Tuesday, June 5, 2012
a scratch in the paint.
after getting my bike across the border, getting it built in a day, and riding it tentatively for a few miles, i began the process of owning it. i would say it is the process of owning because it is not a simplified, finite act. first it had to be conceptualized and then realized, step by excruciating step, and then it had to be held and ridden and experienced. this is a process.
my bike is painted in liquid pearl-finish black. when i spent my nights in darkrooms printing pictures of fleeting beauty, i printed on pearl-finish paper. i printed for tones from black black to white white, leaning more towards grit, grain, and contrast than an easy grey curve. my bike is gritty, and black, but pretty, and hard. except for the paint. the paint is not hard, or at least, not hard enough.
i had read about chipping liquid paint. i had heard that liquid isn't as durable as powder coat, but that it has a deeper tone, a more satisfying lustre. i didn't really care about either at the time; it was the only, and fastest, paint option available to me. i took it. the bike arrived. i built it.
i chipped the paint.
marking one's things with the evidence and damage of use is perhaps the final step in ownership. scratching the clear coat on my carbon fiber crank; grinding the teeth of the big ring on an unsuccessful attempt over the gate at the spit; tearing the bar tape in an overcooked corner; these are the marks that make the thing mine. i have at once ruined, and released the chains of perfection from the thing. it is tarnished, flawed, real, and, now, perfect.
after sending a tweet to @truebs notifying him of my appreciation for his writing, i got a little too excited and tweeted the link to this blog. i was absolutely elated to see a subsequent tweet of an excerpt from the blog, my blog, and the response that i have some decent writing going on here. in all honesty, i was like a kid with a shiny new bike: i had the thing, it was sitting there are perfect and liquid, and i didn't dare touch it for fear of making it real.
this is the scratch in the paint.
in all honesty, it would be a dream come true to have a writer i respect give my words a similar respect. it would be beyond my hopes to make a break in the world of writing, to get somewhere because of the way i string together vowels and consonants and imagery without device. but in getting so wrapped up, i forgot that i need to do that thing, i need to write, i need to keep looking for something gritty and grainy, and i need to print it for black blacks and white whites. the writing must go on. i may not sit idly by and be satisfied with a shoutout, a tweet.
now, we ride.