LeeAnn Brook: Sports, art and inspiration
I don’t know if it was the mimosa at South Pine Cafe in Nevada City on my first day off in quite a while, or if it was the forthcoming birth of my first grandchild, but something was stirring in this inspired-filled mind of mine.
When I stopped to think about it, it was something I read in The Union on Memorial Day (accompanied of course, by my usual espresso … thus, the source of inspiration). It was this morning that I read the sports page first. A rare occurrence in my reading patterns, where I usually go to where everyone my age goes first: the front page, the obituaries, and then to my horoscope. And of course, I then go to the art happenings in the Prospector in Thursday’s paper. I may get to the other parts of the paper, depending on if I have time for that second latte.
But today was different. Robert handed me the sports page, as he grabbed the front page first. I was immediately sucked in by the story about our hometown-boy-made-good, Alexander Rossi. Now I must say, the Indy 500 has never been at the top of my radar. It didn’t resonate with anything I might do in my next painting. Gas, speed and gears only might appear in my next mixed media abstract painting. But this! This was a story that had me enthralled, captivated and inspired. I reflected back on the many years that I would hear about this young man and his thrill for racing, all in small-town America, Nevada City, California. I had never met him, but was amused by his love for racing that started with a go-kart.
And who woulda’ thought? Winner of the Indy 500? Now that is inspiration.
And so I read on. And this time, I went from the sports page to the front page, and there was the rest of the story, beautifully summed up by editor Brian Hamilton. The last paragraph of Rossi’s success had me hanging on his every words:
“Take no shortcuts, work harder than your competitors, make the sacrifices, build the necessary relationships, and lastly, first learn how to lose.”
And it was serendipity that I then read my other favorite column, by Machen MacDonald: Reading Machen’s column is like doing crossword puzzles made easy. I’ve always struggled with crossword puzzles, so thank you Machen, for clearly spelling out what you are talking about, by the use of acronyms. In this article, he defined (or shall I say re-defined) the definition of S-T-R-E-S-S. Now I won’t say the reason that the word stress had any special meaning to me (did I mention that I opened a gallery in downtown Nevada City nearly a year ago, on a whim and gut feeling that it was the right time? Or did I mention I am about to be a first-time grandmother while running such gallery?) I only know that I was compelled to have Machen teach me a thing or two. And that he did. He eloquently addressed areas as many of us entrepreneurs all face. In kind and inspiring words, he re-defined the solution.
And, in case you were wondering, that is what tied my thoughts between Rossi’s win, Machen’s wisdom and my mimosa, all together.
It was the power of ourselves. A concept so simple, but something we so easily put aside so many times. It was the belief that we can do. The key concept to me is if it inspires us, if we love it, we need to devote the time into perfecting our craft, so that we can rise to the occasion that is given to us once in a great while. It is the occasion that confirms our belief in ourselves. It may be a race. It may be financial success. Or, it may be a simple truth like mine:
(And Machen, this is for you): My acronym is A.R.T.: Art Rings True — true to yourself, true to others who are inspired by your craft, and true to a dream. I think there’s an Alexander Rossi in all of us. It’s simply a matter of how we stay true to our dream (along with a couple of mimosas, or milk, in Rossi’s case).
LeeAnn Brook lives in Nevada City.
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