I’m not entirely sure when I became aware of the eloquent Lovely Bicycle blog, but I have admired it for some time. To my pleasure, its pseudonymous author (who turns out to be, as she says, a friend of a long-ago friend who I’ve fallen out of touch with; she’s also contributed some well-informed comments to this blog) has just posted a thoughtful and personal review of several of my zines and other writing.
The review also contains an interesting challenge:
Most if not all of the contributing writers seem to be from Portland, OR and the surrounding areas, which gives the zine a local feel, and as an East-coast resident I find myself not always sure that I “belong” in the audience. If this is something the editor wishes to change, she could invite writers from other regions to contribute. Based on the subject matter covered and on the glimpses we see of the writers’ background, there is also a distinct sense of cycling being portrayed as a fringe subculture, which some readers may find difficult to relate to. As someone who feels passionate about cycling and bicycles, but whose style of dress, social life, and political views do not revolve around cycling, I sense that I am different from the zine’s writers and intended audience. If this is not intentional, then perhaps some diversity on that end could be introduced into future issues as well.
I’ve been thinking quite a bit, especially as writing has been mostly out of the question in this past week, about what direction to take my various writing and publishing projects (I’ve been winging it up til now and as a result my time and energy have become rather spread thin). Unlike my online writing, these zines have evolved in a way that’s been very much defined by their readers and contributors; and in turn I hope that the zine format, by virtue of its relative exclusivity rather than despite it, is contributing to a growing — I don’t want to say community, but how about — conversation. I’m hoping that the author and readers of Lovely Bicycle will weigh in, either on the creating or consuming side of this process!
Which is all a roundabout way of saying that we are still taking submissions for volume 6. The theme is the emotional impact and impetus of bicycling. Short essays, anecdotes, and illustrations are sought by myself and this issue’s guest editor, the talented Katelyn Hale. Time is quite short — we must have your work this weekend at the latest. Please contact me if you’d like to discuss your ideas: elly at taking the lane dot com.
Update: If you are looking for the zines in question, they can be purchased here.