Valedictorian Speech

First off, I would like to apologize for my lack of posting recently and I have no real excuse except that I’ve been busy. I just finished high school and was valedictorian of my class, so as my first post back I will give my speech. Please excuse the grammar I wrote it to give as a speech not a blog post.

“When in the course of human events it becomes necessary,” for me to write a speech to give at graduation I’m sunk. I sat for a long time in front the computer screen and for what seemed like hours could write nothing but the declaration of independence which I mysteriously knew by heart. Finally I decided to try out some advice use your hand and after using my hands. I decided to give you advice from the same book I got my advice from How to Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. And, along the way toss in a few things I’ve learned from the wealth of books on the path through the years. I believe that if as graduating seniors understand and follow four simple precepts we truly can change the world (or at least the world around us)

Here goes nothing, first : Steal Like an Artist and I’m not suggesting you break the eighth commandment. When you look at the world like an artist there is no good and there is no bad. There is only Stuff Worth Stealing and Stuff that isn’t, and the world when looked at that way is much less frightening. But, you must be careful in what you steal from because you are a Collection of the Stuff around you. The phrase we’ve heard all our live Garbage in, Garbage Out is especially true in stealing. So be a Collector not a Hoarder. Because the difference is huge; A hoarders steal from everything and anything quickly filling their world and mind quickly becomes clutter with subpar stuff. But a collector only steals from the best and has time to peruse and safeguard their collection. Here is a guide line from Jim Jarmusch “Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul.” Doing that will make your theft authentic and life richer.

For the second nugget of advice moms I’m glad you’re sitting down because Contrary to the arithmetic we were taught subtraction equals Addition. The first part of this equation is of course subtraction is choosing what is important to You. For example: I love to write and in order to truly write I must subtract something. No matter what I chose to subtract, if I gave an hour a day to my writing. I would gain 365 hours and at five hundred words every thirty minutes I could write 36,500 words that’s nearly a full novel. But no matter what you love you have 8,760 which is quite a lot when thought of in terms of words. So choose what is important to you and what isn’t  and if you can’t decide try be alone and quite for a while have you ever wondered why we think so much when we are falling asleep? It is because we are not distracted by any outside influences. What comes into your mind most often when you aren’t distracted is most likely going to be what is most important to you.

Now this next bit may sound slightly confusing at fist but you’ll understand in a moment. Don’t just be yourself Be the best you that you can be . Do not mistake rudeness and thoughtlessness for being “yourself”. They are flaws and we should try our hardest to be kind and thoughtful and mannerly. I’ve learned this the hard way through washing dishes my mother talks a lot about biblical integrity and I mistakenly believing that doing things quickly was part of who I was and while I will always do things quickly I am working on doing them with integrity. I had intended in the beginning to draw my swords through my mother because we both have very different outlooks on when things should be completed and how much a speech needs practiced but I realised in writing that it wasn’t true because while procrastination is part of my character and I am an eleventh hour person. Procrastination is not a virtue it is a flaw I need to work my hardest to fix. So we should be ourselves but only our virtuous selves.

And since I don’t hear any snoring yet I’ll finish with this last point: everyone has a bent leather. This quote has been my lifeline and the reason I have many of the friends I have today. I get the phrase from a story about Sir Walter Scott travelling from London to Edinburgh. Sir Walter was travelling in a coach with only one other man and throughout the journey Sir Walter tried numerous times to strike up a conversation but to no avail the man would only reply in short sentences or monosyllables. Finally Sir Walter turned to the man exasperated and asked, “What can you talk about?” The man replied bent leather and Sir Walter later said it was one of the most interesting conversation he had ever had. The moral of the story is that we shouldn’t dismiss a person because they aren’t interested in what we have to say but should endeavour to learn something new from everyone we meet because everyone has “a bent leather”.

It’s no new secret that graduation is but the end of one book in our life story and the beginning of the sequel. So, Go: Steal the Stuff worth stealing; Subtraction equals addition; Be the best you that you can be and everyone has a bent leather so dismiss no one. All of this advice can be summed up on one sentence be true to yourself and the person god made you to be.