ends with a panning shot of me on the bike, looking like I’m about to burst into tears (I wasn’t sure what to do with my face, so I guess I opted for willful sadness).
Finally, I’ve gotten the chance to write for/be interviewed by a whole bunch of print publications, many of them here in Wisconsin. I particularly enjoyed this Wisconsin State Journal interview with Jeanne Kolker, and this Just Read It column, in which I got to blather on about my favorite travel writers/writings.
Oh, and for-real finally, over the course of the tour I’ve taken a metric shit-ton of photos, many of which I’ve posted on Instagram. If you like bicycles, roads, pizza, dogs, beer, lakes, oxygen, cheese, chlorophyll, clouds, books, bookstores, people, stuff and/or things, you should probably check out my feed.
And, well, that’s about enough for today, don’t you think? “Yes,” you say. “Thank you for letting me off the hook,” I say back. And then I say, without the distracting quotation marks: it’ll probably be another week or two before my next post. I’m definitely planning to write about the experience of writing about a bike tour in support of a book about a bike tour (maybe—just writing that sentence made my head hurt), and I’ve got a lot of thoughts to share about the publishing process as a whole, and I’m looking forward to paying several dozen people the big, schmoopy, as-public-as-possible thank-yous they so deeply deserve.
Until then, you can follow me at the Huff Post, check out that Instagram feed, or just email my mom, who is so attuned to my whereabouts that I’m starting to suspect she may be working with the NSA.