Riding with Rilke, Ted Bishop


“This is what I love about prairie storms,” I say, “They drench you and move right on.”

This is a book I should have read a long time ago; after being fortunate enough to have not one but two classes with the wondrous Ted Bishop I should have bought his motorcycling memoir straight away.  And yet, it did not grace my presence until I found it haphazardly placed on the sale shelf in Wee Book Inn. And, better now than never, I suppose.

I took a travel writing course with Ted in my final semester of university; not a creative writing course, but an actual study of British travel writing.  One of the options for our essay was to write our own piece of travel writing, and it was interesting to see how the advice Ted gave us about our pieces is reflected in his own work.  Moreover, I could spot moments in Riding With Rilke that seemed to draw influence from the works we studied, with hints of Chatwin and Bryson lurking within the pages.  This was also the first time I’d ever read a book written by someone I knew somewhat personally, and the whole time I found myself reading it with Ted’s unmistakable voice in my head.

Though this book did not move me to buy a motorcycle and ride down into the southern states the way some travel writing makes me want to pack up my bags and mimic their adventure, I enjoyed it immensely.

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