Thursday, June 29, 2006

Commencement Speech

Kurt Vonnegut on the writing trades:

They allow mediocre people who are patient and industrious to revise their stupidity, to edit themselves into something like intelligence. they also allow lunatics to seem saner than sane.

This is how I feel about writing, I just haven’t had the time to revise my stupidity enough to express it as well as Vonnegut.

Part of what has really helped my writing skills develop is that I have trouble forming sensible sentences with my mouth. With that being said, I just recently gave my first commencement speech.

The 5th graders at Woodland Heights were inspired and enlightened by my every word, but mostly they were hot, tired, and uncomfortable. The school doesn’t have A/C and they were sitting on the gym floor. I have pasted the unedited outline of my talk below (Note: the layout is a little screwy in the transfer to the blog - deal with it).

Warning: May cause uncontrollable picking and eating of boogers.

When people hear where I’ve been and what I’ve done they often say: “Aren’t you afraid? You must be brave.”
What it means to be brave…
Shark story
i. Shadow could be one of two things
ii. Shark Surprised
Brave or not brave?
i. Superman X-mas Tree
ii. Not brave because Knowledge is power and I know sharks and how rare an attack is.
Sharks like a school teacher

Jungle Snake story

Brave or not brave?
i. Stupid
1. No idea what we are getting into
2. Nothing brave about scurrying to the back of a canoe

What is bravery?
If swimming with shark and going into the jungle with snake and crocs isn’t brave what is…?
What scares me when I travel is meeting new people, making new friends
i. People, that’s what I remember the most
ii. Each person I meet has something new and different to teach me
1. 80 year old monk in Nepal who hasn’t spoken a word for 15 years
2. Guide in the jungle who gets paid $5 to accompany a crazy biologist into the jungle to whack poisonous snakes across the head
3. Each one of you

6th Grade: the Adventure
Opportunity to meet new people: teachers students
Explore a new environment
i. Familiar place boring

So be Brave. Make a lot of friends. Explore your new school. But before you set off on the adventure of 6th grade have a great summer.

Thank you


MG said...

It sounds like you have a lot to write about! Finding a subject is my biggest problem...

Lois Lane said...

Have you thought about writing a story about your mother? What must she be like to have inspired such an adventurous soul as yourself? There is surely an article there, or maybe a book!

Kelsey said...

Obviously you've never met my mother.