I am writing this on Sunday afternoon as the schedule will not allow for a Monday posting. Besides, as it is still a bit windy and cold it seemed an ideal time to respond to recent inquiries about my inner sanctum, the cubicle of inspiration where ideas are turned into books, road trip dreams are transformed into realities, and memories of good times are made manifest in the wide array of souvenirs and treasures.
From my earliest memories books have always been an integral part of my life. Dominating my inner sanctum are shelves filled to the breaking point with books. Hidden behind a set of double doors are shelves filled floor to ceiling with even more books.
Reading and research materials are not limited to a diverse array of books. Magazines, booklets, and promotional materials that range from AAA guide books from the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s to original copies of Harper’s Weekly from the late 19th century fill crooks and crevices.
The reference materials for eleven books and countless magazine articles fill notepads, notebooks, and pages of printed materials. The file cabinets are also filled to the bursting problem.
To provide incentive for long days at the keyboard, and a bit of inspiration for new projects, the office is filled with post cards and thank you notes from folks who used my books in their adventures or in planning them, souvenirs from adventures with my dearest friends, geological samples from various desert ventures, and gifts from friends. There is even a miniature steam engine that is fully operational, a little something my dad made in his spare time while serving as a machinists mate.
The swirl of memories in my inner sanctum is almost palpable. There is a map poster of Arizona created by Bob Waldmire, a calendar from a roadhouse in Brookton, Western Australia, given to us by a friend who passed away shortly after his last trip stateside, and a pair of miniature wooden shoes from a friend in the Netherlands.
The large piece of obsidian on the window sill was found on an expedition into the vast Hualapai Valley in search of petroglyphs. A hood ornament is from a vintage Dodge found nose down in a sand wash, and vintage glassware from my mother’s collection brings back memories of farm auctions in Michigan. Bumper stickers inspire thoughts of pie at the Midpoint Café and visits to Fran’s store in Adrian Texas.
The inner sanctum is one part oasis, one part office, and two parts fortress of solitude. With the exception of a special place on Route 66, or a rocky knoll with million dollar view where sage scented breezes swirl the desert sands, this is my haven.
Did anyone beside me notice that the last few posts were lackluster or off course from our usual topics of discussion? Well I have an explanation and a few excuses for that, but excuses seldom equal justification.
Simply put, I am tired, frustrated, and in dire need of a quiet non business trip along Route 66 or to a special place here in the desert southwest. Fueling this is the fact that for almost the entire year I have been dwelling on that fine line between blesses and curses, that odd realm where the glass is half full and half empty.
As evidenced by the growing number of requests for interviews, the latest best sellers ranking from Amazon.com (#12 in general travel books), and the uptick in the scheduling of speaking engagements, it looks as though I am on the right track. The childhood dream of becoming a writer when I grow up is looming on the horizon.
Meanwhile, the current book (a chronicle of violence on the street and in the boardroom during the evolution of the taxi industry) is proving to be an exhausting endeavor in regard to research. However, the real frustration is in the fact that I still have a day job that supports the writing habit.
The greatest reward in writing isn’t the financial compensation, it is in the friends made and the people met as a result of what I write. In this regard we just may be some of the wealthiest people around.
I am quite grateful to have a job to complain about. It pays well, is relatively enjoyable, and judging by end of the year reports (number two in the state of Arizona for two years running), it is something I must be good at.
Still, there is zero future in it and I am looking sixty square in the eye. Even worse, respect for what I do, and the compensation in the form of vacation time or benefits is even less than zero.
Few things exemplify the frustration of living in the world of half empty and half full more than providing assistance for the ongoing development and promotion of the Route 66 International Festival scheduled for August 14th through 17th. My contributions have provided an incredible number of opportunities for thinking outside of the box to ensure the event benefits the Route 66 community, appeals to a wider audience than just fans of the double six, and showcases the city of Kingman in a positive light. Still, it often feels as though I am trying to push a wheelbarrow overloaded with Siamese twin elephants and a flat tire up a mountain trail filled with rocks.
First, the original organizers quit at the first of the year and as a result, everyone involved with the festivals development was, to put it mildly, left holding the proverbial bag. To compound the resultant problems the sanctioning body for the annual event has yet to update their website or even publish press releases. On Monday evening, I will be speaking with the interim chamber of commerce director about the festival as the current chamber of commerce director that is overseeing the project now faces a situation that necessitates resignation.
Amazingly, in spite of it all, indications are that this will be a stellar event. It is my sincere hope that I live to see it.
Looking toward the near future, it appears as though the pattern of dwelling in that murky place where the glass is half full and half empty will continue for some time. So, we will set our sights on the festival, Cuba Fest, and an unprecedented adventure that will require submission of our passport applications on Tuesday.