Wednesday, July 3, 2019

24 Hours of Le Mans: a bientot!

The advertising world is full of slogans like "Just Do It". Motivational memes are seemingly everywhere on the internet. Lots of these go unnoticed because they are so overused they are cliched or people just brush them off as marketing BS. But there are some phrases I take to heart and try to live my life by. This has become even more true this year as I recover from my lobectomy and continue my journey as a cancer survivor. One of my favorite slogans is "Dream Big". Living without dreams seems impossible to me now but there have been times in my life when disappointment or depression have muzzled my spirit and it has been almost impossible to dream. Thankfully I have not had that feeling for quite awhile and my cancer diagnosis earlier this year has served as a wake up call to live right now because we never know how much time we have left. Thank goodness I am cancer free now as a result of my surgery, so rather than the diagnosis being a death sentence, I look at it as a blessing in disguise.

As a kid and into my teens all I dreamt of was becoming a professional basketball player. I never got that opportunity and I understand in hindsight why that was the case even though I had a nice college career at the University of Chicago. That dream was hard to give up. There was also a time I dreamt of being a writer, and I used to write a lot of poetry, plus I have a book partially drafted that has languished in draft form for more than 20 years, so sometimes dreams just get put on hold when other responsibilities of adult life take over. Part of the reason I started this blog in 2007 was the realization that if I was ever going to be a writer, I had to actually write, and I've managed to stick with it since then even though I don't know who reads my posts about racing and my experiences as a motorsports photographer. That really doesn't matter - I need to write and practice the craft, the same as I do with my photography. We are what we believe we are and I am a photographer and a writer.

I often joke about getting "discovered" which I guess could happen, but there's lots of talented photographers and writers out there. I consider myself fortunate to have had photos published nationally in American media outlets such as the Associated Press and internationally in Autosport Japan magazine and French media companies AFP, Vision Sport Agency (VSA) and MPS Agency. I have no idea what level of distinction that affords me as a photographer, but I do know I have put a lot of work and study into making that happen over the years. As I continue to build on that history with work I love through the ARCA Menards Series or other creative endeavors like my grant project "Hoosier Cemeteries", I realize that I can't stop taking photos or writing without denying a huge part of who I am as a person. Shakespeare said "To Thine Own Self Be True" and I have discovered that to be absolutely essential in my life.

So how does the phrase "Dream Big" and the title of this blog post fit together? I've experienced the 24 Hours of Le Mans once already when I shot for Automobile Club de l'Ouest in 2017 thanks to my French friends at VSA. The thought of returning to work the event again has been ever present in my mind since then. I said at the time that our trip to France and Italy that year was the trip of a lifetime, but it can't be just a one time thing. Some people talk about fate or destiny or following God's will, but I like to think that the power of the universe will conspire with you to make things happen if you speak out and share your dreams. If you keep your dreams inside, there's no way the universe (or any human power) can help you. So this post is my sharing of a dream that's far bigger than me, and like the butterfly effect, I'm sending out ripples through the universe that I believe will help achieve this dream I have to go back to the biggest sports car race in the world.

If you think I don't have faith that this dream can come to fruition, then think again: I already have my lodging in Le Mans reserved for race week next year. Of course there is much work that I must do to put the rest of the pieces together. I hope to be here writing next year at this time to tell you about the whole experience and how everything fell into place as if by magic. American author Max Ehrmann, wrote in the 1920's in "Desiderata: A Poem for a Way of Life", “Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”  On that, I absolutely agree. Until next time, a bientot.

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