Monday, April 7, 2008


Where does inspiration come from?

A couple of recent events have me pondering this question. Event One: Collette has agreed to do a charity walk to benefit breast cancer research. The walk is in September and it is over a two day time period. Event Two: The Greg Awards at St Lawrence College are underway this weekend and I have once again been asked to judge and to present.

Collette has undertaken her crusade to honour the people in our family who are breast cancers survivors. Her sister in law, Nancy, and my sister in law, Eartha, have both come out the other side of the rabbit hole from this terrible disease. It seems just about anyone of a certain age has had some kind of contact with cancer and this particular form of it. Collette was also inspired by her niece Billie-Marie, who has done the walk before and elicited her support.

These strong women, I think, are a source of inspiration for Collette. She has one of the biggest hearts of any human I know, and a powerful urge to help; its why she is so good working with the troubled kids in this world.

Now, this walk is 60 klicks. Over two days. With my physical limitations I could never imagine doing something like that. My one and only experience walking and playing a golf course put me out of commission for two days. Yet here is Collette, someone who is not an athlete (but look how damn cute she it) throwing herself into a training regimen with discipline and alacrity. That inspires me. I know it is inspiring to other people. Collette is shocked by such a reaction; it is her who has been inspired, how could she inspire any one else?

I am thinking that the women who inspired Collette, our sister in laws, may also be surprised that they are a source of inspiration. What they did, in beating this disease probably was just survival. We see it as a fight, a terrible, unfair, one sided fight that they won, thru grit and determination. Inspiration indeed.

That brings us to the Greg Awards. This is the annual video competition for the students of the Advertising and Marketing Program at St Lawrence College in Kingston, Ontario. Twenty five years ago, I entered that program with all intentions of being a copywriter; without any ego (shut up, I can so not have an ego .. well, for a moment, anyway) I know that I could have achieved this goal. But I met a guy name Tom Harpell, saw my first 3/4" Sony U-Matic edit suite and was fucked for life. Tom inspired me, and does so to this day.

So every year I return to the college to participate in the ceremony and lend my expertise as a judge. (I have to go, they named the editing award after me) Every year I am inspired by what these student, many of them young enough to be my children (oooooh scary thought, VJ's spawn) manage to accomplish with no funds, little time and restricted equipment. They inspire me, they give me a shot of energy. Would they be surprised that some wet behind the ears student could inspire a professional with more than two decades experience?

Probably no more surprised that I am, when some student lets me know that I inspire them. Usually none of them have even seen any of my work. It is the fact that I started where they are, and have come this far, that inspires them, that motivates.

Collette was inspired by the courage of Nancy and Eartha. I am inspired by Collette's dedication and discipline. The students of the Greg Awards are inspired by professional journey. And I am inspired by their excitement, and their ability to see the future as something they can change.

Ah, there we are. That's the inspiration. Changing the future. Nancy and Eartha were thrust into a situation that had a pre determined outcome. They changed it. Collette sees an outcome she wants to come to pass so she is changing her routine and body to achieve it. The St Lawrence students are dedicated to a future that is really only a vision to them.

And me? I'm going to chronicle Collette's journey, I'm going to aid my expertise to the Greg Awards and I am not going to question where it is that inspiration comes from. I'm just going to take it, and carry it with me into the future.

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