to share a seat on a motorcycle than it does to share a bed. At least, that's an old biker's maxim. And if taking a road trip while perched on a motorcycle passenger pillion is something of a comfort challenge and requires a greater connection than sleeping together, then riding backseat on a writer's journey requires something even greater.
I'm thinking here of the "significant others" who ride back seat in our (the authors') careers. Like a biker's back-seat passenger, these loved ones go where we drive them--fascinating (hah!) places like conferences, bookstores, and libraries. It's a grand trip, to be sure, but it is not their trip--it's ours. We share the ride, but it's still in very many ways our trip-- our careers, our moments in the public limelight and our 15 minutes of fame. And although the authors are responsible for the success or failure of a given book or book event, like a couple riding two-up cross-country the rain falls on both, the wind chills driver and passenger alike, and both sweat it out in traffic.
Passengers on both journeys sometimes complain. Those who ride back seat on a motorcycle can frequently be heard bemoaning the soreness in their posteriors. The same is often true of those who go along with authors on their trips--in other words, we authors can also be real pains in the ass.
A good passenger can make or break a rider. If from the backseat the passenger moves with the rider as he or she leans into curves, if the passenger pays attention to the route and navigates, if he or she offers a friendly wave to those the pair meet along the way, and if that passenger actively stays "in tune" with the rider and performs a dozen other tasks--then the ride is likely to be pleasant and rewarding.
As writers or bikers, then, we need to be very mindful of those we take along for the ride.
I ride and I write, and I have been very fortunate to have had the very best of passengers.