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Kevin Kelly is a very interesting man with a very interesting back story. He was a founder of Wired Magazine and cycle toured in the States as a young man. I first came across him when he published a book of haiku drawn from his trip. Later he travelled widely in the far east, picking up some arresting ideas that counter many of our western perspectives.
I tripped over this book via the Apple iBook Store this weekend, quite by chance and without any prior knowledge of the book or the author. The book is a reproduction of line drawings and Haiku (these are 17 syllable Japanese poems it appears) written by the author as he completed a ride across America, West to East between August and October 1979.
I was charmed by the book and delighted by the informality of the drawings and poems. Some made me laugh, some made me think and altogether they left me with the idea that this kind of journalling is a great way to record a trip and extend the riding, ‘in your head’ at the time.
Some favourites jumped out at me, including:
Once again tonight learned stars assemble so you won’t forget
Fences don’t mean much Not to dandelions or mice Or the winds of change
Awaken dawn rises. Night’s quilted cover thrown off, Colors fall to ground.
I really like his maxim too, offered at the start: “Go easy, look hard“. In my experience its too easy to slip into, ‘just being on the bike, passing through’ and not being mindful of where you are and why: so this is good advice.
So, I had this down as a quaint collection of drawings and poems from an age before technology. It was not until I was looking for a source for the book’s purchase that I found that the author is a major cog, a star even, in all things digital. Check out his web site.
A charming book by a then young man who was and is clearly destined for great things.
“Bicycle Haiku: Ride across America” by Kevin Kelly, http://www.kk.org. 2001. Recommended with 3 stars. Available form Apple and from his own site (see above).