Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Miles City zen ...

Though I think it's lost most of its allure these days, two or three decades ago every hip college kid in America would have eagerly read Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. At least ostensibly, the first part of the book is the story of a westward journey to Montana ... to Bozeman, specifically.

While I've always been a little doubtful of some of Pirsig's thoughts and narratives, there's much in the book that's very evocative. Here's a bit of dialogue from the book describing an outlander's first exploration of Miles City:
"This is a great town," John says, "really great. Surprised there were any like this left. I was looking all over this morning. They've got stockmen's bars, high-top boots, silver-dollar belt buckles, Levis, Stetsons, the whole thing . . . and it's real. It isn't just Chamber of Commerce stuff. . . . In the bar down the block this morning they just started talking to me like I'd lived here all my life."


  1. It's been about 20 years since I read this book, but I LOVED it way back when!

  2. I hadn't opened the book in ages before I went looking for this quote. The bits that I skimmed again made me wonder how well the thing has aged ... or maybe it's just a book meant for he young.

    But regardless, I still have that strong literary suspicion of someone who didn't like Catch-22! :-p

  3. Never read it. Hope it's not too late> I ordered a copy on line today :>)


  4. Heh ... be forewarned: it's definitely not to everyone's taste! The book is at least as much philosophy as travelogue. :)