Commencement speeches

My wonderful daughter-in-law, Siwei, earned her second LLM (Master of Laws- this time in taxation), and we celebrated her hard work and accomplishments last night and today.  I listened in awe as the dean of Boston University’s School of Law gave her moving commencement speech this morning.   Dean Maureen O’Rourke spoke with passion and eloquence. She spoke about the state of our political mess. Some might say she spoke in code.   I don’t have a problem with code. You don’t need a law degree to read between the lines of her speech.  You don’t need a law degree to feel moved by the words from Declaration of Independence.  Referring to the rich diversity of the student body, the inclusive nature of the community,  the importance of standing up to the nonsense and dangerous people who want to change the very fabric of our nation–her words gave me hope. I wish I had a copy of her speech.  I imagine she’s not the only commencement speaker in this country praising knowledge and reason, compassion and action over ignorance, complacency, and fear mongering.    I can’t imagine any commencement speaker inspiring graduates with this “advice”:  Go out there and build a wall-the taller the better-and get someone else to pay for it.  Go forth and discriminate against people who dress differently, practice a religion you don’t know much about–and you don’t really want to know about because you shouldn’t care. Never worry about those who suffer every day in this country from the indignities of poverty, and the millions of people in other places in this world who must leave their war ravaged homes just to survive. They’re not your problem.  The environment?  Why should you care about the planet?  There are other planets out there.  You worked hard, you earned your degrees–so enjoy the fruits of your labor, graduates.   Congratulations!  

No, you won’t hear that commencement speech, thank goodness.  And yet, this year you just might hear something like it from a Republican presidential candidate (code for Trump).  Go figure.

Eat, Love, Write

Last night I had the pleasure of listening to three incredible artists talking about creativity at The Connecticut Forum in Hartford.  Elizabeth Gilbert, Niles Rodgers, and Bill T. Jones are inspirational in unique ways.  I may never find an agent, a publisher, an enthusiastic reader (other than my husband) or anything close to fame and fortune. .. but thank you Elizabeth, Niles and Bill for reminding me to listen to that mosquito in my ear, that invisible pest on my shoulder telling me to “WRITE.”

 

Elizabeth GilbertNile RodgersBill T. Jones

May 11, 2016

I just read through January’s resolutions.  I think I need to start over.  Not that I’ve been wasting my time mind you.  In fact, as a retired school principal/pre-published writer, I’ve been happy and productive.  It’s just I forgot to read my resolutions after writing them. Apparently just writing them down and even publishing them on your blog isn’t enough.  Especially if you tend to forget silly things like resolutions.

This month:  I attended  The SCBWI Conference in Springfield, MA.  Learned a ton about writing Middle Grade novels.  I’ve also continued to write my own MG novel, which is without a title at the moment, but is about a toothless dog named Chester and a Magic 8 Ball.  It’s really about a girl who feels she has no control over the events in her life.

New Resolutions for the rest of May and all of June:

  • Reread resolutions at least once a week. No more forgetting!
  • Post to my blog at least once a week.
  • Complete draft of MG novel.
  • Read 4 more MG novels.
  • Send The Surrogate- my adult psychological thrillerto more agents (Remember, MD sent queries to 100 agents before finding the one.  I’m not even close to 100. I’m not even close to 50.)
  • That colonoscopy–Just do it!

INSPIRATION:  I’m always on the lookout for inspiration.  This month I discovered a Chinese proverb.  The best time to plant a tree is 10 years ago.  The second best time is now.   (I supposed one could say the same about colonoscopies.)

BEST BOOK READ THIS MONTH:    Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson.  HOW DID I MISS THIS BOOK?  It’s been around for well over ten years.  Oh, right. The best time to plant a tree or read a book or schedule a colonoscopy is. . . the second best time is now.