Nephew Peter Gorman spent New Year’s night on Waterhole Branch. He was a quarter of the way into a year-long ten-thousand mile bicycle tour around the country, literally, around the country, as you can see here:http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/blog/2014/09/22/biking-trip-peter-gorman-10000-miles/
He was inspired to embark on the trip, he told Boston Magazine, after reading A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. So he quit his job, sold whatever he could, sublet his apartment, bought a bike, and set out southbound the end of September.
I was reminded that Updike always said his “target” audience, the reader he wrote for, was just one single young midwesterner. I’ve always kind of liked that. It seems to say that if one reader, just that one reader, got out of a book what you put in it as the writer creating it, that was a measure of success, maybe the only measure of success you really need, everyone else be damned.
We gave Peter whatever he would accept the next day when he resumed — a spare pair of gloves, to swap out when others got wet; a red bandana with which to apply chain oil, oranges, a bag of raisins and Cliff Bars, anything, and for reasons beyond contributing to the cause: I desperately wished I could go with him, or follow in his footsteps, which I can’t, because the legs don’t want to cooperate these days. Instead, I gave him whatever old bike paraphernalia I had hanging around in a transparently vicarious gesture to be some part of his adventure. And I told Suzanne to keep my credit cards away from me lest I go trolling for a recumbent tour bike.
In the meantime, I’ll just read from a couple good new books, a Sam Larkin novel from Carl T. Smith called Carolina Fire, and Bryan Stevenson’s expose Just Mercy, spin some miles on the stationary bike, and hopefully write something worth keeping. See you on the other side.