Commentary: Four Years In

Four years of doing this can make you look like this - Photo by Randy Stern
Four years of blogging on the automobile could make you look like *this* – Photo by Randy Stern

How do you celebrate four years of being a blog?

Do you throw a party? Do you go out to dinner and add a few cocktails in the mix? Do you put together an event where others can celebrate by getting their cars detailed and hoon on the exit?

None of the above, to be honest.

You reflect. You look back and celebrate the good. You evaluate and seek improvement. You thank everyone for their support.

These past four years had their highlights and low points. V&R has been the backbone of a writing career where it has been mainly positive. Apparently, you like the writing and support it by your readership here and in other places where my byline appears. For the most part, I received my share of good tidings. There were people who question my evaluation – a few questioning my methodology and results. But, I have never received any feedback stating that my writing was utter garbage that I should go back to a job making $13.00 an hour and die doing so.

Perhaps the latter is a good thing. Not that it feeds the ego, but it helps to guide towards improving the craft. To seek opportunities that will benefit your readership and continue to cultivate their support. The license to stretch the subject matter while ensuring a level of quality to tell the story. I do my best, absolutely! Sometimes, I know when I fall short of expectation. Still, I have to straighten out my backbone to handle the criticism every time it comes my way.

The eyes that read this site has increased. That I do notice. You seek a different point of view on the automobile and its culture. Different than who? It is the task I undertake in ensuring that my voice is distinctive and comes from a part of culture and society that does not seek conformity and challenges the status quo and other localized behaviors. It is one that understands the rich history of the automobile and finds its context in today's diverse landscape.

But how? Consider this: It is easy to take the negative path. Hatred is easy to do. Love takes a lot of work. One has to be open to love. One must be able to embrace a culture and find common ground, even if each life is different at home.

This is how V&R has changed me. It has taught me to embrace automotive culture. It has given me access to community that has levels of common ground where we all come together for the love of the automobile. That alone is the highest level of common ground.

It is not a perfect place, however. Let me say this: There is no such place as a perfect one on this planet. You tread on where you walk – or drive – and embrace what is there. It is called survival, which turns into success. In these past four years, I am proud to embrace V&R's successes, as well as my own personal ones.

Has this four-year journey yielded riches? Not monetarily, but in understanding, experience and the ability to interpret them into words and pictures. It has brought me friendships, colleagues, alliances – more than any endeavor that I undertook in my lifespan. It is still a learning experience as I seek to further this career by making deeper inroads upon current levels of workflow and output.

One is never satisfied with a level of success. One must strive towards working to improve the craft, deepen relationships and strive for the next level.

Four years have been clocked. Now to year five. Let's see what adventures loom in the horizon.

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