Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Passion Play

One of my clients is a BMX bike manufacturer. I always get a kick out of working on-site with them, because it's one of those companies where everyone in it is somehow submerged in an insulate, arcane subculture with a passionate interest. I work with these people on boring-but-necessary business questions -- how to keep their database clean, how to collect their AR on time, etc. -- and they are pretty much like anyone else I work with. But then I get to see them engage their real passion, which is bikes.

Today some prototypes for 2007 bike designs came in -- everyone was standing around, hefting frames and forks and axles, and critiquing them with informed jargon that was equal parts of engineering, sports, and asthetics. "Why is it so heavy? They didn't have to go four millimeters thick with this . . . " "Man, I wish you had ever picked up a regular frame, just so you could be blown away by how light this thing is." "Are you still worried about the turning momentum?" "Man, what an ugly rim. Look how they stripped that spoke." "The BMX kids will never go for that color."

It's evident that you don't wind up working at a bike company, even if all you do is load the trucks, without being a bike guy. I find myself a little envious, to see people whose professional lives are so close to their passions. And (somewhat counter-intuitively, for me) it seems to be even more alluring that their passion is about something that is, strictly speaking, just about having fun. They are not forging world peace or curing cancer . . . they just love to ride, and they stay close to what they love. There is something pure about that . . . even the greatest Good in the world doesn't seem Good enough, without Love.


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