TYPE RIDER: Cycling the Great American Poem
When I was a teenager, my dad put a typewriter in the hallway that linked up all of our bedrooms. The hallway was a landing spot at the top of the stairs, a shared space that served as a kind of pause between our gatherings as a family and the solitude of where we each slept. He put the typewriter on a desk against the far left wall, scrolled the paper in, and started the first lines of a short story. And each night, I’d go over to that desk, peer at the paper, see what someone else had written, and add my own words. That story and the stories that followed fed my imagination, drew me more deeply into my own creativity, and created an inextricable bond between those of us who wrote it together. And the experience of collaboration has been an ongoing source of inspiration in the way I share my work and help others tap into their creative voice. On May 5, 2012, the date of my 40th birthday, I embarked on a 40-day cycling project that took me from Amherst, Massachusetts to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, towing a typewriter behind me and offering up daily writing prompts to the strangers I met along the way, and inviting them to sit down and share their thoughts.
It happens to be the birthplace of the typewriter.
Why did I do this on a bicycle?
I loved the idea of slowing down enough to really see where I am, to go at a pace that allowed for a deeper engagement with my environment. It also felt important to match the analog technology of the typewriter with the foot-powered technology of the bicycle.
Because reaching a milestone like this - or any kind of milestone for that matter - offers up an invitation to stretch into new territory and at the same time to engage more deeply in the work that we love, and to celebrate the passage of time with a positive, physical, creative, and invigorating journey.
Check out my "News" page to see print and online coverage about the project.
TYPE RIDER II: The Tandem Poetry Tour
The latest Type Rider project was successfully completed in July 2014. Please visit here to learn more: www.kickstarter.com/projects/MayaStein/type-rider-ii-the-tandem-poetry-tour