Patchwork Quilt

Wilted Quilt
The problem of translating sensation and experience into words. Or any communicative form for that matter. Human have struggled with it since... well, since always it seems like. We've dedicated entire disciplines to it. We approach it with art. We approach it with science. We approach it with philosophy, and all manner of things in between. And still we cannot simply show our inner world to others. 

Know what I mean?

Arguably, the answer is no. Always no, even if we say yes and believe it. We never, ever really know what somebody else means. We are clever and we guess. Or we model it on ourselves, try thoughts, ideas, images and even emotions on for size. But in the process it becomes once again our experience, not the other's.

Maybe now I've confused you and you feel comfortable saying no. "No, I have no idea what you mean."


Look. We all need to make sense of experience. And in doing so, it's tempting and convenient to plug it into a template -a template where the experience is transformed into an archetypical story.  

Like - OMG I was all unsure of myself. Can I do a 200K? I mean it's so hard, I don't know. But wait... I trained and I did it! Yay! 

Although that's a little brief. Let's get the village involved.

So I trained, and my friends were like "We believe in you!" and I was like "Aw you guys!"

Okay, but still a little thin. So hang on, let's add some uncertainty.

Oh no, it's the week before the ride and I overtrained?..

Yes, like that. But perhaps more panic.

Oh no, it's the week before The Ride and I overtrained!

Enter the comments, that post-post-postmodern Greek Chorus.

Chorus 1: You overtrained, oh no!
Chorus 2: You overtrained, I told you so!
Chorus 3: Now you must rest before you go!

Oh gosh, whatever will happen? Will I make it? Be sure to read tomorrow and find out!

I have a bad feeling...

Whenever I say or think that now, Carmela Soprano appears in my head. She wears a tight beige cashmere sweater. Her hair is in a French twist.

I've got a bad feeling (New Jersey accent, thick mascara, eyes full of meaning). Yes this is what I mean. 

Carmela: Tell me, what is this bad feeling?

OMG you read my blog?

Carmela: No, not really. But you know, I was thinking of getting in shape, being more active. Biking to the hair salon.

Oh but that's wonderful! ...Have you tried a Bella Ciao Neorealista? 

We hug and share a delicious pastry. Then she rides away.

That feeling of being in a pre-determined script. My inner experience forced into training-diary vocab and follow-along storylines. It's all wrong.

Know what I mean?

Chorus 1: Yes
Chorus 2: No
Chorus 3: Will you ever review a budget bike?


Chorus 3:  Oops, wrong post. 

Oh ok. 

Cycling. Something is changing. There is wilting and blossoming and quiet and explosions of sound. I try to think of a better way to explain.


  1. Seems like 'simply showing our inner world to others' is not so hard, but what happens next is the fun part :)

  2. Love the chorus!
    The mind as an ancient Greek play.

    but I really don't know what you meant...

  3. Carmela Soprano / Pamela Blalock?

    1. No relation. And Pamela speaks with a Southern accent.

  4. V, you forgot the #3 3/8 Dada chorus: A Fish!

    Now, imagine Werner Heisenberg reviewing a bicycle...

    Eventually most folks learn to work it out for themselves.
    (Glad to know you can still blow your own mind.)

    All of us here at Friedrich Heights are beaming with pride at our friend V's achievement. Even Tweaker.

  5. All I could think of:

    "[T]his cancer of the mind which consists of thinking all too sadly that certain things 'are,' while others, which well might be, 'are not.'"

    --Andre Breton

  6. I wish I could have written that.


  7. Am laughing. This is one of my favorite things you've ever written.

  8. For what it's worth, I love absolutely everything about this post.

  9. You cannot possibly understand what overtraining is until you have done it. Maybe three or four times to gain a better understanding. Those who never have done it just gonna be left out the discussion. Those of us who have partaken are not surprised. Those of us who are old are surprised by less and less

    1. There are a lot of comments that look like I might have written them lately.

      As one becomes older, the uniqeness of individual's emotion becomes less and less important, but don't tell that to the youth! can't show an inner life when it's protean. I can't make sense to anyone else.

  10. "And still we cannot simply show our inner world to others. "

    No, no we can't. For some reason, I feel like sharing this:

    "In large measure becoming an artist consists of learning to accept yourself, which makes your work personal, and in following your own voice, which makes your work distinctive."

    - Dave Bayles & Ted Orland in Art & Fear

  11. Not to over think this, but I like the patchwork of diverse neighborhoods, calm and snoozing, I find very early Saturday and Sunday mornings on my favorite city distance bike. So, yeah, I quilt.

  12. btw this post/blog is about poetry vs. the language of an academician.


  14. Every person is a universe. Every person is a solitude. Your blog causes happiness. That is enough.

  15. How delicious, the living pansies on a carpet of dead magnolia petals!

    V wrote:
    The problem of translating sensation and experience into words. Or any communicative form for that matter. Human have struggled with it since... well, since always it seems like.

    I don't see it much as a problem, but one of the signifying traits of our species. A good part of what makes the whole human struggle thing kind of interesting, and worth the endeavor. YMMV, BDOT (But Don't Overtrain--which, by the way, is, in my experience, difficult to do for all but the most obsessed racer types with plenty of free time on their hands; overtraining being a different beast than simply overdoing it one day and needing a couple of days to recuperate.)

  16. Some say all referents are personal and associative, say say there's a cosmic or genetic universal code that structures understanding. And it doesn't matter. Whether a poem written 3,000 years ago in Crete or China or india or Palestine means exactly to us what it meant to the writer doesn't matter; it means something human to us both.

    Wind. Rain. Love. Sorrow. Pain. Joy. The sea, the sky. Rocks and leaves. Things our hands shape to fit our hands. Things our minds shape to fit our minds.

    Always the same, always incompatible. We still talk.

  17. Velouria, thank you for your reminder, it made me smile :-) So we are all unique and simply should communicate with others.

    All the best from Europe,


  18. I don't know you at all outside this blog and I find this post most endearing. I just finished reviving my sister's old Miyata to help her through a tough period. Some things are fine left unexpressed. Bikes will save us yet.


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