On Sunday I did something I never thought I would do.
I entered a cycling event for charity and rode over forty miles. Now, I know lots of folks can ride forty miles without blinking an eye, but for me it was a big deal. I had not really been on a bicycle in over twenty years, so I was a little nervous about trying to keep up with everyone. But on Sunday morning I showed up at the Rolling Oaks Mall in San Antonio and entered the Fiesta Wildflower Ride.
Like a bad omen my front tire's tube blew out on me while pumping up. I thought for sure that meant I was going to have to sit out the ride. Luckily some friends had an extra tube and another friend could help me change it. Sam, Glenda, and Shauna, thank you!
The first stretch wasn't bad at all. I didn't even bother to stop at the first rest area. I really got in the zone around the tenth mile. It was overcast and cool and nice for riding. The wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country bloomed in oranges, reds, blues, and greens. Cows behind barbed wire watched us speed by. There were hills, too. But they didn't seem too bad. At least not at first. Around mile thirty the hills felt a little more difficult. I didn't stop at the last rest area though I probably should have. The last five miles were difficult. My thighs felt like concrete. But then I pedaled my way across the finish line with a great big smile on my face. Then it was time for water, kiolbassa, and Red Bull. Then, as in the beginning, my back tire's tube blew out while riding back to the truck. I'm just happy that didn't happen on the road!
I know I wasn't the fastest guy out there (heck, I may have been the slowest), but I was happy to be there and thrilled that I finished. I'm happy to say that I'm already looking forward to my next big ride.
April has been a pretty nice month so far. My latest short story, "Come Again Another Day," has been selected for inclusion in the anthology Texas Weather. My story and a bunch of others (and poetry and non-fiction) all about the wacky weather in the Lone Star State.
And as if that wasn't cool enough, I've moved into my new apartment in New Braunfels. It's always a pain in the butt to move, but I really like the new place. I'm right up against a gulch and some hiking trails that lead down into the heart of Landa Park. I'm surrounded by cedar and oak. I'm looking forward to all new adventures in New Braunfels. How long until Wurst Fest?
I got back the other day from AWP, and I have to say I'm still exhausted. I got to meet some fascinating people and have some great conversations, but I'm glad to be back home in Texas. I flew in Wednesday and registered and that was about it. Things really started the next day. I went to a few panels and got to see Claudia Rankine give an amazing speech that night about the need for diversity in MFA programs across the country. It was truly moving. Everyone was talking about it for the rest of the conference.
On Friday I got to see some old friends from Arizona. We went to Musso and Frank's grill in Hollywood and had a great meal and a wonderful time. Rob, Bobby, Daniel--it was wonderful seeing you all again. Let's not wait so long next time.
Saturday was the final day. I went around and bough a bunch of new literary journals and met some folks at the literary journals I subscribe to. I got to have a nice talk with Scott Blackwood and Matthew Thomas. Both of whom were warm and engaging. I also got to meet up with Octavio Quintanilla and Brian Allen Carr from Texas. We didn't get to hang out as much as I wished, but we were all busy people. Later that night the conference closed with Joyce Carol Oates interviewing herself about her writing and her newest book, The Man Without a Shadow. I had never seen Oates in person, but I found her to be lively and energetic and humorous. I got her to sign my book before I left.
I had a great time in Los Angeles. I didn't get to do everything I wanted to, but that's why AWP will be in Washington D.C. next year. I can't wait!
Writer living in the hill country of Texas