Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A to Z Challenge: Z is for Zone (and Zane Grey and "Zen and the Art of Motocycle Maintenance" by Robert M. Pirsig)

Happy Dance. It's April 30th and this is the end of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.  I won't feel this much pressure again until November when I jump into NaNoWriMo again.

First of all, let me say there were a lot of authors, especially Colorado authors, I didn't get to include in this year's challenge. Mountain climber and motivational speaker Jim Davidson's The Ledge deserves special mention. Mystery author Cricket McRae, who also writes as Bailey Cates and K.C. McRae, is a favorite. And there are many more from Northern Colorado Writers and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers that I hope will be guests on this blog over the next year.

Secondly, let me say that the only writer whose last name begins with Z that I could think of was the French author Emile Zola. I may have read something by him back in the days I was studying French, but nothing came to mind. That's why I did a little two-step and used this author whose first name begins with Z:

Featured Author:  Zane Grey

Grey wrote a lot of novels, and lots of them were what I called cowboy stories. I think I read all of them as soon as I was old enough to read the books in my mom's bookcases. Most of the movies made from his books and stories were produced before I was born, but I've watched some on television.

One little fact often repeated about Grey that I love: "Unlike writers who could write every day, Grey would have dry spells and then sudden bursts of energy, in which he could write as much as 100,000 words in a month."  (Quoted from Wikipedia)

I do love those cowboys. I think the most famous of Grey's novels is Riders of the Purple Sage. If you've never read one of Grey's cowboy stories, start with that one.

Featured Book:  Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values by Robert M. Pirsig

This book was published in 1974, but I didn't read it until about 2005 because all that time I really thought it was about motorcycles. There are elements about the book I had in the back of my mind when I wrote the bike breakdown scene in The Desert Hedge Murders, and again when I wrote the beginning of a manuscript that sits on my desk, waiting for revision and self-editing (and a title).


" unforgettable narration of a summer motorcycle trip across America's Northwest, undertaken by a father and his young son. A story of love and fear -- of growth, discovery, and acceptance -- that becomes a profound personal and philosophical odyssey into life's fundamental questions, this uniquely exhilarating modern classic is both touching and transcendent, resonant with the myriad confusions of existence . . . and the small, essential triumphs that propel us forward."

There are 941 customer reviews on That should tell you something.

Word of the Day:  Zone

I'm in the blog and fiction writing zones now, mostly because of this year's A to Z Challenge. Thanks to everyone who visited during the month, and especially those who left comments. I made a few new friends, some from the other side of the world, and I am grateful.

Are you in the writing/blogging zone? Did the challenge help or did it weigh you down?

Be sure to check back tomorrow for my guest blogger, mystery author Jen J. Danna.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Zen and motorcycle maintenance? Never would've put those two together.
You did it! Congratulations on completing the Challenge.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Congratulations, Patricia! These are good books. I understood Pirsig's book only after I read it the second time, a few years ago. It was treated like Bible in the eighties. I love westerns and Zane Grey used to be an old favourite and I've been meaning to revisit some of his novels, especially the ones I haven't read.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I've enjoyed being in the blogging zone but I'm looking forward to getting back into the fiction writing zone. Maybe a brief break in May - to get caught up on lots of stuff! - and then throwing myself back into my WiP for the summer months.

Happy Z Day!

Jan Morrison said...

What a lovely mixture. I've read a few Zane Grey's and I loved Zen and the Art of... read it way back in the day and still remember when he goes into a mechanic's shop that is meticulous and what he takes from that experience - the joy of doing things properly!

Jan Morrison said...

oh! And to answer your question - no, the Eh to Zed (as we Canucks call it) didn't weigh me down a bit. I knew that because I was going to Ottawa for three weeks to take care of my newest grand baby that I wouldn't have time to zip around except to old friends like you, but I like having to get an essay out each day especially on the topic of keeping balanced. If only I read them, it would still have been fine!

Crystal Collier said...

Eek! I actually read one of Zane Grey's books. I don't know that I particularly loved it, but it was the first Western I read because I had a teacher obsessed with rodeos and all things associated. She's also the woman who discouraged me from penning poetry, so we're not going to go there.

Here's to expanding your horizons, making new and wonderful blogging friends, and the end of an epic adventure!

True Heroes from A to Z

Margot Kinberg said...

Pat - I know precisely and exactly what you mean by being in the zone. When you are, there's no stopping you. Right now I'm there, so I'm making a lot of progress on a project I'm working on. When you're there, I say, 'take advantage of it!'

Dean K Miller said...

Zen and motorcycles I have yet to read, but will do so. "The Art of Racing in the Rain" is another great book of similar bent: about car racing but really, not, written from a dog's perspective.

yes we made it to the end! Always a fun stop on my day here at your blog.

Thanks, Pat!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I've enjoyed your posts and added a few books to my TBR pile. I read Zane Grey when I was in high school and I think Ed Harris made an updated movie of Riders of the Purple Sage. I know I watched it.
Congrats on completing the challenge.

Rachna Chhabria said...

I have been planning to read Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance from a long time. Congratulations on completing the Challenge.

Patricia Stoltey said...

This is turning into a crazy day with a lot of unexpected complications, so I'll throw in one big thanks to everyone who's commented so far. I'll visit all your blogs a little later today.

Mary Aalgaard said...

I made it, too. High five! I need to read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Thanks for all your links and work during the challenge. I saved the authors and titles of a few so I could find their books when I'm not reading so many blogs!
Play off the Page

Jemi Fraser said...

Yay! You did it!!! One of my lit profs said Shane was pretty much the best western every written and one of the best books ever. I'm pretty sure that was a Zane Grey novel - still haven't read it but it's on my list!

Rebecca Douglass said...

Jemi--Shane wasn't Zane Grey, but the style and era were similar. I read both Zane Grey and Zen etc. when in high school, and not much since. Zane Grey gets an occasional outing, but I've never gone back to see what was so profound about Zen and.

I'm not sure the A to Z was a good idea for me this month. I've been sort of swamped, and while I've enjoyed getting my posts out every day, I haven't kept up with visiting. And I think the whole thing contributed to my difficulty in getting any traction with my novel writing (after bringing out a book in late March).

Rhonda Blackhurst said...

Hmmm...Zen and motorcycle maintenance. I would never have thought of using the two in the same sentence. Congratulations on making it through the month.

Vikki T said...

Congratulations! WE DID IT :)

Thank you for stopping by at mine during the challenge xx

Jemima Pett said...

I've enjoyed all your posts this year, Patricia - thank you for the work that goes into them. I've always loved the title Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, but never felt stirred to read it! The Zen of Pooh was about my limit :)

Congratulations to all A to Z Survivors.

#Team Damyanti
I blogged from Alpha to Zulu in April :)

Trisha F said...

I'm still trying to understand how you could find the energy to post another post the day after you posted this one! ha.

Congrats on making it through the A to Z challenge - your posts were great and introduced me to a lot of new and great-sounding books! And my TBR continues to expand ... I doubt it'll ever shrink again, at the rate I'm going. hehe.

Grammy Staffy said...

Congrats on finishing A to Z. Good job. Thanks for visiting me. I'm glad to meet you. I need to hope over to kindle and grab one of your books. Can't wait.

LD Masterson said...

Zane Grey. Now that takes me back. My mom loved westerns and I used to borrow hers.

Congratulations on finishing the A-Z.

Eileen Goudge said...

Loved the A-Z challenge posts! Reminded me of when I published my first adult hardcover. I was married then to a man whose last name was Zuckerman. My maiden name starts with a "G" and when I visited bookstores I saw my title would be at eye level, whereas authors whose last name started with "Z" were all the way at the bottom. Which is why I ended up using my maiden name professionally. No one can pronounce "Goudge" but at least I'm at eye level in bookstores!