The Logging Road Cyclist would again like to thank the scores of correspondents who take the time to share with him how much they enjoy the website. TLRC (by most accounts the most humble of men) blushes at some of the rather high-flown rhetoric used by these admirers. Generally speaking, TLRC is content to read these emails, emit an inward sigh of satisfaction, and get on with his day. But there lately has been a disturbing number of fans who speak of taking life-changing steps because they have been inspired by TLRC.
For example, one “Jared”, who, from the sound of it is one gnarly dude on a bike, but no man of letters, who wrote to tell TLRC that he is extending his degree in Hotel Management here at OSU for another year so he can minor in Creative Writing. The additional student loans for this will push him over $50K in debt.
Then there is “Brandi” who has never been much of a cyclist, but who just bought a Surly Cross Check, is quitting her MFA and moving back to Minneapolis to live with her parents and start a newsletter devoted to the Upper Midwest gravel grinding scene. According to “Brandi”, she could never find her Muse here at OSU, and, via TLRC, thinks she knows where it is.
On the one hand, TLRC takes no responsibility for any of this. Folks will read into internet content what they will, after all, and make their own life choices accordingly. On the other, TLRC is a notorious soft touch, and cannot help but be concerned that he has wrought havoc in these impressionable young lives. Thus he is taking a step that once he vowed never to take, namely to reveal the source of his (TLRC’s) literary inspiration, with the hope that he can save these young people the life tragedies that he feels sure they are busy creating for themselves.
When TLRC moved into the TLRC Forest Estate, he, fastidious fellow, made a point of changing all the cupboard linings. The thought of his tuna and garbanzo beans sitting on someone else’s liner made him, quite frankly, slightly ill. Far in the back of the peninsula cupboard, on the very bottom shelf beneath the faintly sticky fake cedar liner was the fragment of a letter, just the first page. Written to an unknown “Ernst”, the letter is a response to an earlier letter from “Ernst” to this unknown correspondent.
At a first reading, TLRC chuckled a bit. The letter fragment was pretty funny, in it’s odd way. He put it aside that day. The next morning he awoke with the letter in his mind, and re-read it number of times. Over the next few weeks he found himself increasingly drawn to the page, reading it several times an hour. It seemed somehow to contain the pure literary essence and became the fixture in TLRC’s thoughts. Never a literary man, TLRC started to feel compelled to write stuff down, anything that would release the pressure, diminish the ever-growing obsession (for obsession it had become) with The Letter. TLRC became concerned with his situation, and feared that he had encountered the Zahir, his own twenty-centavo piece or astrolabe. Slowly, TLRC was becoming The Letter, unable to distinguish himself from it, or from what it represented.
Thus began TLRC. Before, he had been a regular man, with the usual accoutrements, like a name. Suddenly, as an act of salvation, he had acquired camera, tracker, website, and become TLRC, compelled, if not compelling writer. Unable to remain separate from The Letter, as an act of desperation, he became somehow parallel to The Letter so that he might retain at least some of his former (ie. Pre-Letter) Self.
Thus, here is published The Letter, to be read at one’s own risk. Perhaps it will draw those embarking on irrevocable change into a more reasonable orbit; perhaps others will spiral within The Letter’s Schwarzchild Radius. Read on at your own risk.
Unfortunately, this is all there is. TLRC has done all but tear out drywall to find the next page. What could possibly be on it? More importantly, what is the cartoon? We’ll never know. But that is the point, really, isn’t it? We just need this fragment to point the way, and then all make our own “next page”.