Friday, April 12, 2013

Crafting Something Meaningful (and possibly failing)

Now Playing:
  • Pink Floyd - The Great Gig In The Sky
  • Billy Idol - Don't You Forget About Me
There's no such thing as a valedictorian at my school. Why? Apparently a kid committed suicide a few years back because he didn't quite reach the top (or maybe this was a rumor--I dun know) so the whole title was eradicated.

Not that it makes any sense now because there's only one kid who is going to Stanford and is basically higher than 1% of the class (IT SHOULD BE POSSIBLE). He's pretty much the definition of valedictorian and no one can or will deny that.

It also sucks because there are probably kids who've been gunning for that position for ages. According to my AP Environmental teacher, years ago there was a kid who--since he was probably in sixth grade--dreamed of being valedictorian, studied like mad to get to the point, and a month before graduation, was promptly told the position doesn't exist. That sucks.

But anyways. Point is: there's no valedictorian, so there's no mandatory speech from this mystical person. I think the only one who's going to be forced to make a speech is the student council president, and I have no clue who that girl is (I know her gender, at least?) so that's not important.

Plot twist: turns out at a senior meeting (that I missed because American Lit is more important) it was announced that anyone can submit a speech. The top three best ones will be read at the graduation ceremony.

A lot of people think it's stupid, and I guess I agree to an extent. I think it's an important tradition to have the valedictorian speak out to his or her fellow students. It breaks my heart a little bit to know this won't happen, especially because I know the valedictorian and he's smart in a very non-pretentious way. A little corny, maybe, but really down to earth. I wanted to hear what he had to say and now I doubt he wants to make one.

But seeing as how there are very few people who actually want to do it, and seeing as how I will (hopefully) in the (far off) future make a living as a writer, I think I want to try.

This could backfire. One, I suck at reading out loud. If my creative writing class was graded purely on our abilities to read work out loud, I'd be failing. Not even a D. Straight up F. It ain't nerves. I've danced in front of crowds and can usually wing my way out of presentations. But reading my work out loud? HAHA.

Two, I get discouraged really easily. This morning, I was discussing the possibility with a friend and a whatever-she-has-been-maybe-friend(?). The last girl isn't exactly a nice person, or a particularly good friend 80% of the time. Since I met her sophomore year, she's sprouted so much insults my way I wonder why I've stayed with her for all this time. (That's bullshit, I know why. It's because she's not a Cartoon Mean Girl set on world domination; we're all riddled with insecurities, flaws, hardships, and so much material for sympathy that I can't ignore it and hate her no matter what). This morning was no different. It's going to sound like I'm making it up, but she was kind enough to let me know I've never accomplished anything and lived an inexperienced high school life, and so, I had no business making a speech. She said that asking who I was to anyone on the street would elicit the reaction, "who the fuck is that bitch?"

No. Seriously. Word for word. It sounds like I'm making it up. But she said that.

And after sitting there tongue tied, regretting buying her a birthday present, trying to spin it into something funny--as I always do with her--and only coming up with a response when I was halfway to class, I figured maybe I didn't want to do the speech. I wanted to just forget the whole thing because all I could imagine was my classmates staring off with the light of their eyes dimming, the teachers checking their watches, the entire first row bobbing their heads away while locked in a feeble struggle to fight off sleep. And me stuttering through the whole thing so that not one word was understood.

But then I remembered I'm really not going to see any of these people again as soon as graduation lets out, so, meh.

The biggest problem of all isn't impending embarrassment, although it's not unrelated to that.

If I do write a speech that doesn't suck, and if it does get picked to be one of the three, and if it does somehow become understandable to my classmates (either because I actually read it clearly or because I get Anthony* to do it for me) then I don't want it to be boring.

I don't want to tell them that this is the time for mistakes, or that screwing up is inevitable and we can push through and survive, or that success is a road not a destination (barf). I don't want to tell them that they have to believe in themselves, how it feels like we walked into high school yesterday (because fuck no that was not "just" yesterday. It's been a long fucking time). I don't want to spin it around and make it about my experience because I feel like that's only a privilege the valedictorian should have. And either way, I want to say something that will actually  make them think for a little while. I doubt I'll have some long lasting impact on their lives, but I want there to be some sort of meaning, even if it's for all of ten seconds.

I want to avoid all cliche--especially quoting something--but I know they're not all bad. So a balance? Avoidance? I want to say something (hypothetically--I may not actually read out the speech) but do I have anything worth saying?

I don't know what'll happen.If I can think of something smart, then maybe I'll go through with it.
~Becky

P.S: Good news, I finished my first screenplay ever. It is fourteen pages long, for AP environmental science, terribly cheesy, but apparently, not as impossible as previously imagined. After Ataraxia (85k, bitches!!! it's actually not that impressing compared to other writers) I'll head to Hurricane Girls (and Anne's story, of course).

*He's a politician in the making. He'll have to get used to this eventually.

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"Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century... The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists...which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science..."
- Carl Sagan, in his message to future explorers of Mars.