Gregory Ormson writes, rides his Harley-Davidson, plays guitar, and teaches yoga for bikers at Superstition Harley Davidson. He lives in Arizona. In July, he was awarded the Eastern Iowa Review / Port Yonder Press Issue 3 long form lyric essay award for 2017.
What others say about Ormson’s nonfiction writing:
“These essays show us the soul of a father, a woodsman, and companionable philosopher shaped by beauty and grace . . . it is wise, lyrical, reverential, and above all wild.”
–Jonathon Johnson Ph.D., professor at the Inland Northwest Center for Writers, the MFA program at Eastern Washington University. Author of Mastodon, 80% Complete, Hannah and the Mountain: Notes toward a Wilderness Fatherhood, and others.
As a fellow midwesterner who has, like the author, lived in many places outside the region, Gregory Ormson’s essay, Midwest Intimations, rang true. From the typical Midwestern reticence to our love/hate relationship with winter, I found myself, as I read, loving even more, the place I chose to return to, the place I’ll always call home, no matter where I live. As Ormson said so eloquently, “I hang my hat on these anchors: a deer in the woods, the dragonfly hatch in May, and the startling retort of hardwoods in frigid February.” Ormson reminds readers what it’s like to be a Midwesterner and how region helps shape us into who we are and who we will become. (Kelly Garriott Waite, contributor to Eastern Iowa Review, Issue 3, summer 2017, Honoring the Lyric Essay.
“He’s working his best vital swirls when he’s taking risks or defining spirit quests: we follow his voice as naturally as ‘lizard, spider, dragonfly and sun.”
–Russell Thorburn M.F.A. Wayne State University, author of Approximate Desire, Father Tell me I Have Not Aged, and more.
“Like the tangled roots of trees, his words reveal visible and invisible sensory connections: the accommodating heartbeats of a drum circle, the thirsty tap of weasel claws which reverberate up to the moon, the archetypical pleasure of a warm fire on a cold night.”
–Kathleen Heidmann, M.A. Northern Michigan University, President, Save the Wild U.P.
“The common earthly elements of seasons and land and water present almost secular liturgies and litanies of heartbreak and loss . . . and tamed hope amidst a jaded world . . . they reveal a ‘dimension of depth’ and ‘ecstatic reason.’
–Bob Ahern, Ph.D., Professor of Clinical Psychology and Social Work The Ohio State University.
Every day, evaluate your riding. It’s a habit I picked up from my days as a MSF rider/coach in Hawaii. I’d tell students one way to improve is to ask themselves how they did on the road when they were home and the bike was parked. And then I started doing that in a deliberate way.
When I looked honestly at my riding, I noticed that I made mistakes. Mostly, they were mistakes of assumption or judgment. I’d assume too often that the person in the right-turn lane really was going to make a right turn. Sometimes auto drivers change their minds at the last minute (can you believe it) and veer into another lane. If you are in that lane, riding alongside them, you might be hit. I’ve assumed too many times and there is my point.
It’s not hard to evaluate our riding, and if you need an idea, imagine you have a 16 year old son or daughter taking up riding and one day they ask you for riding tips.
Do you have some to share … and I mean fresh tips? If not, it may be time to re-evaluate your assumptions and actions. Believe me, I’m not a perfect rider, but I’m working at getting better by ongoing evaluation.
Skill development is important, but even more important is judgment on the road. We may think we have great riding skills that allow us to get out of dangerous situations, but the rider with great judgment skills is better prepared for the road because their judgment will not let them get into a situation where they have to rely on great riding skills for escape.… read more...