The Blackfoot Indians in the prairies passed on their history and collective memory through storytelling and in pictographs. Painted images on tanned buffalo leather hide are called story robes. Occasionally they painted stories on tipi covers, blankets and rocks too.
Blogging is our 21st century painting and wearing our story robe.
When I began blogging, it was about living in an Olympic city, 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver BC. My blog wove in observations and snapshots from my bike saddle.
However, my blog scope had to expand more than just the Olympics and later, more than just cycling. I mentioned awhile ago in a guest blog post, I certainly wanted to avoid spinning a dull daily cycling training blog. Would other wannabe cyclists be
inspired by insights, on my sweat, nutritional intake, timing and hill ascents? I doubt such boring repetitive verbiage would lasso back any reader, months from now. I did the hill or I didn’t do that hill. Move on.
My Cycling or Work Performance– To Fade into Oblivion
Certainly, cycling techie details or my sports physiology, are the last things my family and friends will want to read about me. Nor do they care about my thoughts related to
my career and profession. I am formally trained and career-wise, a librarian and information professional. A lot of us library folks initially blogged to show for work-related reasons, we could master this relatively simple skill. A lot of my colleagues latched onto it earlier than I did.
However, I don’t see much more unique fodder I could add to blogosphere on library information science amongst thousands of other librarians. If I blogged anything work-related, it would be human stories on intriguing people and events that I’ve had the privilege to encounter during my career.*
My Blog Topic Tasters
Cycle Write Blog to me, captures the synergy of cycling and writing where one feeds the other. Cycling is just a wonderful, convenient narrative thread for me to knit together my stories for my robe, on only a small part of my life journey. As you can see, those stories aren’t exclusively about cycling at all –art, food, culture, history and travel.
These are personal favourite hobbyhorses below and reasons for why I trot out some stories and observations:
Art - a lifelong interest since I was a kid. I packed in art courses galore in school. However, I never took any art courses at university. Didn’t think it would earn me a living no matter how talented I was. Then when I started working full-time, I ended up being an evening art course dilettante and art dabbler. I have massive stock of art supplies I’m still trying to wade through. My art play occasionally pops up on Cycle Write. Even my family members see some of my art for the first time –on this blog. I live several thousand km. apart from them. I also enjoy art galleries and all art forms.
Food - an all favourite subject world uniter. We all need food. Therefore, we all have opinions. It’s not a starring topic for my blog. I just latch onto what I think, are lesser known food dishes or showcase an ingredient not familiar in mainstream North America. No, I don’t offer heirloom recipes because I’m lazy. That means I have to test ingredient proportions properly. Ok, I might. If you ask nicely.
History - usually I zoom into the people side of things. It’s not really about the artifacts, dates or event. I’m a believer that people, a community and a nation, can improve their future if they know and understand their own history. I’ve had a personal interest in historical experiences of the Chinese in Canada and the U.S. I’ve amassed a little
collection of books, both non-fiction and novels in this area. You cannot plan your future a lot better if you don’t know where you are now and how you got there in the first place.
Culture - See history. It’s all fused along with food, art too.
Cycling - Yes, I’ve done a lot of cycling. But I’m not a racer nor randonneur. Some years I did rack up 7,000 km. annually. Recently it’s under 2,500 km. so far this year. I’m way past beating up myself. I’m just happy to bike daily. That’s good enough for me. I just bike for transportation, fitness, health and fun. Yes, there’s all sorts of cycling culture. No, I don’t have a fixie bike. I’ve never had a bike with dropped down handlebars and don’t plan to get one. No, I don’t plan on cycling in high heels. That doesn’t sound safe to me.
Travel - It’s all fused with all of the above topics. Sometimes you’re not sure if I’m actually living or visiting a city. Great, ’cause you can be a tourist in your own home city too. Suffice to say, that I write as a Canadian who’s lived in Canada all her life.
So I wear these prime subjects on my story robe. The story ink is already embedded into my garb. Unlike war stories that might be found on certain story robes, my blog robe doesn’t have much ranting. It just takes a lot of energy for me to rant …to a bunch of strangers. I’d rather rant and get useful feedback from friends and family who know me well.
After all, a blog is just like a story blanket with limited space. There’s only a slice of time for me to blog for you.
Chong, J. Blogging and Cycling: It’s Like a Drug. Guest blog post in One Cool Site on Blogging Tips, Nov. 21, 2011.
* Observations at different jobs: A well known Canadian, construction site culture.
Witnessed celebratory entrance of this Canadian wheelchair athlete at the end of his worldwide tour to raise awareness for spinal cord injury. He visited our organization, a rehabilation hospital for adults with spinal cord injuries.
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Finally Getting the Right to Vote. Includes a very short videoclip on the Chinese Canadians soldiers and nurses who served overseas during WW II for Canada which galvanized effort to change federal law. Previously even a person of Chinese ancestry, born in Canada, could not vote.