One of the challenges of

8/24/10 — One of the challenges of writing a story is trying to work in plot twists that catch the reader by surprise, and yet, upon reflection, seem perfectly logical, even inevitable. You know, like life . . .

This past Sunday, for example, I was mountain biking with some friends alongside the Metolius River in Central Oregon. It was a spectacular bluebird day. Ponderosa pines arched overhead. Riffles in the current gurgled like happy babies. My buddies hooted as we sped down the well-worn single track trail. This, I thought, is the good life.

When, as if on a mischievous writer’s cue, my front tire dropped into a grass-covered hole. In an instant my bike took a 90 degree lefthand turn into the river, launching me over the handlebars. I slammed headfirst onto the hardpack. Neck bones crunched. My head roared.

Dazed, I pushed myself up onto my knees, thinking, "Uh-oh, you’ve really done it now, Tom." But in another plot twist — surprising, yet perfectly logical, even inevitable — there was only a bloody nose and a stiff neck as payment, with a few elbow scratches thrown in for good measure.

And so I, a lucky guy, live to tell the tale. And search for plot twists — bike wrecks? — to weave into my stories. Yes indeed, this is the good life.