The sun peeked through plum-colored clouds, creating a rose-hued bit of sky, as I waited on my bicycle for the light to change at the intersection of Arcadian Avenue and Highway 164 in Waukesha, Wisconsin. An island of concrete formed a refuge from the parade of cars and trucks that passed before me, the queue that formed to my left, and a stream of vehicles turning onto the highway on my right.
As I pondered the morning light during the break from my commute, a story lede popped into my head. I had been struggling with the approach to a story for a magazine that I edit, and suddenly the answer surfaced from my subconscious. My brain locked onto this fleeting thought; I was determined to remember it and write it down as soon as I made it to the office
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this event: This was my second moment of inspiration at this intersection in the past three weeks, both while bicycling to work. While the location was unusual, I do some of my best thinking while riding.
There is something about bicycling that clarifies thought. There is a theory that the act of balancing a bike requires the right and left sides of the brain to work together, creating a sort of harmony. It may also be the Zen aspect of cycling. When you are riding, you’re completely in the moment. Concentrating on the minutia of adjustments cycling requires occupies your conscious, freeing subconscious thought.
The ideas and random thoughts that spark the imagination, and are so important to writing, are not the products of conscious thought. They come from the ether, and a receiver who is astute enough to listen.
Then the work begins, the writing and rewriting until the words sing. But, if you are lucky, there is a bit of magic to get you started.
This comes when you are looking out the window, drinking coffee, listening to music, walking, anything but trying to write. And, yes, bicycling is included in this group. At least it is for me. Every topic that I’ve written about in this blog occurred to me while I was riding my bike.
So, I will ponder the sky, and, if I am lucky, a voice will very clearly provide me with the idea for the next post.