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Zola and the Art of Motorcycle Noise

“If you asked me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud.” –Emile Zola

I liked that quote long before Steven Curtis Chapman sang about it. Although I’m a quiet person, part of me loves to make noise. Maybe that’s why I enjoy my husband’s motorcycles.

He loves Hondas. One of his bikes is a Gold Wing, a huge bike that purrs like a sewing machine. Its voice is the equivalent of 12-point font, like this: vroom-vroom. Nice and civilized. A little too civilized. As a passenger, I feel like I’m in a recliner, not on a bike. I have dozed off on the passenger pillion, which is scary when you stop to think about it. But he also owns a Honda Valkyrie with custom pipes and a ribs-rattling rumble. The Valk roars in caps. In bold print. In, say, 36-point font, which I would demonstrate here if I knew how, with multiple exclamation marks. VROOM-VROOM!!! There’s no dozing on the Valk.

Now, let me try to connect the dots between the Zola quote, motorcycles, and good fiction.

Bret Lott gave the keynote address at this year’s Christy awards. I had been wondering what he’d actually said, since his speech had ignited a little firestorm in blogdom, or at least in the part of blogdom that concerns itself with Christian fiction. Now I’ve read it for myself. I loved it.

I printed it, all twelve pages, and hung it on my bulletin board to remind me that I don’t want to write comfy stuff that puts people to sleep as they cruise along on the passenger pillion. When I take readers for a ride, I want them to feel the wind in their hair and maybe even take a few bugs in their teeth, but I don’t want to put them to sleep.

Easier said than done, but I’m learning.

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Categorized: fiction
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