EYE TROUBLE, A TOUCH OF DON QUIXOTE, AND NEW ADVENTURES ON ROUTE 66
My Route 66 fun meter.
The quest to become a writer when I grow up commenced in earnest about twenty-five years ago. With gentle encouragement from my dearest friend, I sold my first feature article to a leading vintage car magazine.
On the heels of this promising endeavor I collected a box or two of rejection notices, and began writing an alternating series of columns for a small town newspaper. One week I wrote about the infancy of the American automotive industry and the next week about the wonders and adventures found in traveling the two lane highways of America.
The latter never paid much but it gave me a bit of confidence, helped me hone my craft, and, surprisingly, fostered development of a small but loyal fan base. Eye trouble ended this chapter; they couldn’t see any reason to pay me and I couldn’t see any reason to take less than the $25 per week that was my compensation.
And so it began. Following on the heels of these endeavors were articles written for an array of automotive publications, a stint as associate editor at Cars and Parts magazine, and the penning of a few books (twelve so far).
This, however, is not the 1920’s or 1930’s. To be a success (defined as deriving almost all of the income from writing and still being able to afford to eat every second day), a writer needs to confront a never ending learning curve and divide his time between writing, selling ideas to publishers, and harnessing the myriad means of promoting their work.
As a package this is most always an interesting venture but resultant of frustrations, seldom does it send the fun meter into the red zone. That is usually reserved for what we enjoy best; being on the road, meeting folks, telling tales, new discoveries, and time spent with friends.When this adventure commenced, keeping a ribbon in my 1948 Underwood typewriter and film in the camera, and knowing the best place for development consumed time not spent writing, or conducting research. It should be noted that research consisted of phone calls, extensive use of the card catalog at the library, and lengthy waits for a response to letters sent. I also used payphones. Yes, I really am that old.Between then and now, I have had to learn how to use a word processor (still working on that), how to use a digital camera (most likely a “C” on that test), and how to create and promote a blog. There is also a self publishing endeavor afoot (a walking tour of Kingman, and a guide to the surrounding area is forthcoming soon). There was also an aborted attempt at development of a video series. Perhaps this will be revisited on the future but it will be impossible to improve on the stellar work of KC Keefer. Now its podcast development, to promote the blog, to promote the books, to promote tour development, to promote Jim Hinckley’s America. Even though I would be able to make the transition to Amish farmer with little difficulty, I have toyed with the idea of adding podcasting to the Jim Hinckley’s America endeavors for some time. As conceived, it would enable me to take enthusiasts on the road during our travels to meet the people that make the road special, and to introduce them to the secret places. After months of meditating on the idea, I decided to take the plunge at the urging of my publicist.
The self imposed deadline to have everything in place for this venture is the first weekend in May. What better venue for the kickoff of Jim Hinckley’s America podcast than the annual Route 66 Fun Run? There is no doubt about it, I have selected the ideal career choice for a man consumed with a Don Quixote complex that results in satisfaction derived from jousting with windmills.