September 22, 2015
Last week I delivered a lecture for Southwestern Michigan College called "But, Words Are Breath." It was the first in what we hope is a long-running series of "kick-off lectures" that establish an intellectual topic for the campus over the course of a semester. In my case, it was also to share how a life-long fascination with words has guided me through my career but also helped defined for me the full nature of language. If you are interested in watching it, you can see it here (I start at the 2:55 mark).
As usual, the biggest agony comes in the few minutes right before. Tom Petty was right in saying that "the waiting is the hardest part."
I breathe deeply to calm my nerves.
(Am I wasting my breath?)
Unless I admit it,
Anxiety can go unobserved.
(Will anything I say take anyone's breath away?)
3 months to prepare,
45 minutes and then it disappears
Into thin air.
(Will a breath of interest be lit?)
From comic strips to a comic who rips
What college campuses hold dear.
Words are power, words are influence,
Bring us hope, or give us fear.
(Under their breath, do they ask, "who gives a shit?")
It's over, I should breathe easier now.
(But the questions live on anyhow.)