I have no idea how many regular readers I have out there, but I’m going through a little bit of existential angst when it comes to the dragster.
Some issues in my personal life have surfaced that brought other feelings to light – just about priorities, self-imposed pressure, simplifying life in order to have some peace of mind.
Since Mark’s passing I can look at myself in the mirror and say I’ve done my level best to move the build forward on sweat, creative bush- beating, and no budget.
But after much soul searching and feelings of intense self-imposed pressure, I have come to the conclusion that I have taken the dragster as far as I can on my own. I am at a crossroads. For the first time since it started, I’ve seriously contemplated letting the project go. Some folks I’ve talked to who are rooting for this to succeed have encouraged me to stick with it and try to find an alternate source of funding.
So after doing some research, I’ve looked into the possibility of a Kickstarter campaign to see if I could “crowdfund” the project. For those who don’t know, Kickstarter provides a platform for a large group of people to make small donations to endeavors that appeal to them—often art, film, design, or music projects—and those who donate get something from the person doing the project that is related to it, in exchange for their financial support. Say, if you help fund a film, depending on how much you donate you’ll get things ranging from private web links giving you access to outtakes, to a DVD copy of the film, to your name in the credits.
I could come up with some pretty cool things related to a dragster kickstarter campaign if it’s viable to go that route. Any small donation would get buttons and vinyl decals, next step up would get hand silk-screened t-shirts and posters – I’ve already talked to Jeff Norwell about a potential T-shirt design. For those in my area, finding ways to involve them with the car somehow – having a BBQ the day it’s ready to fire up for the first time, allowing folks to have a seat in it while it’s fired up, all the way to pit crew for a day and even their name painted on the car in a “thanks to” section.
BUT my apprehension to it is how a Kickstarter campaign might be received by those who would have an interest in such a thing. Part of me feels like “hey, people fund their own hot rods, and they would feel that if you can’t afford it on your own, you have no buisness doing it.” Worse yet, I’d hate for people to think “he’s got a lot of nerve for even thinking of asking for financial help.” I’d be mortified if folks who saw the Kickstarter campaign thought that was that I was some clueless mooch just trying to con other people and get a free ride by having other people pay for my car.
For those of you who don’t know me that well, I’m a divorced Dad of a teenager, and I’m still dealing with the economic ramifications of the divorce, and will be for the foreseeable future. I rent. If I was in better shape financially and owned a home I would take out a second to finish this, it’s that important to me. But I can’t. I’m usually scrambling to scare up side jobs, or selling things in order to make ends meet each month. I’m not trying to paint a sob story; it’s a reality that I know many of us face. I fully understand that a dragster—especially one that is much more of an art project than an actual race car— is a luxury, and that no-one is “entitled” to such a thing.
These feelings of angst all surfaced a couple of months ago when some big challenges hit hard, and ever since I’ve just been constantly turning it over in my mind, trying to come to some kind of resolution that I can be at peace with. I think about it constantly, which is why I finally need to write about it, hoping I’ll get some kind of clarity and feedback.
In the process of thinking of all of this, another truth has come to light just in the last few days that I hadn’t realized: doing this without Mark specifially, but in general terms without a true partner, has made the dragster project a terribly lonely pursuit.
By nature I’m a pretty introverted guy, but with something this big, sharing that dream – and working as a team with Mark- was a huge part of the enjoyment and made it all seem feasible. We had a plan, we had our roles in the project, we would feed off of each other’s enthusiasm – especially during the down times when we had to wait to be able to afford the next step.
Also from a pragmatic sense, two guys can run a dragster, one can’t. Mark had the truck and trailer, and we would have taken the car out to the track together with equal amounts of enthusiasm. He’d tune, I’d drive, and we’d both get equal enjoyment from our car.
As it is now, I would have to bug one of a couple of friends who have trucks and trailers to do me a favor and either let me borrow their rig or give me a tow. I’d have to bug other friends to help crew out at the track, and when it’s not their project or main interest, my worry is just this feeling that I’d be imposing. I don’t know how often you can ask folks for that kind of help when it’s not really their deal. None of the close friends I have who I would typically ask are drag racing guys. They can appreciate it on some level, but it’s not an enthusiasm they own. So that adds some seeds of doubt and stress as well.
I really, really love the car, and just about the time I make the decision that it probably would be best if I sold it, I’ll look at an old drag racing video or see a photo of a cool 1960’s digger and I’ll go 180 degrees out and think “no, I’ve got to find a way to finish the car” and get all jazzed abut it again. But in time, I’ll think about the magnitude of the project compared to my resources and I feel that kind of depressed stress again. It just goes back and forth, and frankly it’s driving me a little nuts.
So dear reader, if you are so inclined I would be interested in your opinion. Just another voice that is not my own, because I’m not doing a very good job at coming to my own conclusion. What would you do if you were in my shoes? How would you feel about the Kickstarter idea?
Thanks for bearing with me- I know you are looking at this to find out about a dragster project, not read a soap opera.