Print Matters: Bound for Nowhere
Two years after one glazed donut and a pact to put out a book, the result is...
27 Mar 2019
An Interview with Matt Coplon and Steve Crandall.
If you're a regular DIG reader, you're already familiar with Profile's Matt Coplon's previous books Collapsing Into The Whatever and Let Me Tell You About The Time. For his latest effort, Matt collaborated with longtime friend Steve Crandall and compiled 175 pages of tales from traveling, resulting in Bound For Nowhere. Matt and Steve were kind enough to give us a little insight into how it came together, and what you can expect when diving into these pages...
So how did Bound For Nowhere come about?
Matt: I was visiting Steve in Richmond two years ago...we stopped at a convenient store to grab some snacks for a day of riding. I’m not sure if he asked me, or if I asked him? Regardless, after buying a bottle of anything and a glazed donut, we drove down the road towards the Lost Bowl having made a pact to put out a book together within a loose, indefinite amount of time. Somehow, within both of our busy schedules, we managed to make it work in two years.
Matt: Having Steve as a willing partner in the project. Basically, a person to rely on for motivation, feedback, and as someone to be accountable to, in order to stay on top of- especially towards the end of the project- deadlines. I’m still exhausted from putting out CITW in 2014 (Ha!). Writing is so incredibly difficult for me... texting Crandall almost daily for two years was really the only thing that got me through this. Appreciate you, Steve!
Is this one large story from each of you, or a compilation of short stories?
Matt: The project is split into two: two books, with two covers that read into, and end upon each other. Each section (or book) is a compilation of several personal, creative non-fiction stories/essays with an overlying theme of travel. We actually didn’t realize until we were done that both of our story timelines started in 1998 and ended in 2018. We also didn’t realize that, not knowing each other at the time, we were both in Portland in the summer of 1998: Steve was on a BMX trip, and I was touring with my old band. Crandall’s section covers his first major road trip, a bunch of wildly loose ones in between, and ends with our last trip to California together. I’ll have to say, “Places I’ve Slept,” creatively, was my most favorite of his submissions. I really hope everyone enjoys that one, especially from the perspective of a BMXer. My section, within the umbrella of travel, has stories both on the road as well as quite a few that took place right here in Florida (mostly, while pedaling). "Neighbor of the Beast" is the only story I included that shifts a bit: It’s about my neighbor (who is a die-hard Iron Maiden fan) and his travels... with a little twist at the end. The writing process over the past 20 years is also an underlying theme in my section... I cover this is much better detail in my Introduction.
What are the stories about- all BMX, or BMX culture in general?
Matt: Opposed to travel as the overlying theme, BMX is more the underlier. BMX (and our roots in punk) brought Steve and I together, but the narratives are more about the experiences that happened on the sidelines. To be fair, I would say, Bound For Nowhere is about BMX in our midst. Crandall’s story (one of my favorites...well, at this point I’ll have to say all of his stories are favorites) “Highway Renditions of Alleyway Apparitions” is a good example. Without giving anything away, it’s what happened to (and inside) the FBM bus after a week on the road. The story is just absurd, almost unbelievable. But at the same time, if you ride bikes and travel, it’s our reality. You probably didn’t have this exact experience, but I’m sure something like this has definitely happened to you.
Steve, how does it feel to do the artwork for the cover? What was the inspiration behind it?
Steve: Honestly, I hadn’t really given it much thought until I saw the production sample, once I saw it, it all set in that I had helped write a book and my artwork was on the cover. It was like up until that point, I had been on autopilot trying to get things done for this project, but when I actually saw it I was super giddy and excited like a kid. Kinda blows my mind, when I zoom out and think about it. I’m real happy and proud to have worked on this with Matt, and to be able to share some of these stories.
The art was inspired by our collective journeys, coffee addled uncertainty on the road, bright eyed, and blurry vision.
Matt’s cover has the Reversal of Man logo on the cup; mine has a subliminal FBM heart- both, respectively, the vehicles for our exploration from young travelers to this point today.
Travel is such an integral part of the riding experience for many riders; why did you decide to explore that aspect via this book?
Matt: Steve might have a different answer to this, but I feel that it almost came about organically. In the beginning, we really had no concrete plan other than “Let’s do a book!”
But overall, as we both get older as BMXers, we’ve discovered that the process of getting there (wherever IT may be) is the most enriching part.
Taking our bikes out of a rental and riding a pool in Nor Cal, while a BMX legend like Ron Wilkerson looks on, during his lunch break eating chips and hummus, donning an outfit inspired by Sonny Bono…
That, is just icing on life’s cake, and is always the part that is well worth sharing.
Steve: I think travel is essential, to learn new ideas, to experience new places, to meet new people - all of which are the source of inspiration for me, as well as one of main objectives. To see what’s out there, I wanna see it all. Every weird person, strange diner, back street attraction, unlikely spots and kooky transitions, the local legends, and urban myths. Anything outside my own familiar routines.
As far as sharing stories in book form, it’s like folklore helping preserve our tiny little culture. What we do, this whole BMX travel lifestyle, you have to experience for yourself, you can’t just look at your phone or your computer and understand what it’s like. So I am hoping these stories serve as cheerful nostalgia for some, and possibly motivation for others to get out there and see every weird corner of the world.
What can we expect to get out of this from a readers perspective?
Matt: Empathy. Always.
Our hope is to be able to make you smile at an absurdity.
For you to think, “Damn, I know this feeling.”
Or, for you to reach out, after having read any of this, and possibly start a conversation about some kernel of a story that hit home.
And, we hope that this may inspire you to travel more, to experience, and to possibly even put pen to paper, to contribute your own narrative into the grand scheme.
Where can people find Bound for Nowhere?
Matt: Pre-orders can be made here at the Dig store, or through me, direct at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also contact your local bmx shop for a copy as well.
Thanks, Matt and Steve.
Jody Donnelly's seat post has returned...
Our Feature Length BMX Documentary Is Here.