I know this photo has been posted at least two or three dozen times here on the blog and elsewhere. Being of an artistic mind (a fancy way of saying I am a half bubble off center which allows for a different perspective) I saw something in this photo never noticed before.
At this time I have two projects, both with pressing deadlines, vying for my time. So, from that reference point the photo is symbolic.
There is about to be a crash between a vintage Ford and a Corvette and I am right in the projected impact zone. The Ford is my writing career of the past sixteen years – a bit outmoded but steady and dependable with a book written about every 18 months, a feature column for Cars & Parts, and features for other publications on occasion.
The Corvette is a new era, a mid life crisis if you will. The farm and the old truck will still be an important part of my life but for now its top down, pedal to the metal, down the highway.
I have accepted the contract for Ghost Towns of Route 66 with a deadline for completion of less than one year. The delayed final edit for Ghost Towns of the Southwest will be in my hands next week with seven days allotted for completion.
I have finally attracted the attention of a New York City agent. The problem here is he needs a complete outline, sample chapter, biography, compilation of previously published work, and extensive folio of published photography to submit to a publisher interested in retaining me for a project. The hitch here is this will be needed in ten days or less.
So, now we have the opportunity to take this to the big leagues, or at least another rung up the ladder. This is also the latest in a series of events that are leading toward expansion of our artistic endeavors – photography.
I am a bit new at this but my wife has a passion for photography that stretches back to high school and beyond. Her talented work appears on this blog rather often.
Well, to make a long story longer, I have sold a few photos as illustrations that accompany features written for various magazines. The bottom photo on my last book, Backroads of Route 66, was another venture into the world of professional photography.
Then in May everything went into high gear. First, a framed print of the Route 66 Backroads cover shot, donated as a fund raiser to the Route 66 Association of Kingman sold surprisingly well.
Next, our work was selected as the center piece for a month long Route 66 exhibit at Beale Street Brews and Gallery. This has led to numerous requests for prints which in turn has led to consideration of offering a limited edition, numbered and signed series of prints profiling ghost towns we have visited. To that end we will be on the road to Flagstaff, via Route 66, next week to discuss this with a publisher and printer.
Then there are the commercial requests. One, to supply material to head a major international corporate websites pages has been approved and work is underway.
The second for a real estate promotional site is pending. Last but not least we have been selected to provide a large percentage of text and photos for the forthcoming Route 66 Association of Kingman website.
The Route 66 shield in this photo is also symbolic. That old highway hangs over our head in all we do. Sometimes it offers welcome shade and other times it seems as though it is about to fall on us.
For those aspiring writers who are curious about how much all of this pays let me say I still have a full time job. Still, there is always that promise of the big strike that keeps us trudging from one hill to the next, through the desert sands, and that enables us to pour money down a very deep well where we know someday we will strike oil.
If there are any psychiatrists reading this I am sure enough material has been supplied today for a new book on abnormal psychology. If you care to share those thoughts, and I may assist as a case study, please feel free to drop a note.
I never tire of the stunning scenery here in the desert southwest. Even better are the “never two the same” sunrises and sunsets. Is there a better way to start or end a day? Now, as to new business. This Saturday night is the first of our summer “Chillin‘ on Beale Street” festivals. Food, music, old cars, food, and old fashioned fun just one block north of historic Route 66. Did I mention there will be food? Well, if you are in the neighborhood I hope you will stop by. I have a feeling this is going to a very memorable evening under star studded desert skies. The clock is ticking on the deadline for submission of mural ideas. So, if you have an artistic flair and want the world to know it here is your opportunity. Jim Conkle and Bob Lile have earned real kudos for their efforts to get the Route 66 Pulse back on the road. I encourage every fan of the double six to support their efforts. Today’s final note pertains to ghost towns of Route 66. I am really drawing a blank as far as Illinois goes so if you have ideas please share them.
Yes, it has been unusually cool here and no, it hasn’t been cold enough for snow in June. This photo of Chloride, Arizona was taken in mid February on one of our afternoon “search for lunch” adventures. My wife’s family has a long association with this old mining town and we are adding to that tradition by profiling it in our forthcoming book, Ghost Towns of the Southwest. That and its close proximity to home made it an ideal candidate as we sought a location for a suitable cover shot for that book last Sunday. As always our visit was a pleasant one even though it lacked the excitement of our previous adventure when we decided to test the prowess of the Jeep in the mountains that loom above town. Friendly folks, quiet streets, and stunning desert scenery are but a small part of the charm. For more than a century Chloride has mirrored the ebb and flow of the southwest. Today that reflection is one of change. New construction and new faces have added a “yuppie” aspect that wasn’t there just a few years ago when my son and his cousins traveled the streets on well worn ATV’s. Change in a favorite place is always difficult to see but, perhaps, this is why we have been blessed with memories and photographs. Change seems to be a primary topic in our lives this past few years. Lets see, I am now a grandfather and the milestone of turning fifty is fast becoming a distant memory. Promotion of new books has served as the catalyst for many a grand adventure. Development of new books and projects, such as a series of limited edition photographic prints, promises even more. We have acquired a Jeep Cherokee that ensures our standard for what constitutes an adventure will be raised a notch or two. This was evidenced on our trial run for the new “family truckster” and plans to seek out alignments of Route 66 not used in at least sixty years. Obviously change is not always a good thing. The pressure associated with the never ending learning curve of new technology as well as the current state of the economy often has me seeing Amish farmer as an upward career move. Well, my closing thought of the day is this. Working like this is a sure death but it is a slower one than starvation.
Noise ordinances are a popular subject of debate and discussion if on line forums present an accurate reflection of public sentiment. This piece from the Williams News in Williams, Arizona, is rather interesting. First, it is not about Harley Davidson’s. Second, it is from a town that openly promotes itself as a haven and destination for motorcycle enthusiasts.
A new assignment led to this photo of the neon on the Power House Visitor Center in Kingman, Arizona. A local real estate developer asked for photos that could be used under a limited license agreement for promotion of Kingman and the surrounding area.
The neat thing about assignments such as these is it allows me to see my “home town” as a tourist. This is where my correspondence and breakfasts with travelers gives me an edge.
The next title scheduled for release from Voyageur Press written by Jim Hinckley is Ghost Towns of the Southwest. Unfortunately the publication date was moved from fall of this year to spring of next year.
We are that stage of selecting a cover photo. This photo of Chloride and the one below are ones that I submitted for consideration. Which photo do you feel best captures the feel of ghost towns of the southwest?
Projects are coming from all directions. I am supplying material, text and photos, for the forth coming Route 66 Association of Kingman website, for a real estate developers website, and photographs for another developers site. In addition I am now writing the press releases for the Route 66 Association of Kingman as well as providing assistance in their circulation.
Of course we are also gathering material for our website, www.route66infocenter.com, the blog, and the next book, Ghost Towns of Route 66. The new book leads to another project, an exciting opportunity to introduce my dearest friend to the wonders of Route 66 this fall.
All of this is is in addition to press releases and promotion of our work, the full time job, and all of the things entailed with caring for an elderly parent as well as meeting the needs of a family and occasional ministry. Then, in my spare time, I try to maintain my long standing schedule of reading one book a month. The current slection is Inside the Third Reich – Memoirs by Albert Speer.
The recent spat of inquiries and requests for photos, as well as assistance with press releases and the development of promotional concepts, hints that my work is garnering some attention. Another indicator is found in a note from a friend on vacation that found Route 66 Backroads in the gift shop at the Sears Tower in Chicago.
There is a certain degree of frustration in all of this. When will these endeavors bear fruit in the form of profits? It is almost as though I am pushing a wheelbarrow full of rocks up hill. A few years ago I was doing this with a flat tire so a certain amount of solace can be found in the fact the tire now has air. Still, how much farther is it to the top?
Well, I suppose its all just part of the grand adventure we call life. Still, in the grand scheme of things I realize just how blessed, how fortunate I am. Topping the list of things for which I am grateful has to be my wife. How many men are fortunate enough to have a dear friend that is an endless source of encouragement to share these adventures with?