Cyclist

Portland is my favorite city in the Northwest.  I love the food, and the style, and the rain, and the consciousness.  I love the Max, and the markets, and the devotion to kickass caps, and androgynous girls. 

Over this long weekend, I envied the bike lanes, and bike racks, and the flat, wide streets, and the vegetarian food, and the bridges.  I kept thinking those final lines in Rilke’s poem:  “…For here there is no place that does not see you.  You must change your life.”

It’s a small thing, really, isn’t it?  The determination to cycle more often.  To tool around on my bike the way that I used to.  Grocery shopping, errands, commutes to the office.  To ride a bike the way a kid does.  To remember the pleasure of sunlight through the leaves, and water on the street, and the pump of my legs.

4 thoughts on “Cyclist”

  1. Well you really could have written this about me. How strange.

    Copenhagen is perhaps the most bike-friendly city in the world — you are no one here without a bike. It is simply the way we get around.

    I began my search for the perfect bike with all of the relish of ten year old. I remember how, then, a bike was the most important thing you could own.

    I found a brown VIVA classic city bike and it has become an extension of myself — as cars in the States so often are. But now it is just me and the ground. Me and hundreds of bikers in rush-hour traffic… moving slowly enough to feel the weight of our packages, the burden of the weather.

    It’s a wild kind of freedom. Just like being ten years old again, where nothing but my own beating heart got me home.

  2. This is my first experience anywhere in Europe, so I don’t have a lot to compare it to. But Copenhagen is beautiful. Wonderful Reformation churches. Vast, green parks. More bikes than cars, it seems. Lots of water.

    So far, the city has been wonderfully accessible; it’s the people who present a challenge. They are extremely polite, but somehow cold. Inscrutable. And, unfortunately, rather xenophobic. I’m in constant anxiety about the status of my residency permit.

    So, it’s a strange place. So safe, they leave their babies — in strollers — outside restaurants. But I keep hearing horror stories about the health care system, and the winter, which is fast approaching.

    We’ve lost three hours of sunlight in two months. Perhaps the Danish reticence comes from so many seasons of darkness.

  3. I look forward to hearing more stories. This is a great adventure. I haven’t lived in Europe since I was a child. My memories of that time are patchy and peculiar.

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Jill Malone

Jill Malone grew up in a military family, went to German kindergarten, and lived across from a bakery that made gummi bears the size of mice. She has lived on the East Coast and in Hawaii, and for the last seventeen years in Spokane with her son, two dogs, a hedgehog, and a lot of outdoor gear. She looks for any excuse to play guitar. Jill is married to a performance artist and addiction counselor who makes the best risotto on the planet.

Giraffe People is her third novel. Her first novel, Red Audrey and the Roping, was a Lambda finalist and won the third annual Bywater Prize for Fiction. A Field Guide to Deception, her second novel, was a finalist for the Ferro-Grumley, and won the Lambda Literary Award and the Great Northwest Book Festival.

Giraffe People

Giraffe People

Between God and the army, fifteen-year-old Cole Peters has more than enough to rebel against. But this Chaplain’s daughter isn’t resorting to drugs or craziness. Truth to tell, she’s content with her soccer team and her band and her white bread boyfriend.

And then, of course, there’s Meghan.

Meghan is eighteen years old and preparing for entry into West Point. For this she has sponsors: Cole’s parents. They’re delighted their daughter is finally looking up to someone. Someone who can tutor her and be a friend.

But one night that relationship changes and Cole’s world flips.

Giraffe People is a potent reminder of the rites of passage and passion that we all endure on our road to growing up and growing strong. Award-winning author Jill Malone tells a story of coming out and coming of age, giving us a take that is both subtle and fresh.

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A Field Guide to Deception

A Field Guide to Deception

In Jill Malone’s second novel, A Field Guide to Deception, nothing is as simple as it appears: community, notions of motherhood, the nature of goodness, nor even compelling love. Revelations are punctured and then revisited with deeper insight, alliances shift, and heroes turn anti-hero—and vice versa.

With her aunt’s death Claire Bernard loses her best companion, her livelihood, and her son’s co-parent. Malone’s smart, intriguing writing beguiles the reader into this taut, compelling story of a makeshift family and the reawakening of a past they’d hoped to outrun. Claire’s journey is the unifying tension in this book of layered and shifting alliances.

A Field Guide to Deception is a serious novel filled with snappy dialogue, quick-moving and funny incidents, compelling characterizations, mysterious plot twists, and an unexpected climax. It is a rich, complex tale for literary readers.

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Red Audrey and the Roping

Red Audrey and the Roping

Occasionally a debut novel comes along that rocks its readers back on their heels. Red Audrey and the Roping is one of that rare and remarkable breed. With storytelling as accomplished as successful literary novelists like Margaret Atwood and Sarah Waters, Jill Malone takes us on a journey through the heart of Latin professor Jane Elliot.

Set against the dramatic landscapes and seascapes of Hawaii, this is the deeply moving story of a young woman traumatized by her mother’s death. Scarred by guilt, she struggles to find the nerve to let love into her life again. Afraid to love herself or anyone else, Jane falls in love with risk, pitting herself against the world with dogged, destructive courage. But finally she reaches a point where there is only one danger left worth facing. The sole remaining question for Jane is whether she is willing to accept her history, embrace her damage, and take a chance on love.

As well as a gripping and emotional story, Red Audrey and the Roping is a remarkable literary achievement. The breathtaking prose evokes setting, characters, and relationships with equal grace. The dialogue sparks and sparkles. Splintered fragments of narrative come together to form a seamless suspenseful story that flows effortlessly to its dramatic conclusion.

Winner of the Bywater Prize for Fiction, Red Audrey and the Roping is one of the most memorable first novels you will ever read.

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