The book I’m working on is about creativity. And motorcycle riding. Two things I indulge in, love, and find closely related.
After more than half a year without riding, I threw my leg over Suzie Lightning, my motorcycle, and powered her up. I was a little concerned–a lot can be forgotten in eight months, and the feel of familiarity is surely one of them.
The previous chapters of the book linked creativity to riding the bike. There are the general concepts, and a few specifics, even a Zen koan to seal the creative practice. This time it was different. Would I remember the intricate balance of clutch (left hand), shift (left foot), front brake (right hand), throttle (also right hand) back brake ( right foot)? What if I forgot? What if that intricate meshing didn’t happen and I rotated myself over the handlebars?
None of that happened. Previous posts had linked creativity to bike riding. This was bike riding linked to creativity. You don’t forget. It comes back. I rolled the bike backwards down the driveway, straightened it out, pushed my left foot down till I heard the “thunk” that let me know I was in first gear, and headed out.
Yes, there was traffic. But even in traffic, even on a hot day, it was worth the drive to the parkway where it curves along the Potomac, where the trees are impossibly green, where the air is wet and smells of mimosa, wet cement, construction, and the river. There is a sense of freedom and openness. There is a sense of concentration and being in the moment. And there is a sense of joy and fearlessness that is the same when creativity washes over you and when you take the corner, leaning and accelerating so the bike and the rider are the same thing.
—Quinn McDonald rides a motorcycle in Washington DC, and on the Sonoran desert floor in the Southwest. She is a certified creativity coach. See her work at QuinnCreative.com (c) 2008 All rights reserved.