A MAN OF MANY HATS – SORDID TALES, TALL TALES, AND SHIRT TAILS

About twenty-six years ago my dearest friend encouraged me to pursue the childhood dream of being a writer. Last year, once again with her gentle persuasion and unwavering support, we set sail into uncharted waters. We were going to pay bills, keep the Jeep and truck on the road, keep the house from falling down around our ears,  and continue eating on a regular basis solely on income derived from writing, and the tangled web of related activities associated with that endeavor.  
From the publication of my first feature article for Hemming’s Special Interest Autos to the publication of several hundred feature articles for various publications, more than a dozen books, and a stint as associate editor and columnist for the now defunct Cars and Parts, it has been a grand adventure. Now, however, the adventure has become a thrill ride of epic proportions. I am reminded of a crazy adventure that included a leaking garage sale purchase kayak, a blazing Arizona sun, and the rapids of the Colorado River (has it ever been mentioned that I sink instead of swim?) or the heady and painful days when trying my hand as a cowboy, with forays into rodeo, seemed like a good idea.
Author Jim Hinckley at
Two Guns without the
signature hat. 
The quest to become a writer has been a rather twisted and interesting road. Each detour, side trip, bridge out, boulder strewn tract, traffic jam, avalanche, traffic free two lane, and pot hole filled stretch has provided us with ample fodder for tall tales, wonderful memories, opportunities for making friends, and an incredible array of new discoveries. 
Most folks know me for the old Stetson or 1930’s styled felt hat. This quest, however, has required the wearing of many hats. It has also required perfecting the art of being a pinata, being a glutton for punishment, and for learning to roll with the punches. 
When this quest began, an ancient typewriter manufactured years before I was born, carbon paper, typewriter ribbons, an old camera, 35 mm film, and a cassette recorder were my stock in trade. Between then and now, I have had to learn the basics of Microsoft Word, evolve from snail mail to email, move from the library card catalog to Google search, abandon film and establish a library filled with the “For Dummies” series of books. 
I have had to abandon payphones for cell phones, figure out Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Mail Chimps and all manner of technological wonders. On most any given day I experience the frustration that comes with the realization that the semester finals are being given in Japanese but I have been studying French. 
My dearest friend and I (this may surprise a few folks) are relatively reclusive by nature. I used to dress in a manner that allowed me to blend in with the wallpaper. Now, I make presentations before crowds numbering in the hundreds. 
I was blue collar born and raised, a man who rode for the brand and earned his keep with the sweat of the brow and the skin from the knuckles. The weekly, or monthly paycheck was more than security, it was the natural order of the world. 
Today, the illusion of security that a steady paycheck provides is a fading memory. I offer my services as a tourism and tour development consultant based on books written, and the experience, the travel involved with, and knowledge gained in the writing of those books and their marketing. I use my position as a consultant to sell books and presentations. All of this funds my insatiable hunger to write, and provides the funds needed to support the writing habit. The travel involved provides materials for new books. 
Oh yes, my dear friends, sailing into uncharted waters is a most exhilarating experience. It is not for the faint of heart. However, a touch of insanity does make it seem a bit more reasonable. 
This new quest has given me a much deeper understanding of Jason and his adventuresome Argonauts. It has also confirmed my long held suspicion that life is truly a grand adventure, even if that adventure is not always the one imagined.  


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