OK, IT'S BEEN AWHILE...
Those of you who actually open and read these missives may have wondered if I maybe dropped off the edge of the earth (or had won the lottery and disappeared to my own private island--with racetrack, of course--thumbing my nose at the rest of society all the way). But neither are true. Truth is, it's been a bit of a rough winter. Must admit I've been in a bit of a funk--along with a lot of other Americans--since the first week of November. Don't want to descend into politics here (not the place for it and, besides, it's gotten to where we're so effing polarized that we're like folks who believe in different religions, which means that it's all based on faith, belief and team identity, and no amount of discussing, arguing, alternative fact-checking or haranguing is going to make anybody switch sides). I think it's safe to say I'm not alone in feeling this way and, as someone who truly loves this country and what I've always believed it stands for--hypocrisy, warts and all--I've been pretty damn bummed out.
Have also been trying to clean up/modify some of my more flamboyant anbd ultimately self-eroding eating and drinking proclivities (seems your definition of a good time has to change over the years if you plan to enjoy many more) plus some nagging back issues improved to a reasonable degree by changing my exercise regimen (yeah, I actually have one) and even doing some Yoga along with the biking, weights and occasional, no-photos-please Zumba classes.
I see you smirking out there...
It also seems I've had a fair crop of friends peel off for the great beyond over the past many months (I've had to write some of the obituaries, too) and that sort of thing can haunt you just a little.
But, hey, it's spring again, the world once again blossoms with bird calls, hope and enthusiasm, racing season is already rolling and I'm feeling pretty good for an old fart. Plus I've got stuff to do. Lots of it. So here's a quick project rundown:
And I thought this was going to be easy...
Turns out the audiobook project is only about a hundred times more complicated (and threatens to be 100 times more expensive) than I ever realized. A lot of it stems from my stubborn (but I think correct) desire to do it as a fifties radio play, complete with a full cast of characters, sound effects, period music, real and fake period advertising between chapters, etc. I believed at the beginning and I still believe today that the finished product will be worth all the money and effort, and that it will moreover be a big commercial success. I mean, The Last Open Road has already sold something like 50,000 copies (a lot of those people will also want the audio version) and I cannot tell you how many folks have told us over the years that they've heard the book is really good, but that they don't have the time (or inclination) to read. Echoing, in fact, what that snooty New York publishing executress told us all those years ago about"THOSE people don't read..."
That's really what got the whole thing rolling, n'est ce pas?
Plus racers and car-hobby types the world over take long, cross-country drives to get to various race meetings, car shows and events, and what better traveling companions than Buddy, Julie, Big Ed, et al?
So we're going to need one or more major sponsors (already working on it) to make this thing happen the way I want it to and help spread the word once it does. And I believe it'll be worth it for them, since not only is the target market focused, upmarket and enormous (pardon me,"huuuuuge") the concept is open-ended time-wise. As the hard-copy book has proven. So, unlike a TV ad or sponsoring a specific event, this thing has the enduring shelf-life of a Christmas fruit cake (or an Egyptian mummy, take your pick).
Watch this space for further developments.
THE NEW BOOK:
OK, so I climbed Fool's Hill just a little. I was struggling a little with the new "Steamroller" book, and played hooky for many weeks to try and knock out one of the three "non-car" novels that have been rattling around in my head and gut for so many years (some of you have heard the basic story and been highly enthused about it). But I eventually began to see that there is no "knocking out" a complex novel and that I was looking at a likely 8-month project. It was wife Carol who finally made me realize that I really needed to wrap up the Steamroller saga first--there were people waiting for it--and go back to the other project when it was done.
Happy to say that I'm finally back on track with it, I'm liking how it's going (Buddy's back, by the way) and I think six or seven more months ought to do it.
Again, watch this space.
Skipped Daytona, Amelia Island and Sebring this year to work on the above (a little luster has come off the traveling snake-oil salesman lifestyle as well) but I did do our two local British Car Swap Meet and Ferrari Art & Memorabilia shows with excellent results. Can't believe how we keep turning over the same old soil and finding new people to buy the damn books. Amazing!
UPCOMING BURT SIGHTINGS
Look for me and all my crapola at:
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19th, 7pm, K-1 Indoor Kart Track in Addison, IL:
Looks like I'm the featured Trained Seal act at the Chicago Region SCCA's general membership meeting at K-1 in Addison. I'll be doing one of my self-serving (but hopefully entertaining) Power Point shows, but if I'm dull you can always go out and run the karts for awhile.
Should be fun...
THURSDAY APRIL 20th-SUNDAY APRIL 23: 40th HSR WALTER MITTY CHALLENGE at ROAD ATLANTA
This should be a biggie, what with four decades celebrating and Porsche as the Featured Marque. I hope to be doing some racing (boy, will it ever be great to get out in a car again!) plus I'll be hawking and signing books at the official HSR tent during lunch times & the 10am-12 noon Quiet Time on Sunday. Come by and say "Hi" if you're in the neighborhood.
Hope to see y'all there!