By Bob Ferris
I am old enough to remember Anna Maria Alberghetti and my parents taking me to San Francisco to see her in Carnival when I was pretty young--probably ten or eleven. But she is not on my mind today. I am thinking about my morning ride on a wet road with deep puddles gobbling up the bike lane on Anna Maria Island in Florida after a pre-dawn downpour.
Why? About a third of the way up the island I came to a place where the bike lane was filled with cars and as I passed I saw a bright red bike on the ground and people rushing to help a woman to her feet. Setting aside my concern over the irony of trying to save a downed biker while making it unsafe for others on bikes, I glanced at her quickly and sped to the unoccupied section of the bike lane. She was short and somewhat round with hair that looked dyed and permed. I could not tell if she was a victim of gravity, age, or was struck by a car. By the time I reached Anna Maria's midriff a fire truck and ambulance were exiting the station with their sirens blaring and heading south. I continued north and dove back into my thoughts. Kind of.
|My bike at the hammerhead shark at Bayfront Park on Anna Maria Island, Florida.|
Part of my hesitancy is literary cowardice and the rest might be sheer laziness born of habit. I have written throughout my career and have always had editors waiting on the sidelines to take the mostly formed but unfinished and make me look clever or credible. This last is something that I might not otherwise do on my own. Training wheels but probably needed particularly as I am now working in long-form fiction which is well outside my competence and comfort zone. But still I am there.
On my ride I think about the last two fictional paragraphs I wrote on the topic of the dangers of biking on a slick road. Something that combined biking, aging, writing, and predators. It is where I put my efforts when not rattling on here or writing in my family's genealogy blog. Here below are the two paragraphs in question from The Assumption City Shuffle (working title) which is shaping up to be a complicated melange of friendship, aging, writing, biking, war, and murder most foul. (My career was complicated so why shouldn't my writing be?)
As I pass over the bridge back to Longboat Key and over Beer Can Island where they can no longer drink beer, I realize that I do not really know what I am going to do with this body of work. I could bite the bullet and hire an editor, but I really need a graphic designer and an illustrator too. So I sit, not completely ready to do my business but also not inclined to jump up and call it quits. Perhaps I will be inspired by the woman on the red bike who in spite of her condition braved the wet road and rode. I hope she is fine and maybe I will be too.