On several occasions I have alluded to an old cowhand that I
worked with on a ranch along the Mimbres River in southern New Mexico. To say the very least, he had a very unique philosophy for life. As an example, he often referred to himself as “an optimistic pessimist” who started every day meditating on all of the things that could happen or go wrong. Then, according to him, when the day was done, he would be the only one smiling because it didn’t go as bad as he had envisioned.
Shamrock Texas is the location for the 2018 Route 66 International Festival.
Oddly enough, I have found that the old cowboys philosophy works quite well in regard to the New Years Day celebration. As the last day of the old year winds down, I pop the top on a cold bottle of beer, watch the sun sink in the west, and meditate about the new year from the perspective of the optimistic pessimist, but go light on the pessimism. I prefer to think of myself as a pragmatist or a realist.
The year that is coming to a close, 2017, was the best of times and the worst of times. I have little doubt that twelve months from now I will be looking back on 2018, and have the same thoughts. Today, however, we are looking toward the future, not into the past.
Do you remember when telephones were a device used to
make calls? Do you remember getting change to use the pay phone? Do you remember using checks to pay bills? Do you remember using wind wings and cowl vents to offer a bit of respite from the summer heat when driving? Do you remember sipping a cold beer and playing pong on a table top device? Do you remember fumbling with road maps? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, there is a better than average chance that you suffer, to a degree, from the plight of technologically impaired.
A great deal of the past year has been spent working to overcome my technological impairment. To be honest this quest consumes a great deal of my time but it is a matter of survival. I can’t write books on a 1948 Underwood typewriter anymore, and I can’t market the books, or me, using stamps, stationary, envelopes, and a land line telephone. (more…)
Next week I promise to get into the proper holiday spirit. Today,
however, Festivus just seems appropriate. It has been, to say the very least, a most interesting week. It has also been a week of almost miraculous accomplishments starting with Reedy Press, publisher of my latest book. As you may recall, several weeks ago the company’s shipping center and warehouse, with 200,000 books went up in flames. So, holiday sales were suspended, and I issued refunds on orders and canceled a couple of pending signings. Yesterday I received notice that a rushed second printing was complete and that orders were again being accepted through the Reedy Press website. Obviously I won’t have copies until after the holidays but people who order through the company site, or Amazon.com should have them in time for Christmas.
Next, our crowdfunding initiative. As this was a new endeavor it took me a bit to hone the concept and work out a few rough spots. I am quite pleased to announce that we are on the cusp of reaching our first goal. Level two, three, and four will enable us to improve the quality of the Facebook live programs, and launch a rather ambitious effort in 2018; 21 Facebook live interviews in 21 days on Route 66. That project will be an integral part of a plan to “promote small town America” and the people that give these places a distinct personality.
That takes us to the weekly Jim Hinckley’s America Facebook live programs. Our reach for these programs is now exceeding an average of 4,000 people per week. My self imposed goal was a reach of 5,000 people per week by the end of the year so I am rather pleased by these numbers. Of even more importance is the fact that, based upon the response received, the programs are magnifying the promotional initiatives of small businesses and rural communities. (more…)
We used to call it Needless, California. I still often quip that
Needles, California isn’t Hell but if you squint hard, especially in August, you can see it. However, in all fairness there is more than meets the eye in this well worn, sun baked old town steeped in history. On December 22, if all goes as planned, we will highlight a few of the surprises, and discuss neon restoration, when we visit with Rosie Ramos of Fender’s River Resort on our weekly Facebook live program.
That is but one of the exciting projects looming in the horizon. One of the more audacious projects currently being developed is a 21 day trip along Route 66 that will include 21 Facebook live interviews with community leaders, small business owners, artists, authors, event organizers, and legends of the Route 66 community. This is another project being made possible through the generous support of crowdfunding program patrons, promotional partners, and sponsors. Updates on these projects are being made available to patrons, and through our weekly free Mail Chimp subscription.
There are also plans to expand and develop our “welcome wagon” program. Essentially all this amounts to is creating a mechanism that ensures the red carpet is rolled out for those traveling Route 66 and making stops in communities along the way. As envisioned, an ambassador program will be developed that ensures each community has a spokesperson, a host that can answer questions, make dinner arrangements, and, perhaps, provide a walking tour of the historic business tour. It is a bit ambitious but I honestly believe it is quite doable.
This is part of a project to foster development of community awareness about the importance of tourism to long term economic development planning with emphasis on the Route 66 renaissance that we kicked off in earnest this year. It was made manifest in presentations about heritage tourism and economic development in Las Vegas, New Mexico and Tucumcari, New Mexico.
Also on the horizon, or at least in the crystal ball, is a linked promotional platform for authors, artists, and photographers. The cornerstone will be a central clearing house, a portal for event organizers that are looking for a speaker or book signing and authors or artists that would be willing to list availability for events, etc. Obviously this has a self serving component as I have a few books to promote, and am becoming adept at entertaining audiences with a bit of gum beating. Jim Hinckley’s America is becoming the multifaceted promotional platform envisioned, albeit slowly.
Next year, especially in the Route 66 community, will be an almost endless string of exciting events. From the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival in Springfield, Missouri to the Route 66 International Festival in Shamrock, Texas, from the 2nd European Route 666 Festival in Zlin, Czech Republic to the Route 66 Fun Run in Seligman, Arizona. If all goes as planned, we will be at each of these events representing our promotional partners, and sponsoring communities. As they say, stay tuned for details.
In my spare time (insert laughter here) I will finish my next book, number 19. This time the literary odyssey will transport readers into the darkest recesses of Route 66 history with tales of murder, mayhem, gangsters, assassins, serial killers, and disaster.
Yep, 2018 looks like it will be quite an adventure.
Some people fear death and obsess about diet, exercise, and
face lifts as they make valiant but futile attempts to stave off the inevitable. As a result, to borrow a slogan from Belmont Winery in Leasburg, Missouri, they don’t have time to enjoy the simple taste of life. Work alcoholics suffer a similar malady. One of the greatest challenges in this life is to strike a balance. We need to work to live and not live to work. We need to avoid the trap that is killing time and never forget that time is finite.
I will be the first to admit that often in the rush to meet a deadline, these are simple lessons that are forgotten. This is in spite of the fact that on a daily basis, as I write about lives cut short, I am reminded about the brevity of life, the futility of myopically focusing on work with the hope that at some point in the distant future there will be time to enjoy life. (more…)