Fields was all-knowing. “This is a stupid sport.”
MKA and Chris Hipp and others copied the tag line, but Fields invented it. There is nothing Fields didn’t know, or, put differently, if Fields didn’t know it, it wasn’t worth knowing. When he spat in the soup and headed off to Wisconsin to forsake his bike and become a lawyer, he provided a role model that few have had the nuts to emulate.
Cycling is a stupid sport. There is no money in it. Coda.
How she made me feel
You know the saying. “People may forget what you said, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.”
I never lay in bed with Lesli Cohen, but she made me feel nonetheless. It was not erotic, except in a way, it was.
I had reached the umpteenth fine-toothed edit of my New York Times #1 Global Bestseller, “Cycling in the South Bay,” but something was missing. What was missing was someone once-removed to go over the manuscript who was in love with words, who fornicated with syntax, who stroked and massaged and erotically touched sentence structure until it was clean, pure, risen, the climactic pinnacle of what it could be.
What was missing was a real editor.
Lesli didn’t know me, biblically or otherwise, but she had generously shared my blog posts with her considerable readership. I turned to her and begged a favor. “Would you go over my manuscript and edit the hell out of it?” Then I added, “Of course I’ll pay you.”
Lesli refused payment and took the manuscript. What she did, no one else could have done. She loved on it.
How do you love on a manuscript? What is manuscript love? It is the embracing of each word, the deconstruction of each sentence, the application of the rules of spelling and grammar and structure and logic to every single word you’ve written. It can’t be done by an amateur with a handycam. It has to be done by a pro, someone profoundly versed in the erotica of the construction of language.
She “did” my manuscript, and when she was done, if there was anything there to sparkle, it shone brighter because of her. We smoked a cigarette together. Virtually, of course.
Ring down the curtain
Until yesterday Lesli edited Cyclismas.com, a cycling web site. Through a series of mistakes she wound up on the sticking end of a lawsuit. Through another series of mistakes that involved trusting the untrustworthy, and a final unfounded belief that there was something in the world of cycling that was truthful, she ended up investing in a big project that eventually failed. When the last splash of water swirled down the drain, she was left with nothing, and yesterday she sent out a note that the web site and her project were closing down.
Naturally, the draining litigation will continue, because of Newtown’s little known Fourth Law of Thermodynamics: The lawyers always get paid.
My thanks to Lesli aren’t enough, but they’re all I’ve got. Lesli, you are one of those rare people who I’d want above all others in my foxhole. You fought not simply the good fight, but the best fight. You made mistakes grounded in faith and trust and decency, and you sought to take the high crimes and misdemeanors of an errant pro peloton and turn them into something good for all of us. You did it with class and intellect and integrity.
I’ll miss your beautiful writing and your amorous affair with words, but I know that we’ll meet again. Paris, perhaps?
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