Bill Shackleton

About twenty four or five years ago I worked in the thick, sooty cloud of a smoky steel mill "behind high barbed-wire fences, locked gates, and signs saying NO TRESPASSING" in the blue collar city of Hamilton. I had quit high school to hitch-hike Canada and the United States (Seed Crystal: the movie Easy Rider) and was paying for that career-limiting move while some of my classmates had moved on to the higher mountain tops of a post-secondary education. Some of the few joys in my existence included riding my motorcycle (an old 650 Yamaha), playing my guitar and reading Buckminster Fuller, Arthur Keostler, Eric Fromm and Robert Heinlein during night shifts on the roof above the blast furnace growls and overhead crane siren screams.

Then I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

In the time between then and now I've driven trucks, worked in a beer store, apprenticed as a printer, sold office supplies, business forms, cash registers, office furniture, computers, computer programmed, web designed, vocationally instructed, LAN managed, career counseled, trained techies, consulted, web mastered, contracted, started businesses (home automation, accessibility), [on and on to about 30-something jobs]. I've worked in factories, warehouses, stores, outside, inside, in the Federal Public Service, in non-profit organizations, in high-tech companies, ... I've attended courses related to university (philosophy, psychology, comparative religions, humanities, sociology), business (economics, administration, accounting, ...), computers (CNA, MCSE, MCT ...), personal interest (architecture, water colour, etc.).

For the last 15 or so years ago, despite whatever clothes I happen to be wearing at the time, my occupational aim has been targeted at the bulls-eye of moving the human to the centre of technology (as opposed to developing say technology or information centred systems) and having that technology amplify 'humanness'. Humans are diverse - extremely diverse. My zoomed lens has focused around empowering individuals with disabilities through technology and technology / information environments. I am currently involved in helping to integrate human-empowering accessibility into the IM/IT infrastructure of our (Canadian) government while the "cement is wet".

For some reason I've not been able to figure out, I've never re-read any books I've previously finished. There are two exceptions: Time Enough For Love by Robert Heinlein (about 3-4 times) and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (I can't remember how many times I've read this). I've only read Lila once. I see by the web site (and Pirsig's own words) that consensus points to this as the more valuable work. For that reason, I will pull it off the bookshelf and try it again. I'm fairly open-minded. For now though, ZMM remains as the book with the highest quality that I have ever read - bar none. Perhaps that is because for me it is so personal - in more ways than I'd like to reveal here.

In 1995 (I think that was the year), I combed the book for every reference to a location and plotted a route from where I would come into Minnesota from Ottawa on my newly purchased 1983 Honda Goldwing MotorBaby to where I would leave the trail sometime after Yellowstone Park to head back up to Calgary for the return trip back. With my well worn paperback serving as my excellent and extremely enjoyable tour guide for that leg of the trip, my ride was almost virtual in my spiritual/meditative experience of it - close to my face real, yet somehow?

Although I currently own a disposable paperback version (I always seem to give them away or ruin them with wear) and a hard-copy version (my first Internet purchase - from, my visiting friend brought up for me the 25th Anniversary Edition. In it I discovered Robert's pointer to your site - and have been rudely neglecting my guest ever since.

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