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Your Keynote Speech - 8/16 : Writing Prompts and Challenges • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Your Keynote Speech - 8/16

The editors of Writer's Digest provide a weekly Writing Prompt to get your writing going.
Brian A. Klems
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Your Keynote Speech - 8/16

Postby Brian A. Klems » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:30 am

You received a call from your alma mater and they want you to be the keynote speaker at graduation. Write a speech that inspires the future generation to work toward their dreams.

Post your response (750 words or fewer) in the comments below.

LittleEden
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Re: Your Keynote Speech - 8/16

Postby LittleEden » Fri Aug 19, 2011 6:31 am

My words to you will be short. There’s too much for you to do and too little time to do it. A whole life time is never enough when you are pursuing your dreams. I didn’t say follow your dreams, because to follow is somewhat passive. To pursue speaks of action and active commitment to achieve your goal.

Before you pursue them you must know your dreams; etch them on your mind; speak them out your mouth, only then can you put goals into place to reach your dreams and seize them.

Keep these words in front of you. Seek and you shall find. Seek your dreams with all your being, and when you acquire them dream another one and pursue it. Never stop dreaming and never stop working toward one.

Now get out in the world and get busy making your dreams come true.

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sns3guppy
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Re: Your Keynote Speech - 8/16

Postby sns3guppy » Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:54 am

To those of you who are about to graduate, diploma in hand with the sun in your face and the long nights of study behind, let not one forget the most important words you must learn before you undertake this final walk tonight: “Do you want fries with that?”

Statistically every one of you, a champion of higher learning and holder of a lifetime of debt before you take your first job, will face record unemployment, fewer choices in jobs, and a near certainty that you will never labor a single day in your chosen field. Salute the rising sun on the morrow, your first dose of truth, for it will set you free and adrift in a world filled with a million other disillusioned graduates nearly identical to yourselves.

You are born into debt under a flag that is mortgaged beyond the proverbial hilt, the new bulbs in a lamp which is never turned off, to take your turn in the work force and make your mark. Know that you may never burn brighter than you have these past four, six, or eight years, as you step into the blinding sunlight of tomorrow. The field is ripe and wide open for the select few of you, if any, who will make it in this life, and it is to you few whom I address my talk tonight. It is you few who will order the fries, and the rest who will make them.

When I graduated these hallowed halls a scant twenty years ago, I heard nothing but platitudes of a greater tomorrow and patronizing tones that bespoke mine as the finest rising generation of the ages. We were the hope of tomorrow. Tomorrow has come and gone, a new tomorrow rises before you. If we were the finest, then the finest has come and gone, and look at the mess we have left you. Instead, I say hold up your heads and be the custodians who clean up the disaster laid at your feet.

As you graduate, ranked fifteenth in the world stage for literacy, thirty eighth in mathematics, far below par on the global scale for training and education, know that you’re not close to the pick of the litter. Those among you who are the top of your class scarcely rate average on a foreign campus; for that be proud and yet humble at once. Only when you understand the limits of the quagmire that is your universe do you understand what is required to escape, or the burden that is yours to accept should you choose to do so.

Some of you will be tempted this day to rest on your laurels and skate through life unfettered, as though you’ve finished your life’s work. You have not. Know the odds are against you. Know that as you walk out the doors of this arena this night that you have acquired a license to learn. I challenge you; I throw down the gauntlet of life at your feet and dare you to pick it up. I pronounce a life sentence upon you and urge you to prove me wrong. The platitudes are over. The free ride has ended. Life is about to start. Attack it with the force of love, the energy of youth, and the speed of light. The time to think has finished and now comes the moment to do.

Two millennia ago, an unknown man stood on the shore of a small salty sea and preached to a motley audience. He urged them to have faith, even the faith of a grain of mustard seed that would grow from it’s nothing state into a large, fruitful plant. Faith is not hope. Faith is not a noun, nor is it an adjective, describing what you wish you might have.

Faith, my young friends, is a verb. It is action. Faith does not rest, and faith will get you no further than the borders of your doorway each and every morning unless you act upon it and make it happen. Platitudes are worthless. This is reality, not the feel-good mantras you expect to hear. Shatter your expectations, rise up, and say to tomorrow, “I will kill you, or you will kill me, but only one of us can survive this day. Use the faith of a single vision to the next day after to make it you, to make it your day.

Go now, young friends, faithful into tomorrow, forever.

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jinhessel
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Re: Your Keynote Speech - 8/16

Postby jinhessel » Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:42 pm

Keynote Speech

Under the bobbing balloons, under the wafting streamers, Miles chugged to the round reunion table and handed Sophie a handful of paper ballots – 52 votes for Sophie Settler. “They want you,” he said.

“What?” She wondered, swishing the slush left in the bottom of her Marguerita glass.

“You get to give the keynote speech at tomorrow’s farewell breakfast.”

Sophie made a face. “Get out! Me?”

“It’s an honor,” said her fiancé. That’s how she described him – fiancé – though they had been sharing the same address since the last reunion. He was two years behind her class – same school, same bunch of friends.

“You get to…you know…high point the defining moments of your time here at Bastich High, and how they inspired you to…ah…strive.”

“For what? Being Miss Customer Service at the Megatech Emporium? That was my fondest wish?” She hissed her icy drink through her teeth. This was the 20th reunion, so she was on the climb-side of 40, and her inspiration had been eaten up by too many alligators too high on her ass long ago. “Defining moment?” she said.

“You won first prize in the long essay contest, remember? Probably why they voted for you.” He snorted cheerily and touched his long neck beer to her now empty glass.

Sophie groaned and laid her head on the messy table top. She brought it up again and glanced between the giddy, dancing couples at the serving table. Plenty of booze left and, at 10:15, the night was young.

“Give me a theme, Miles,” she said. “Help me out here. Because I didn’t learn what I know now in high school.”

“Aw, get in the spirit, Sophie. It was high school. We had dreams.”

The vast emptiness of her glass was beginning to call to her, and she paid it some attention by rolling the stem around on damask-quality paper tablecloth. Almost like the real thing and you got to throw away the wine stains later. Yes, she had recently re-read some of her old poems they had printed in the lit mag. You know – “Upward toward the light, onward through the darkening storms of night, never to look back.” That much was right.

“Looking back is just embarrassing.” Surely, he must feel the same. “I wrote doggerel and thought it was deep.”

“Youth is for getting it wrong. You’re free to write trash and move on.”

“Way, way on. Like writing people’s book reports for them and getting paid for it?”

“Isn’t that what writers do? Get paid for it? Get out there and rekindle their excesses and push all their sigh and cry buttons. They’ll love it.”

“Think they’ll believe anything, tell them what they want?”

“You’ll see.”

Sophie considered walking across the room to mix another Marguerita, but weighed the risk of lurching. Maybe Miles would go for it.

“You could lightly laugh at your early efforts and compare it to your later stuff.”

“That’s a thought.”
“You never know. Could be a publisher in the class.”

She raised her glass. “Keep hope alive, Miles. Onward to your rekindled, passionate, inspiring defining moment. That’s why I keep you around.”

“I know,” he said.
~We continue to dwell in the rooms we leave behind~

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UnicornBaby
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Re: Your Keynote Speech - 8/16

Postby UnicornBaby » Sat Sep 03, 2011 4:02 pm

"When we first walked into this very school, we entered a new world, we pretended that we weren't nervous, but the honest truth is that we all were. That is how we formed our bond that we still hold today. We have learned to laugh together and cry together. We grew into the selves that we are today. We became who we were meant to be as we walked down these very halls passing each other. It was all leading up to this moment. This moment that turned hello into goodbye. It is not goodbye forever, we will all cross paths again someday. And some of us, the friendships that grew, grew so strong that there is no way that for one moment we will be torn apart. We have learned and grown into a rountine that will soon be taken out of our schedule. We walked into this school as children and we walk out as new adults. We walked in with a song in our heart and we walk out with many new words to that tune. And we must learn to not give up on our dreams, because we are the generation that shapes the world today. We are the innovators and the creators. We must know that we can form our world, and this is because we are One. We are the future.
My heart is my totem, a blackened beating taunt that soaks the Page with its prevail. Its blood becomes my ink as I stab the Pen into it. I heave forward with my hollow chest, entranced in my decay, sorry to say, that I am a writer of Darkness now.


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