There is a risk that all artists take. This is obvious. We take a risk the second we send out a submission email, the moment we hand a story over to a friend, the day the book reaches the bookstores.

The risk is unimaginable. You don’t understand it until you have experienced it. The amount of work that goes into a single story, song, painting is often mind-blowing. The moment after you have released your work and are waiting for the impact or lack thereof to be known is agonizing.

As I have discussed before, writing is not easy.

And neither is cycling. There is a large amount of risk that commuting cyclists take on a daily basis. To expose yourself, in many of the same ways as an artist, to remove any sort of protective casing, and to rely on the sheer cooperation of traffic around you is astonishing.

Yet, accidents happen.

The brain firing millions of electrical currents a second, all in the name of breathing, steering, remembering to turn off the stove, reflecting on the movie from the night before, it is no wonder that we often find ourselves distracted. We forget turn signals or to check our blind spots.

Opening an email to find another editor who is going to have to pass on a story is never easy, no matter how many times it has occurred. Similarly, I was hit by a car early last week. The man who hit me recognized his fault and drove me to the hospital. It was nothing serious. I spent four hours in the ER only to leave with stitches in my chin and elbow.

The hospital room smelled the way that only hospitals can. As I lay on the exam table, the doctor suturing up my chin, I had the type of reflections that often come with visits to the ER. I wondered why I didn’t simply ride the bus. Why didn’t I become a pharmaceutical salesman? Why did I seem to go out of my way to take such risks?

I came to understand that I write and ride because the payoff is worth it. The feeling I have had everyday for the past six years of cycling in Portland well outweighs the single visit to the hospital. And the hundred or so rejection letters are outweighed by the feeling I get when I see something I worked so hard on finally make it to print.

In fact, the risks I take don’t even seem like risks when I consider the outcome of my work. I may be more conscious of my actions and the risks that I am taking, but my behavior won’t be changed. I must still write like there are no risks.

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