Wheels and writing do not match! At least that has been the look on a few of my customers faces when they learn I wrote a book. Next they think I've written some text book, probably related to automotive somehow. On the other hand, some of the responses were that they are not surprised anymore about anything I'm doing and that they know I turn everything into gold I touch.
Maybe however, that is why I didn't sit down ten years ago to write a novel. Maybe I thought it would be weird for a German Native-Automotive business owner like me to write a book. I don't know and all these years stories and images piled up in me. I'm a very deep thinker, I pay attention to the smallest details when you least expect it. All these years, I knew I had it in me, but instead of writing a novel I thought, How cool would it be if there was a movie of the images and stories I see?
But first lets get back to the odd match of "greasy hands" and something as fatigue as words on white paper.
As a young child our mom used to carry my brother and I once a year to the traveling stuntman show in town called "Hell Drivers." I was fascinated by flipping cars and dirt bike jumps through fire or over volunteers. I must have been no more than 8 years old then. Every morning when my older brother went to work and I had some time before I had to get ready for school, I would sneak in his room, lay on the bed and listen to his radio, eyes always closed I would drift into other worlds. Sometimes I saw myself performing in front of large crowds, often I sang along. Other times I was the stuntman, racing at high speeds toward ramps, crowds cheering. Even then I noticed that I matched particular songs to certain images and scenes.
As I grew older I constantly got in trouble with my old brother. It never failed, he always found out I messed with his stereo and records while he was at work. My mom knew not to interrupt while I laid on the sofa listening to loud music. Still followed by the same images I wanted more, make them real. So I got some friends together and we became dare devils on bicycles. We built ramps up to 3 ft high and jumped them with our bikes. Later I added more challenges, we gathered volunteers from the near by playground. They were placed in front of those ramps. Nobody ever got hurt :-) I got in trouble one time when I came home with my jacket burned in several spots. I had gone to a local vegetable store and asked for the wooden vegetable boxes in their trash pile. We stacked them in front of the ramp and set them on fire, (I was crazy) as I took a running start and neared the ramp, a friend poured more gasoline on the boxes. It was an awesome feeling crashing threw them.
Meanwhile at home, I kept track of everything we mastered. I made my own portfolio that showed drawings and real pictures of our stunts. Other kids heard of us and wanted to join in, but we stuck to our little group. Still into music, in the afternoons I would dream up how we would travel around and become famous.
As I grew to a teenager I calmed down a lot, still dreaming up things under the influence of music and changing them into reality. (Watch me get carried away here) At the age of 15 I traveled across Germany on a moped. That one almost made the newspaper as our German mopeds reached no more than 15 mph top speed. I was known as the master drifter when I was 18 and had my first car. I would drift many turns in my city perfectly and never wrecked! Friends were eager to drive with me. That was in the mid 80's.
Later on I got really deep into cars, I graduated from Automotive trade school in Germany (some of you know how hard that is, like college!) Still a dare devil, I started taking old junk cars I traded in to our local industrial park, built ramps and flipped them there with the help of onlookers, friends and customers (some pic's on my myspace. myspace.com/benzman01)
Today I still listen to music and dream away, but it's different now. The images are more random as I get animated by text and lyrics. Most of my debut novel came together this way. I must say though, while they are more random now, my imagination still lets me add scenes and events. Sometimes I observe things being around so many people everyday. I often get intrigued, run home and turn on some music and make the images flow in my mind no different than a movie. In most cases I write immediately afterward. Needles to say my novel has a soundtrack :-) To be more specific, it's a list of songs in the order of the events and scenes in my novel.
However, none of my writing would mean anything if it wasn't for meeting a few very special people in the last two years. My special thanks go out to Jennifer Turner, who is as professional in writing as I am in my profession as a Mercedes Benz tech, who recognized my potential while I had doubts. Then there is Karen Syed who gave my efforts a whole new meaning, who changed my life to the point that I wake up every morning anew with the insurance that my efforts were well worth it. Every single morning I wake up, momentarily admiring that one dollar bill tapped to the ceiling above my bed. I placed it there after adding some zero's with a magic marker. Not that money means that much to me, but one day I swore myself, my book sales will reach that number and more. I will remember the day I drew the extra zero's as a support that I will never forget that anything is possible and every dream can come true if you work at it.