Pursue Your Passion
Growing up I never thought I would live a normal life. The dream for my life was always full of adventure and pushing the limits of what other people thought could be achieved. There was never a specific plan for my life. I was one of those people who liked to keep every option open for as long as possible. I remember as a young man being taught that it would be smart to specialize so that I could excel in a few fields and bring myself guaranteed success but pursuing my own purpose was the only thing I cared about.
Michael and me shared many talks in which we came from opposite spectrums. His story about growing up in Surrey and the things he witnessed was not something I could relate to. I had different beliefs growing up but I believe our drive to succeed was very similar.
My reality was defined from a very young age by a relentless drive to become the best I could be. I know that sounds like the US Army slogan but it really came from a personal and unique place within myself that I rarely share with the outside world.
In short what I am trying to say is that as long as you feel like you have succeeded based on your own criteria, no shame should be felt. Pursue whatever passion that takes you where you want to be. Place less emphasis on the material reward and more attention to how it changes who you become as a person. Define your own definition of success and you will never fail.
The things I wanted for myself were not things I could show people and say "hey look at this" but in my heart I believed in my destiny. Destiny is very difficult to explain. It is something that must be believed with all your heart before it starts to take shape in your life. Many times in my life I have felt ridiculed for pursuing what I felt was my only reason for being on this planet. It is not the actual result or achievement of goals that mattered, but the development of a man who could command success in his life by just existing. I feel like my brothers are like this as well and I take great joy in seeing them develop into men that I proudly call my family. Men who proudly continue the tradition of my father who is my personal hero and the greatest man I have ever met in my life.
When I read the first chapter of Hooped the first thing that came to my mind was that this was written by a legitimate writer. An author of multiple books with a solid audience regardless of the subject matter. The fact that this is Michael's first book makes it much more impressive. As I became immersed in the story I could see how my own experiences could fit in such a reality. What came across was an accurate depiction of how I thought life in Surrey was for a large segment of young adults. The language used and the situations described were definitely believable. The pace was great and after years of not reading a book I finished Michael's novel in 24 hours.
The measuring stick of a good writer is an entertaining story with very readable content. The fact that this is Michael's first novel makes me believe he is on his way to becoming a great writer who will have a long and successful career with the written word.
Jimmy is a character who I can see existing in my own world and his point of view was something that really brought colour to a society in Surrey that is often ridiculed and marginalized. The supporting cast were people who added depth and flavour. Overall this was a very enjoyable read and I cannot wait for Michael's next release.