Greetings to all of you following my website/blog. Below is a newsletter that I sent out to family and friends. I thought: Send it out through the website too.
Thank you for your support over the years. I’m going to keep on keepin’ on! You do the same.
In an effort to keep you updated on my writings and what’s going on with this effort to “earn a living” as a writer, I’m going to give a quarterly “newsletter” a try. The idea is that instead of using social media—is there not enough evidence to suggest how we are being “brain hacked” for us to stop using it (?)—I am going to go the “old-fashioned” route and write a letter, though admittedly, it’s not the same as a hand written one personalized to you.
Freelancing is tough, but it’s getting better for me. The challenge is dealing with editors and their agendas, and some have very strong agendas, wanting to shape the story to fit their needs. Overall, my experience is that they like my writing style, but a few have wanted to tell a story to fit what they envision. I push back on that, especially when it begins making the story false. That won’t happen if my name is in print above/below the article.
All in all, I’m having a good time with it.
I’ve had five articles published in magazines over the past 2 months:
- A history of the German-created “radler” beer style and how it is related to biking appeared in a British mountain biking magazine called Cranked. This is my 3rd article with them, and I have 2 more lined up for this year with Cranked.
- My experience with Rhabdomyolysis while biking in northern CA was in a recent issue of Dirt Rag.
- Bike Magazine—the largest distributed mountain biking magazine on the planet (!)—printed my piece on riding the high Mojave Desert out Ridgecrest way.
- Mountain Flyer Magazine, based in CO and focusing on Rocky Mountain adventures, has global articles from time to time. They printed an essay I wrote on a bike advocacy effort going on in Nairobi, Kenya that is supported my Bikes Not Bombs in Massachusetts. I visited Cycloville in Nairobi last summer.
- I have an essay in the current issue of The Surfer’s Journal (TSJ). It focuses on the history of surfing in West Africa, one of 2 places on Earth where surfing originated, as far as we know. The other place is Hawaii. I used narratives from the early 1800s that document surfing in Ghana. TSJ is held in high esteem in the surfing world, as well as all outdoor recreation/adventure media outlets.
What else?! I have a new book that is available in paperback (194 pages) and as an e-book:
Go Here, Go There: Travel and Work
What is in these pages are my words and photos of experiences in: Ghana (2005), Nigeria (2005, 2008, 2009), Senegal (2016), Paraguay (2011), Brazil (2006), Canada (2010), Puerto Rico (2009), Costa Rica (2010, 2011, 2012), Panama (2012), and the Republic of Georgia (2012).
While putting this book together, a few themes seemed to be present: What does it mean to have a passport that allows for free movement around the globe for work and pleasure? And then visiting places of forced migration? Of places where people move as a means to survive?
How can food be used to build bridges? What role does possessing land to live on and grow food have in defining our humanity?
Are we doing enough to save that what is “wild” on our planet?
When we travel, what are our responsibilities?
I do not have exact answers to any of those questions. Perhaps some light is shed on them in this collection of writings. It might even be that shadows have been cast, instead.
It’s now available on Amazon (see photo below): https://www.amazon.com/James-Murren/e/B017KT1U98/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1497828573&sr=8-1
This summer I have writing assignments lined up for biking in Idaho and the southern Sierra Nevada mountains. Already-completed articles will appear in some of the magazines mentioned above, and I will have new ones in the top mountain biking magazine based in New Zealand: Spoke Magazine.
One final bit of news: I’ve submitted poems to literary journals. Some have been rejected right away, but I’m holding on to some hope for 3 journals that have yet to reject my poems. This creative outlet is something I’ve done for years, but never considered submitting them anywhere. Why now? Well, why not?! Also, admittedly, if I can get a few published, it will help with my next step: getting fiction published and maybe even getting a book deal of some kind. That’s the dream!
Hope you are doing well. Wishing you all the best in your work, and do NOT forget to take time to play.
Paz y amor, — Jim