An article I wrote about mountain biking from up high in the pines to the palms down low in the desert around Palm Springs, CA won gold in the Adventure/Health category of the 2023 Society of American Travel Writers-Western Chapter annual awards. It appeared in Mountain Flyer: The Mountain Bike Journal. Said the judges (slide/photo courtesy of SATW) :
I’ll begin by thanking Mike Cushionbury, the editor of Mountain Flyer at the time. He and I have a professional relationship going on a decade or so now, beginning when Dirt Rag was still going to print. We’ve never met, have talked only twice on the phone, but through the years and through the pages, we share an understanding of what mountain biking has been about and what its future holds, with all its unknowns and question marks. His attention to detail while allowing me to exercise my creativity when writing is much appreciated and very refreshing. He has a scalpel-like precision to editing, but not by using a red pen. If you’re a writer, you know what I’m talking about. Thank you, Mike, for supporting my work and I look forward to whatever the future may hold in collaborating on more story telling.
Thank you to Height of Land Publications in Vermont. HOL is a small independent publisher that continues to forge ahead with writing and photography that is not corporate. That is nearly unheard of these days. If you’re not familiar, go to their website and check out what they publish. Buy a few subscriptions for you and your family/friends. You won’t be disappointed. Heck — what else you gonna spend your money on? Daily frappa-mocha-or-flush-cleanse-drinks? Energize/cleanse your brain, too. https://holpublications.com/
Thank you to SATW and the judges for recognizing my work. Long ago I had a dream-of-sort of living a life as a writer. I do that part-time and to think that I do it without ever having taken a journalism class/having had a writing workshop of any kind is testament to the possibility that “untrained” writers do exist out there, maybe hiding in plain sight. It is humbling to me, though, when university professors at elite journalism schools and arguably the world’s leading professional travel writers’ organization basically say, this is damn good writing. If I can offer any advice to people still chasing the writer’s dream, it is this: read more than you write. Read everything — novels, non-fiction, newspapers, magazines, indie zines, poetry, etc. The more you read, the better you will write.
Thank you to all of the teachers along the way who taught me grammar, how to write, etc. From grade school to high school to university, every step along the education road led me to here and I could not have arrived without the teachers in my life.
And thank you to all of you, readers who have supported my work over what has been 25 years of writing. Wishing you all positivity, along with mind-bending and safe wanderings on this big beautiful planet we all call home!