Photo by ShellskiNow we enter into my least favorite aspect of the creative process: Promotion. I adhere to a more Buddist approach to creativity: Create your work with true inspiration and the good Karma will carry the finished product to wherever it's meant to go. Create with the loving care of a parent, then turn it loose to find its own way in the world. How that happens is supposed to be out of my hands. Yet I must be willing to do the legwork to enable the process.
So it was that I found myself at a local car event last weekend, hocking my wares like the hucksters I often judge and condemn. I'd tried for weeks to find a high zoot wagon to display at my booth (preferably one from my book), but it apparently wasn't meant to be. On the opening morning of the show, the promoter approached me with the concept of sharing my booth space with some women selling raffle tickets to raise funds for school supplies for foster children. The $10 tickets bought chances at winning a finished '56 Handyman, with a 327/TH-350 combo. It turned out, my pal Chris Darland (Chris' Hot Rodz) had built the car for a local collector who donated it to the foster kid people. It felt like the thing to do and turned out to be.
My financial backers insisted I write a bio to display with the books and this is what they got:
WARNING! BOOK AUTHOR WARNING!
Born in a one-car garage he helped his father build in the shadow of Mt. Hood, automotive author Scotty Gosson was reportedly killed by a bear at Madras Drag Strip in 1966. Recently revealed records indicate Gosson was actually enrolled in an early experimental version of the witness protection program by the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles in 1964. He studied passenger vehicle chassis dynamics at an undisclosed location until entering a work release program at a rural Jackson County wrecking yard in 1974.
Upon being ‘outed’ by an Oregonian newspaper expose on underground writer/fabricators in 1997, Gosson went mainstream, authoring feature articles in Hot Rod, Hot Rod Deluxe, Car Craft, Rod & Custom, Drag Racing USA, Goodguys Gazette and other periodicals.
Now living in Medford, Oregon, Scotty Gosson works as an author for CarTech Inc. His current effort, ‘America’s Coolest Station Wagons’, has been lauded as “Okay” by the New York Times Book Review and Time magazine trumpeted, “It could be worse”. Vogue gushed, “Doesn’t suck too bad”, while the San Francisco Chronicle refused to accept their copy of the book. In the midst of his 54th year of zero consecutive Pulitzer Prize nominations (“Next year, for sure!”), Gosson’s next CarTech compilation, ‘Rat Rods (Rodding’s Imperfect Stepchildren)’ is due for a fall 2011 release.
This set the tone for my entry into corporate prostitution at an event I loathed, the Medford Cruise. Having grown up on Medford's streets in the 60s, it's torturous for me to hear this event promoted every year as a depiction of "Cruising, just like it was back in the day!" You bet. This "cruise" (like too many others across the country) is merely a parade on a couple miles of blocked off city streets at 5 MPH for the townfolk lining the sidewalks, hoping for more entertainment than that night's TV re-runs. Any of the behavior I'd once engaged in on those streets would get me instantly arrested (just like back in the day!) and scapegoated for "ruining it for all the 'real' car people". Gack!
But this was also my official coming out party as a bona fide author. I went with that and had a good time with the foster kid people and the curious who dropped by to see the book (including several encouraging friends). It was a pretty warm and fuzzy outing for this corporate whore.
I have more book events ahead this summer and this was a relaxed way to ease into my new role. Just for the record, I fried rubber all the way home after the final day of the show, then ran up the stairs to my office, where I clacked the keys for hours, in a desperate attempt to prove some integrity to myself, before falling asleep in a sweaty puddle of exhaustion.
Chances are, I'll eventually grow to accept promotion as necesarry to being self-supporting by my own contributions. That's one of my writing goals. Meanwhile, I'm the twitchy self concious guy, 'acting out' with smartass remarks delivered with a childish passive agressiveness. For everyone's sake, I hope to grow out of this phase soon.
Photo by Shellski