The motorcycle story

While running, I saw it.

Parked next to others, tail outward, resting between two chalky diagonal lines.

I don’t even recall the color of its body because a memory came at me fast and smooth as my eyes swam over the details and took in the word, Ducati.

The memory felt easy. The images that came to mind were familiar; it was the same sequence that unfolded every time I saw a motorcycle with this name.

I remember the way his eyes looked as he explained what he wanted me to know with the simplicity of passion.

Many years ago, my friend and I were walking to work through the backstreets that wound around the neighborhoods close to the college campus; we were both waiters at the same restaurant. He stopped abruptly, got quiet and looked down at a lone red motorcycle parked on the gravel. His face softened and he shook his head for a moment as we stood in silence. Then, he raised his gaze, locked his shining eyes on mine and with excitement in his voice he said: 

“This is a Ducati — one of the greatest motorcycles ever made. I love this bike.” He paused for a moment and then continued.

“You know what makes it the best?”

“No”, I said.

“Balance”, he said, almost in a whisper. “They are the most perfectly balanced motorcycles made in the world”.

I could feel the deep admiration and joy my friend was feeling as he slowly walked around the motorcycle and I remember the yellow heat of the Texas sun and the dust on the tips of our shoes.

This is what passed through my mind while on my morning run today, in a different city, far away from the place of that memory.

This is what passes through my mind when I see a Ducati, every time. I’ve never actually taken a ride on one, but if I ever need to acquire, recommend or eulogize about a motorcycle, without a second thought, this will be it.

The decision would be easy because of the sincere, poetic description my friend shared with me that day, many years ago. Balance. I had never thought of a motorcycle that way before, and it stayed with me.

Not because of the fast cuts of a television commercial, or the buzz of a digital campaign, or the flesh of a woman in a magazine ad.

None of that evokes a deep connection to memory and understanding. I know something about these motorcycles; I know something about their essence and their art. And that’s the difference.

Now what does this motorcycle story have to do with what you create?


Go make something that stands apart from the rest. Make something that you care about. Push yourself and show us your talent. Don’t give up, even if it feels too hard at times, and find help if you need it.

Take the risk.

Give us something to remember, something we can connect to, something that we will describe to others with a precious single word.

Give us something that makes our eyes shine.

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