I can't even remember who gave the commencement address at my college graduation. Must've made quite the impression, huh?
If it'd been an author or poet up there — one whose work I really loved — I'd have been all ears, of course.
Now, thanks to this Flavorwire article, I can imagine I'm back there, sitting on an uncomfortable folding chair, baking in the May sun, dressed in cap and gown, and listening to a cavalcade of respected writers dispense their best nuggets of wisdom.
Here's just a few inspiring excerpts:
“Lots of people, when they first start writing, write about themselves. But I’m going to be blunt: You’re not as interesting as you think you are. And even if you’ve had an unusual life, a difficult life, a shocking life, it’s not easy to write about it well. We seem to have little perspective on ourselves and what will be appealing to others. That’s partly why I moved into writing historical novels — it takes me away from my self, so that you don’t have to read about me. Writing about places and times I know nothing about has gotten me interested in all kinds of strange things. In the name of research I’ve gone fossil hunting, given tours in a Victorian cemetery, learned to quilt. I’ve handled priceless medieval tapestries and held the original notebook William Blake drafted Songs of Innocence and of Experience
- Tracy Chevalier, Oberlin College, 2013