over 10 years on 2008-04-01


i just watched jk rowling's 2008 commencement speech (available at jk). i greatly enjoyed it and found it quite deeply moving.

from an overly analytical perspective i might say that she spoke about three often cited graduation topics - failure, imagination, and friendship - and that she did an admirable job of weaving her own well known life story into the narrative without being heavy handed.

i appreciated her wit and sincerity, and there is no question that the context, on top of the content of the speech, made it feel more personally relevant and appealing.

i also take some theoretical value out of the concept that my admissions essay for harvard was about harry potter, and watching the author give a commencement speech in the yard holds for me an extra layer of meaning.

that said, i don't think that any of these characteristics aptly describes or does justice to the speech in the least. i am going to spend some time thinking about the speech and why it
struck a chord - maybe those thoughts will end up in this public forum or in my private journal... but either way let this serve as a recommendation of the speech if you haven't already watched it, and a personal reminder to myself to think more about it.

original swl blogposts and letters 2007-2010