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I recently had the great fortune of hearing a powerful young man speak. The man was Curtis Tomasevich, a member of the USA Bobsled team that received the gold medal at the 2010 Olympics. He’s a local celebrity from Shelby, Nebraska, a little town in the middle of nowhere, population 670. But Curt sang great accolades to his home town. He credited them for allowing his dream to become reality. Before becoming a gold medal winner, he was a struggling athlete with monumental financial needs in order to make it to the Olympics. Without a medal, he was just another guy, competing as a member of a bobsled team. No sponsorships, no job, no rich relatives.

At a plea from Curt’s parents, his townsfolk went to work. They held benefits and street dances to raise money for Curt. While Curt’s teammates were happy to broadcast their metropolitan home towns were raising a few thousand dollars for their needs, Curt blushed as he revealed that his family and friends had raised over $25,000. Yes, you read it right. Over twenty-five thousand dollars! Aren’t family and friends great?

As Curt continued his talk, I couldn’t help but grasp onto his ‘three things to remember.’ He said…

1 - Remember where you came from. (for obvious reasons for Curt.)

2 - Remember where you are now. (he stressed this as he feels one needs to look at themselves and see what needs to be fixed so you can move forward.)

3 - Remember where you want to be. (with the dream in mind, you can focus on what it takes to get there.)

I have posted these three simple statements by my computer to remember them. Though not in the exact words as Curt expressed, these three small statements are very endearing to me.

1 – Remember where you came from. For me, where I came from is to remember who my family is, my friends, those that helped me on my way. Remembering my struggles. Remembering my accomplishments. For all this past made me the person I am today. If I hadn’t experienced that pain, if I hadn’t felt that joy, I’d be a totally different person for it. Embracing my past, good and bad, and rejoice in the person I am. There is no one else like me.

2 – Remember where you are now. This is one I sometimes forget. I think about the past, I think of the future…but I forget about the present. I forget to be thankful for the very moment I am living, for the things I have, and for the things I don’t. But I must remember the present, for that is what it is…a present, the gift of life, the beginning of my future.

3 – Remember where you want to be. I can’t help but smile as I think of this one. Everyone needs a dream, something to go after with all your heart and soul. I, myself, always dreamed of writing novels. But life got in the way for the longest time. I pushed my dream aside, but I never threw it away. After many years, I pulled that dream back out, dusted it off and got to work. Now, I have three middle-grade novels under contract an working on about four more. I think of what my life would have been like if I’d given up on my dream of writing. I can’t even imagine. Maybe I would have found another dream, but I would have missed out on the joy I feel when I open my soul to my fingers. And the giddiness I felt when I signed my first contract.

These ‘three things to remember’ are a wonderful tribute from Curt Tomasevich. And to me, they merge into every aspect of my life, from my job to my family to my home town. I even find these three things influencing my writing. Without these three things my writing would never be where it is now.

1. Past - I write from my experiences of the past. Happy, sad, good, bad, flavoring my stories with emotion. My characters flow from the people that have left their imprint on my life. I couldn’t write without my past and no one can write my stories because no one has ever been where I’ve been.

2. Present - There is no time like the present to create. But when my muse is blasting story after story and my fingers just aren’t keeping up or my internal editor is telling me I’m no good, it can be easy to give up and stop trying. This is my weakness, the flaw I see in my present. I must fix it…now…so I can move on to my future.

3. Future - I dream of my future, of writing that next novel that will truly touch my reader’s heart; to write a book my reader just can’t put down; to write something to make my reader feel good about themselves or about the world we live in. Without my dream, my desire, I am just a body, going through the day to day motions, ever searching. But with that dream, I have a direction, steering me to even more joy as I fulfill what I believe I’ve been created to do.

So relish who you are, where you came from and where you are going. Seize the day and celebrate. for there is only one you. Keep your dreams alive and go after them. Few are born with natural talent, but many are talented because they believed in their dream and did what they had to do to make it come true.

May all your dreams come true!
C.K. Volnek