My seniors. I have so many hopes for you and I want to share some advice that I hope will serve you well over the years.
First from Stephen King’s On Writing, “ Writing isn't about making money, getting famous, getting dates, or making friends. In the end, it is about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy. Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink. Drink and be filled up.”
Words have power. Your words have power. Use them.
My father is a terse man.He is unlike my mama who could talk the horns off of a billy goat. He is loving and kind, but he is a hugger - not a talker. When he does speak, I remember it. When I graduated from high school, he told me, “In the future, you will sit in many rooms full of people. In these rooms there will sometimes be people smarter than you and people more creative than you. But by God, don't you ever let anyone in that room work harder than you.”
It is simple, hard work pays off. Don't ever let anyone beat you in that particular race.
When I was little, my mama had a string of pearls I loved to play with. My father gave them to her when they were married. I would swing them around and around pretending I was a flapper from the 20's. I would have fit right in at a Gatsby party. Invariably the pearls would fly loose from my grip and smack against the wall skittering rogue pearls deep into uncharted crevices of my bedroom. She never fussed at me. She just sent them to Tom's Jewelers to be restrung just shy a pearl or two. When I was an adult I somewhat scolded my mother for letting me get away with such nonsense. She just smiled, looked at me and said, "Leah, you just enjoyed them so much. Playing with them made you so happy. In the end the pearls are just a possession. Possessions do not matter. People matter."
Know what is important and cherish it.
From me. Short and to the point. "You show up and you try." I hope this little piece of advice from me sticks with you. Because, selfishly, I know if you all show up and try, there is a real possibility for a better world, and I want to live in that world.
Lastly, I want to leave you with this. There will be times when people will make you feel less than you are. It is a cruel reality that people like to knock down those who sparkle hoping some glitter will spill on them. You all sparkle and glitter and shine. If this thought ever starts to waver in your heart, please remember in this time and in this place a group of fabulous people thought you were pretty fabulous too.
Don't you ever forget it.