Writer’s Diary: The Very Beginning

I had this idea today. I have a lot of ideas, to be honest – most of which will never see the light of day (let alone the illumination of your respective electronic devices). This idea, though, seemed like a fairly reasonable one. Plus, it totally feeds my ego, so here we are.

It seems to me, as I observe the growth of readership here at WinLightNews.com, that not everyone knows who is behind these words. It is I! Kelly Wade.

Welcome, hello, so nice to see you here.

At this moment in time, I am the purveyor of WinLight Communications, the sole writer of content for this website and its social media channels (linked at the bottom of this correspondence), and the possessor of the only set of eyes reviewing said content before it goes live. Please be kind. Although I wish very much to be perfect, I absolutely am not.

A little about me personally: I was born and raised in Southern California, and it will always be my home. I currently reside in both Tennessee (on a ranch south of Nashville with my husband, the world-famous engine builder and machinist Patrick Topolinski) and in Texas (in the suburbs north of Austin with my children, the luminescent Tori Bishop and her husband Zach, their son Maddox, and my youngest daughter, the delightfully poetic Erin Camille Wade).

My professional life in racing began in 2007, when I was accepted into the NHRA family as an associate editor for National Dragster, be still my gosh darn heart. Prior to racing, I wrote about fashion and the people within it for Hot Topic and their sister company, Torrid. Please note that this is a somewhat inflated summary, but again, my ego.

At a fashion show with my sisters in 2006 for Torrid, a division of Hot Topic, Inc.

While writing for the Internet department at Hot Topic, Inc., I found myself increasingly dissatisfied as I continued to “climb the corporate ladder,” as they say. The company itself was incredible – the culture is unparalleled, and I do miss parts of the experience even now – but I felt perpetually out of alignment. The people were so amazingly cool, the music was life-giving, the interviews with VIPs in the world of fashion were impactful and changed my life. But always, there was something missing. So, I began to search. I opened my eyes, I thought about what made my heart beat wildly, and when I finally caught sight of it, I staked my claim.

I was at my dad’s house for Sunday barbecue, a family tradition that in other parts of the country might be called a “cookout” or “grilling out.” We were sitting in lawn chairs out back while the barbecue heated, and conversation turned to my work and how unsatisfying it had become. I boldly proclaimed that I’d been thinking about something in drag racing, maybe NHRA, if only I could write for them. Then my mother said that she knew someone that worked there. Monica, her friend from church, worked in accounting.

With my dad, grill master Hugh Rice, and grandfather, Bob Skelley. They both grew up in Southern California and, consequently, understood hot rod and car culture on a deeply personal level.

All at once, the reality of the situation became unquestionably evident. To that point, I do believe I considered NHRA akin to a castle in the sky. Glendora, Calif., was just one town over from where I grew up, but NHRA –headquartered there – was nothing more than a wispy vision in my mind.

Except now I had evidence of its existence as a real-life entity. They were paying someone my mother personally knew. THEY WERE REAL. NHRA wasn’t just a vague notion of a governing body, it was a business! It was a business with real employees housed Monday through Friday, 8:30 to 5:30, within actual brick and mortar walls.

That very evening, I scrolled to the bottom of the NHRA.com home page and landed upon a button marked “careers.” I clicked.

The course of my life changed dramatically with that click. More on that in the next episode.

See you next Sunday, if you’re so inclined.

Follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook: @kellywadewrites

Photo credit for main image: David Smith 2013

3 thoughts on “Writer’s Diary: The Very Beginning

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  1. Kelly- this is awesome. You are inspiring to those of us that struggle to deliver content to capture our audience…..

    One day I may actually bear my soul of all the mistakes I have made in my life.

    Looking forward to the next one!

  2. In 2008 you found my RV at Pomona and was ready to write ✍🏼 my championship story. Talented is an understatement. Within minutes you weren’t just there to do your work, a friendship was born that still lasts to this day. Thank you for everything you continue to do. I’ll be reading. Hope to see you soon and enjoy the Holidays,

    Lee Zane

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