Wednesday, August 8, 2012

World Listen Up

Another essay for another 'ship:

I stepped to the podium, palms sweating, throat constricting, tongue drying, cumbersome in a mouth that’s suddenly parched. As I looked at the crowd of fresh-faced high school seniors, fidgeting with their caps, eager to hear the words beginning this first of many momentous occasions in their life, my mind raced, tripping over the lines to the speech I was to give.

I was asked to open this ceremony via a student-generated online petition. Apparently, the few pieces of fictional fodder I had written were popular enough with the young adult set to temporarily label me as “cool” (something I was not during my own high school years) and to warrant the press’s presence as evidenced by the cameras trained on my face.

The pressure was on to say something as “cool” and entertaining as the black scribbles across their e-reader screen. I wrestled for a fortnight, tossing out ideas, copying, pasting, and rearranging my thoughts on my computer, trying to force sense on the nonsensical, to share a life lesson the kids can carry with them in the 140-character restricted format in which they think.

But life doesn’t make sense; sometimes-- most times, the good loses and the bad wins—initially. Like any good book, life is filled with unexpected plot twists, brilliant antagonists, and, seemingly, unending struggle.  But, also, like any good book, those trials are there for character building.

And, just like that, I knew what to say: “You are the author of your own life.”

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