Some thoughts on writing and riding.

I’m a writer who lives in Kelowna, Canada. I have another strange addiction besides writing, and it’s riding my road bike. Riding clears my head. It lets me sort out stories, or see things that have been hiding in my own confusion.

The other day I put on my bike gear, yes I wear the Spandex, with what I call the padding or “Depends,” in the seat and headed down the hill. To start my ride I descend 500 feet towards the valley floor.

The start of the ride is a rush. Wind blows, trees rush by, and I’m doing 40KM (25MPH) down the hill. The beauty of speed on a bike, is you have to control it. If you don’t, you can lose control and crash.

That sounds like my writing to me. I sometimes write so fast, with the words hitting the page, and my ideas bouncing around that what comes out isn’t recognizable. I need to slow down, and find a speed that lets me enjoy what I’m doing, yet gets me to my goal.

My ride takes me through these fantastic orchards and vineyards. The peaches are ripe. They’re falling off the trees now their so heavy. The apples are starting to hit perfection. They are shades of green, yellow and red as they get ready. The wine grapes are getting heavy, and purple, and full. Every day the farmers are amongst the vines testing them, to see when they’ll hit perfection.

But the thing about the wine growers is they’ve been in those vineyards since February. They were pruning, they were making sure their vines would be ready. So much work they’ve put in, just to get these grapes off in September, and ready for the crush in October.

To me, this is so much like writing. The final book or manuscript you see has taken a writer months if not years to prepare. You see the final product. You haven’t seen what never made it to print. Some writing and books never make it at all. Kind of what falls to the ground in the orchards as I ride by.

I’m working on too many things these days. A new thriller book finished, and sitting in the hard drive needing a final review. A memoir is almost finished and needs two final chapters to then sit before final polish, and my second Novel is with a formatting company getting all shined up and ready to be uploaded to Amazon.

I find like most people, to do one thing at a time, and just do it well it best, but then I get bored with doing just that one thing. The ADD in me? Perhaps it is, but sometimes multiple projects works well. Getting fresh insights as you move from one thing to another can be good as well.

My bike rides always end with me climbing back up the hill I came down. The road winds up, and seems unrelenting. I have to gear down on my bike, take it slow, and just find a speed that works and go with it. Not to fast that it will tire me out, and not too slow that I lose balance.

Now that is truly like writing. Have you every found yourself in between a rock and hard place in your writing? You have no idea how you wrote yourself into that space, and not sure how to get yourself out. Here is my advice for what it’s worth. Just take it slow, but move forward. Just one word at a time.

Your muse, your creativity will find your way forward. You just need to let it find it’s way for you. You have to let it help you. I guess like the old cliché “it’s just like riding bike!” You know it as soon as you get on.

I wish everyone a wonderful day, great writing, and a great life.

A Writers strange exploration and research into Ancestry

I’m a bit of research junkie. Yes, sometimes I get so bogged down with researching things, I forget to write. I spent time researching Dolphins and Mayan’s for my book Dolphin Dreams, and then hours of time researching oil futures for my upcoming book Polar Bear Dawn.

Researching is fun. Hours on the web, shifting and sorting with a coffee or tea, and sometimes getting lost in the process.

Some time ago, however, I decided on some personal research. I wanted to know about my Ancestry. My brother had run into some Nicholson’s on the web some time ago, and he found out my family originated in Tennessee. I knew my Grandfather had crossed the border into Canada in 1890 or so, and my Dad was born in Canada in 1910.

I joked with my wife that, “The Nicholson’s had left Tennessee because the Fed’s had found their moonshine stills.” The real reason was they were looking for land. They headed north to Canada, as Canada had land, and was offering it cheaply to new settlers. My Grandfather was one of them.

My Ancestors the Nicholson’s had originally come from Scotland, a small island called the Isle of Skye. I was lucky enough to visit there some years ago. Skye is beautiful. It holds a rugged beauty with mountains, streams and a blanket of purple heather that appears and then disappears into the mist and rain.

Skye had about 10,000 residents, and 80,000 sheep. You’ll step in sheep droppings long before you run into anyone as you walk through the moors, and valleys. It’s just the odds.

Did I feel at home there? Absolutely I did. Every time I introduced myself to a local, I heard the familiar refrain, “Ach aye, you be from the clan of Scorry Breac,” and they’d motion or point out a small hill just off of the harbor of Portree.

I finally ventured onto my Clan lands. Fortunately a wealthy Nicholson purchased the ancient lands, and put them into a trust. I walked the lands with my wife and our friends. I loved it, especially for the view, and the added bonus there were no sheep! Walking any pathway in Scotland with no sheep poop is a tremendous bonus.

After this wonderful experience of Clan Nicholson and my homeland I did some further digging. To my surprise I found out we were actually descendants of Vikings. The Isle of Skye, like many other Scottish Islands were overrun by Norwegians in the 9th Century.

My name Nicholson came from Nicolas and son, as was the Norwegian custom. So, there it was, I was part Norwegian. Now I like Norwegians. I’ve been to Norway twice on business. They have a wonderful country, decent beer, and other than their love of strange fish dishes they’re nice people.

I was about to go much deeper into my ancestry. I thought I might research something about the Norwegians, maybe I had a relative in Bergen? That is when I came upon some research on Ancestry from a Dr.Johanson.and his discussion of someone called “Lucy.”

Lucy it seems is our great (to the max) grandmother, well according to the good Doctor who is a Paleoanthropologist, and spent years scouring the desert of Ethiopia, and found her bones there. In a remarkable speech that you can access on YouTube (enter Lucy and Africa) you will get a complete one hour lecture from the good doctor on his findings.

Lucy, or AL2881, called Australopithecus, died 3.2 million years ago. The remarkable thing is, if you check your DNA, you will be traced back to her. Yes, a little lady with a mix between ape and humanoid is our great grandmother. According to Dr. Johanson, we should all take a trip back to our homeland, back to Africa.

Now wouldn’t that be one hell of a homecoming! I’m sure the Ethiopians would be amazed at my wife and I walking into their village, and telling everyone we’re their long lost relatives!

So, what have I done about my Ancestry search now? I think I’ll give it a rest. Going back 3.2 million years is far enough. But then who knows, perhaps someday, in an exploration probe of the Galaxy, or on the planet Mars, we’ll find a match for Lucy’s DNA.

Perhaps she was dropped off here on someone’s’ journey through the Universe. You never know what will they’ll find next. I’m waiting to see who I’m related to on the planet Zargon!