Thursday, July 12, 2007

Pantagraphic Reading Material

Way back in February, Scott Richardson of the Bloomington-Normal Pantagraph interviewed me about Biking Illinois. Since Scott is a fellow cyclist, we talked for well over an hour. It was refreshing to converse with an enthusiast rather than someone who was merely assigned to write a story. Later, I sent him a handful of photos to publish with his article.

Once spring arrived, I searched the Pantagraph Web site every few weeks to see if it had been published yet. Nothing. Then today I was checking my sales figures as an Amazon.com associate. After a quiet June, I sold a bunch of copies of Biking Illinois in the first few days of July. I could only imagine one reason for that, and sure enough, this time when I searched the Pantagraph Web site, I found a lengthy feature about my book.

Alas, here is how the article begins: "David Jansen made a sharp turn in his life after he pedaled alone across America five years ago." Jansen? All my life people have misspelled my surname as Johnson (my worst nightmare was that it would be spelled that way on the cover of my book!) but Jansen is a new one.

It's an interesting read because I blabbered on for so long that I touched on a lot of things that I never talked about in an interview before. As the lead hints, you'll get to read about my transition from computer geek to DJWriter. You'll also read a couple of anecdotes that I never got around to writing on the Biking Illinois Web site. Not everything came out exactly the way I intended, but I suppose my biographers will sort that out after I'm gone.

Scott mentions that I described the Grand Illinois Trail as a "misnomer." But I wasn't referring to it being a collection of trails so much as I was referring to its location. I said it was really the Grand Northern Illinois Trail. As I recall, Scott had a good laugh when I said the trail fit a typical Chicagoan's definition of Illinois (some Chicagoans act as if anything south of I-80 is in a different state).

As for the part about counties (a properly focused interviewee never would have "gone there," but I did)... Although I have visited all 254 counties in Texas, the article makes it sound like I visited all of them in one trip! I was referring to our November 2006 road trip when we visited the last dozen that I needed to finish the state (I also finished Oklahoma then). Again, I babbled on for so long that things were bound to get a bit confused -- if only I could edit my speech like I edit my writing. Oh well, I appreciate the coverage so I won't get bent out of shape over the details... except my last name!

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