When I lived and worked in Nashville, TN, I was having a tough time making ends meet. Josie and I had moved there right after college, and things weren't working out as smoothly as we had thought they would. Even when I got a graphic design job, and Josie was working at a care facility, money was tight and morale was low. However, at my job there was a gentleman that I worked with named Jerold, and he became a friend and mentor to me. We would have long discussions about the everything from TV, to culture, and even the meaning of life and existence. Sometimes I would work the night shift with him, and he would grill us jerk chicken in the back of the building while I told him about my book projects and artistic aspirations. He was always so encouraging, and interested - and he went out of his way to make me feel like I had a grand future ahead of me if only I would abandon the doubt I felt in myself. Our time in Nashville ended on a bit of a sour note, but I've always remembered his friendship fondly, and keep his belief in my potential close to my heart. It really inspired to keep working toward my goals, and I always promised myself that I would take the positive energy he always shared with me and pay it forward. So for anyone who is reading this that has put aspirations and dreams to the side - PICK THEM UP! You have a destiny, and sharing your passion and gifts is part of that. The world needs the love that you possess - it is the meaning for you existence. I think that we all were meant to share the power inside of us. I've always respected the faith and beliefs of others, and no matter if you pray to God, Allah, Yaweh, or find your spiritual inspiration in nature or the universe as a whole, I think that there is a grander purpose out there for all of us - even if that purpose to inspire just one person. Faith and belief can literally change the world, so make that change a positive one. So hold on to your dreams with all of your might, and create where ever you can. The act of creation is the closest we ever get to the divine.
(Brian drops mic, and slowly steps down from the podium.)