"Look, Ma! I'm a Legitimate Automotive Journalist Now!"

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Photo by Jason Palmer

So, I'm being silly with the title. I have every right to be. You work hard over the decade to get somewhere in life. Then, you begin the reap the rewards!

On December 30th, I received an e-mail from the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the regional organization for professionals covering and serving the automotive industry, congraulating me on being accepted for membership into their organization. It was something I was working towards in my professional life as a writer.

Being a member of M.A.M.A. has its privileges. Some of which you will see on these pages and in Lavender Magazine.

On their site, I have my own member page where I could express myself within the confines of the membership. This was my first entry – some of which you may already know by reading this site over the years.

Now, then…

It is my sincerest thanks to the Board of Directors of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and its membership committee for welcoming me as a new member to this organization. I am looking forward to participating in as many M.A.M.A. events as I can.

It's been quite a climb getting here – ten years in the making. My love for the automobile and of automotive journalism began much earlier as soon as I could read. Jack and Jill was fine, but Motor Trend was better. Bypassing Laura Ingallas Wilder and Ernest Hemmingway for David E. Davis, Jean (Lindamood) Jennings, P.J. O'Rourke, L.J.K. Setright…too bad the Los Angeles Unified School District could not include them in the read curriculum.

L.A. is my hometown – born and somewhat bred. It's the perfect place to learn about the automobile. Where I grew up, I was not far from Casa de Cadillac, perhaps the classic dealership from the post-war era. A Ferrari is daily sighting, so are celebrities driving them. I did not come from the class where a family member had a Mercedes or a Lincoln to arrive in at the house. My personal automobile ownership history was only highlighted by an Acura Integra in 1990. It went downhill from there.

What I loved about the freedom I had behind the wheel was the exposure to various automobiles in my lifetime. It helped in comprehending what I dreamed of doing – automotive journalism. Writers have a gift of the language. I learned through poetry, sports blogging and the occasional rant about culture, community and society. Underneath it all is the love for the automobile. A passion that needed to be channeled, but tempered with a critical eye.

In 2001, I was asked by an old colleague in a subculture of the LGBT community to become the managing editor for an online magazine based out of Chicago. I was in Madison, Wisconsin just biding my time until something better came along. We agreed that I had a it of free reign to write in my column what I want. I did a few automotive pieces and covered both the 2002 and 2004 Chicago Auto Show. Little did I know I was embarking on a new form of journalism using a paperless medium to convey thoughts, ideas and criticism about the automobile. Concurrently, this parlayed into another column on a nationally-based online magazine geared towards a wider LGBT audience.

Since then, I moved to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. My passion for the automobile was in tact, despite subzero winters that challenged my winter survival skills and summers full of mosquitoes. I kept at my trade through a general blogsite. That turned into a couple more trips to the Chicago Auto Show – 2011 spent during press days. Then, everything just exploded. I became more involved in my automotive writing and channeled that energy into a rebranding and refocusing of my main site – Victory & Reseda.

Then came Lavender Magazine. After writing five pieces under the previous editor-in-chief, I was introduced to the new one by a friend in advertising sales. She talked about revamping the website with lifestyle-type writing. She loved the fact that I wrote about automobiles. One thing led to another – and now I have Lavender and V&R as my outlets for my automotive writing.

To explain, Lavender is a Minneapolis-based LGBT glossy with a reach within the Upper Midwest. Their website is another channel to have both localized and national coverage. I'm mostly on their website, putting out my automotive reviews and other newsworthy items to the LGBT audience. On occasion, my work will appear in print – at the whim of the editor-in-chief.

V&R is where all the art truly lives. The site is about taking the news and analyzing it, reviewing automobiles with a dash of humor and consumer advice, taking liberty on the history of the automobile and pining for a dream drive in a Skoda Superb stateside or a former symbol of fascism on the streets in and around Buenos Aires. One could dream, right?

Getting here has been a heck of a climb. But, no one rests on their laurels. I am proud to be here and is looking forward to becoming a part of M.A.M.A. – even with no snow on the ground and temperatures hovering around freezing.

Thank you, fellow members!

…and thank you for being a part of this journey. The year is just getting started! Just sit back and get ready for some more of what's in store on this site!

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