Opinion: Finding a Creative Outlet

We’re all struggling in our own way during these strange times. Some people may be binging on Netflix or indulging in some extra alcohol or cannabis to pass the hours. The last time we checked in with Jeremy Kroeker and his partner Elle they were stuck in Uruguay working out a strategy to return to Canada amid ever-changing travel restrictions, but they’ve been busy with healthy creative outlets since their return.

In addition to occasionally contributing to CMG over the years, Kroeker is a public speaker, and the author of two books: Motorcycle Therapy and Through Dust and Darkness. He’s also created a YouTube Channel where he and Elle have been documenting their various adventures.

Now safely back home, they have expanded their focus. The most recent video features an interview with CMG’s own Mark Richardson, where they discuss motorcycles, roadtrips, writing, and the shockingly small dowry Mark gave his father-in-law in order to marry his lovely wife Wendy.

Jeremy and Elle are genuinely nice folks who conduct enjoyable interviews by asking good questions and following the natural flow of the conversation. Mark, a prolific writer and storyteller, is never at a loss for words. Needless to say, you should check out the interview which runs for just over 47 minutes.

Previously overseeing all editorial activities, Mark has scaled back his contributions to a bi-monthly Opinion piece and the odd motorcycle review as he has turned his focus to writing another book – his first novel, which according to him is “Brilliant.” In addition to his previously published works, Zen and Now – On the Trail of Robert Pirsig and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Canada’s Road: A Journey on the Trans-Canada Highway from St. John’s to Victoria, Mark may very well have written more books than he’s read.

A former “Real journalist” and the previous Managing Editor of The Toronto Star, Wheels section, Mark explains how a number of his more memorable recent projects came to fruition, including long form blogs for The Toronto Star and McLean’s magazine, the latter which became the basis of his second book. Fun random fact: Mark shares his birthday with the opening of the Trans-Canada Highway.

Most notable considering its relation to motorcycles, his book Zen and Now is a companion for Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Anyone who has made an attempt at the original can attest that it is a dense and challenging read. Even Mark admits it took him three tries to get all the way through it. Zen and Now is a classic roadtrip story which document’s Mark’s own personal experience while he follows the route originally taken by Robert Pirsig and his son, Chris.

There are people known as Pirsig Pilgrims who follow Pirsig’s journey, but back in 2005 when Mark toset off aboard his loaded-up Suzuki DR600, the Internet and GPS were still in their relative infancy. He had to get by using paper maps and even used traditional mail to reach Pirsig and correspond with his friend John Sutherland who joined him on a portion of the 1968 trip. Mark had to rely heavily on details documented in the original book published in 1974, along with more recent interviews and secondhand accounts from friends and family members. Pirsig passed away in 2017 but lived much of his later life as a recluse who wanted nothing to do with his enthusiastic audience.

Going into depth about their own approach to the writing and editing process, along with the steps necessary to get published, the recent video interview will be of interest to anyone who has aspirations of pursuing any kind of creative endeavor. The main takeaway is that you have a far better chance of finishing if you actually start. Heavy edits and revisions are to be expected, so don’t let that possibility scare or discourage you. An old Chinese proverb says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” So, what are you waiting for?

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