This post is my contribution to Shot@Life's Blogust Blog Relay For Good.
Thirty of us are sharing stories of the power of comments on our blogs or people that comment and who inspire us. All of this is to help raise awareness for the work Shot@Life does and to raise a lot of money.
Every comment left on this post will initiate a $20 donation to help immunize a child in a developing country, so please get vocal.
I chose Clarence Smith Jr. because he is a dear friend that not enough people know about. He is the founder of BOLD Edition, a photographer with a great eye and a writer of considerable skill. He has written a novel that he shared a chapter at a time online and did a limited run web comic about his family life. To put it simply, he is mad talented.
He doesn't comment often, but when he does I know I've created something worthy of his attention and that means a lot. Clarence doesn't mince words and always cuts to the point.
Over breakfast earlier this year, I dubbed him a "mixtape journalist" because of the way he loves to tell stories across multiple forms of media. He seemed to enjoy it, even if he didn't fully embrace it.
Clarence is a busy man and father, so he doesn't create as often as I'd like. I'm constantly pushing him to do more. The world needs to consume his words and enjoy the world through his eyes. If you need an example look to this post about the tornados that hit Monson, MA last year.
Recently he bought a beautiful new motorcycle and has been putting miles under it this summer. He'll share the occasional Instagram photo from his journeys, but I'm hoping for more because I have a feeling on those open roads his mind wanders with words bouncing around along with the gravel under the tires.
I'm inspired by him for multiple reasons. His inability to bite his tongue when he has something to say. His dedication to the importance of barbershops and the knowledge he gains when he sits in the chair. A never ending love of Kool-aid, comic books and video games. All of these make him the unique friend that he is.
I'll never forget the first time we met.
A mutual friend had said we should meet each other and so we got together for dinner. I'll always remember him grinning like a naughy five year old as he told me, "watch me mess with our waiter." He proceeded to order a veggie burger with bacon I knew I liked this guy. We've been tight ever since.
We don't live that far apart, but with us both having busy family lives and other commitments we don't see each other as often as I wished.
One of the few photos of us together that I know about is this one that Steve Garfield captured. It always makes me smile.
I firmly believe that Clarence has a bright future ahead of him.
He has the chops to be a storyteller on a whole new level and I hope someone gives him the chance to do that. When he hits the street with his Leica and Field Notes I know he is going to come back with something unique and completely him. He writes in a way that I can't and while that irks me somedays, it more often pushes me to write better.
He is going to read this, shake his head and give me a hard time about it. But, it is from the heart and I mean every word of it.
My world is a better place because Clarence Smith Jr. is in it. I'm inspired and pushed and always love our conversations. I can only imagine what sort of comment he is going to leave here.
Keep pushing buddy and don't ever give up!
Because this is a relay, I now have the pleasure of handing it over to Liz Gumbinner from Mom-101. She is an absolute peach and always has something great to say so definitely check her out tomorrow (and beyond).
Please don't forget to comment, so that children around the world can benefit from the great work Shot@Life does.
Say hello, tell me someone that inspires you or make up a funny poem. Whatever you comment, it helps!
About Shot@Life: Shot@Life educates, connects and empowers Americans to champion vaccines as one of the most cost-effective ways to save the lives of children in developing countries. A national call to action for this global cause, the campaign rallies the American public, members of Congress, and civil society partners around the fact that together, we can save a child’s life every 20 seconds by expanding access to vaccines. By encouraging Americans to learn about, advocate for, and donate vaccines, the United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign will decrease vaccine-preventable childhood deaths and give children a shot at a healthy life. Find out more on their site, Facebook or Twitter.