Sunday, July 31, 2011

Narcissistic Wordsmith - Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road

At the tender age of sixteen I was introduced to a band called Rush. The Canadian trio filled my ears as well as my soul and to this day Rush still rocks my world. Unfortunately, after the tour to support their album, Test for Echo, ended on July 4, 1997, the band disappeared. Rumors spread that one of the trio had cancer while others heard they simply broke up.

In 2002 the explanation about the band's hiatus was finally revealed to the world and the truth was exposed. Neil Peart, Rush's King of Kings drummers, lost his nineteen-year-old daughter to a car accident on August 10, 1997 and his common-law wife went into a deep depression and died of cancer ten months later.

So, on a rainy, late summer morning on August 20, 1998, just two months after his wife's funeral, without any reason to carry on and having no interests in his work or his life, the drummer of drummers secured his home, revved up his BMW R1100GS motorcycle and rode down the driveway of what used to be a happy home. He didn't know where he was going, but he would let his bike lead the way.

For fourteen months, Neil ventured 55,000 miles of highways and byways from eastern Canada to the American west coast and Mexico. All the while, keeping a journal of everything he experienced.

When he finally placed the kickstand down on his bike in early autumn of 1999, he began piecing together the notes from his journal and titled the book to describe how he felt about himself. Thus, Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road was born.

This book will warm the hearts of Neil's long-time fans as well as anyone who wants to read a sad, yet uplifting story. While Neil details out the events of his travel, he sprinkles in the memories of his once-happy life. By the time you finish the book, the entire picture is before you-and you understand.

Neil divides his piece into two books: Book One is titled Riding the Healing Road, which specifically records every rain drop and winding turn he experiences on his journey. Book Two Homeward Angel, On The Fly is peppered with his reflection and his determination to look and move forward.

The author brings humor and intimacies into the book and allows the reader to watch the dissection of his spirit, his mind, heart, and his "little baby soul." Neil introduces us to his best friend, Brutus, and his alter ego, Ellwood, which is actually his middle name. We also become acquainted with Carrie Nuttall, the woman who was "... the answer to a prayer I hadn't dared to voice, or even dream" and on September 9, 2000 became his wife.

The only frustration I had with the book is the amount of unnecessary detail to ad nauseam. I found myself many times in frustration screaming "GET ON WITH IT" and would rifle through pages of description-overkill of a rock or how the wine tasted on his tongue.

Many words the author uses such as nadir, majordomo, euphoniously, gelid, and vicissitudes were so unfamiliar to me that I found myself looking to Webster for clarification. The extremity of pointless detail became so exhausting that it took me quite a while to get through the book. I found his writing style arrogant and vain.

I've labeled Neil a narcissistic wordsmith as I now realize how much he loves his words. It is very clear to me after reading this book and listening to his lyrics for the past thirty years that he wants his readers and listeners to know just how much he loves his words and how well he can put a plethora of complicated words together to invoke a simple meaning.

Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road, although frustrating and sometimes exhausting, is a must read for any Rush fan, rocker, or those who like a complicated read with a good ending. Delightful and fun, yet heartbreaking, this book will not only give you a new outlook on life, but will motivate you to buy a motorcycle and "Take off to the Great White North."

Tracey L. Brackett is the owner of The Feather Walker Customized Writing Services based in Nashville, Tennessee. The Feather Walker offers creative writing, proofreading, editing, resumes, ghostwriting, article writing, brochures, and flyers at affordable prices. For more information, please visit Tracey also is a member of the writing team for Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services. Please visit WITS at

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