Examining My Own “Roadcraft”

So, this blog post was due, in the informal schedule, yesterday. I try my very best to make a Tuesday-Thursday-Weekend posting schedule for the week. Sometimes it doesn’t happen because I’m on the road or sometimes because I get horrible writer’s block (like yesterday). I have a little army of writing prompts that I tend to use as topics to mull on, but I do not have an army of blog posts waiting to be unleashed on the world. I do not prefer to write ahead of time, as it removes the wonderful feeling of organic writing that I get from sitting at a keyboard and writing my topic from the top of my head. This is a style that I am very used to. I utilized this same style of writing through a Bachelors degree and two Masters degrees. Apparently it worked well enough for me to pass my classes. 🙂

So, yesterday, I spent a lot of the day reading – trying to find something that worked from beyond my writing prompts (none of which were really sparking anything). Currently, I am reading ‘Anthem: Rush in the 70s” by Martin Popoff, which has turned out to be a very interesting view of Rush from behind, and off, the stage. In a passage at the end of the chapter on the album “Caress of Steel,” Neil Peart makes a point on Life being like a long, never-ending road – a rather poignant comment from someone who has done such extensive touring throughout the world. And I realized that this commentary was so fitting to my life. Let me share with you part of Neil’s comments.

“And then the broader education of being on the roads every day on my bicycle,” continues Neil, touching down again upon the hobby he famously wrote about, followed by similar books about motorcycling. “I was out there among people. The thing that I still preserve today on the motorcycle and riding through their towns, I go down roads every day that nobody goes down unless they live there, all these back little parts of the United States and Canada that I’ve come to know and still hunger to explore every day. I go by people that work, and I keep a perspective on my life with that. And yes, I might have sore hands and the show might be a tremendous physical ordeal, but every day I’m walking past people who are working in the fields, working on the roads, all the things that normal people do. So it keeps my perspective so much more rooted in that.”

Popoff, Martin. “Anthem: Rush in the ’70s”. ECW Press, Toronto, Canada. p. 224

There is no secret that I identify greatly with the late Neil Peart, particularly through his status as the primary writer of lyrics for the band. I have a few of his books as well, and his writings touch me very deeply in the core of who I am. His attention to the details around him, the way he connects on a visceral level to what he observes in the environment inspires me to do similar deep dives of my own into how my Spirituality continues to inform the way I see and connect to the worlds around me. his observation here is part of a greater point, where he is noting that as an opening act (Remember “Caress of Steel” was released September 24, 1975 – Rush had not struck it big as a musical act at this point), the band would play twenty to twenty-five minutes per day. That left approximately twenty-three and a half hours of what Neil described as “nothing to do.” Its this twenty-three and a half hours of being on the road between gig dates that Neil calls “roadcraft.” He utilized that time to broaden his personal education. He read. At the cities that they came to, he went to the art museums. Between the cities, he would have the tour bus drop him off about one-hundred miles from the next city, and he would bike the rest of the way in – on the back roads.

In reading this particular section about “roadcraft”, I realized that there is a lot of empty time in my life that I can make use of. My work with OBOD’s gwers-work inside each grade is an example of some of the “roadcraft” that I do. Same with all the documentaries that I watch, all the books that I read, and even all the music that I listen to. Every time I ride my Peloton bike, I am utilizing an aspect of “roadcraft” in exercising my body in the same way I have been exercising my mind. I am good at database work, and various sundry aspects of Information Technology. Like Rush playing their music on the stage, this is what I do. But I don’t do this twenty-four hours a day. What happens outside of that is essentially the “roadcraft” that I put into my daily life. What I spend my time with matters.

Lately, well over the past four months, I have found myself being drawn into argument after argument within Facebook. About a week back, I started to realize that even jumping into these arguments to display just my singular perspective a single time (I follow a perspective of making my point once, and then repeating it one more time for clarity) was essentially a waste of time. With the safety of physical distance (and in some cases anonymity) playing into others’ perspectives, many people make derisive and divisive commentary to merely cause chaos or to get a “rise” out of other people. That’s not my personal paradigm. I prefer calm, rational discussion over argument and debate. I am not trying to solve the world’s problems or trying to change anyone’s mind. I prefer to provide an alternative point of thought. Whether it gets dismissed out of hand or not, matters not one bit to me. However, just as 2015-2016 was filled with frenetic “debate” and over-heated argument – 2020 is shaping up much the same way. My personal “roadcraft” is going to lead me away from a lot of this. I am not in the habit of telling people how they should vote nor am I about to start. I will; however, encourage people to get registered to vote and make their own minds up on how they should cast their opinion.

In a sense, its about time for me to re-evaluate pieces of my “roadcraft” and insure that I am headed down a Path that I prefer and not being swept along with the current of a mindless mob. What about you? Have you ever taken the time to evaluate where your “roadcraft” is taking you along your Path? I’m not saying that you should or that you need to do this – that’s your choice to make. I’m just offering up the potential idea of looking into that. 🙂

–T /|\

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