Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” is perhaps the most elevating address to young people ever put to parchment. So consider this a cover version, with the lyrics changed to reflect the occasion.
Nancy Huntley, the director of Lincoln Library, asked if I would like to speak at the annual Write Stuff banquet, where the winners of a poetry and short story contest would be feted.
I was quite honored by her request, and she was obviously quite unaware of what a terrible public speaker I am. I spared us both embarrassment by politely declining the invitation, yet feel I owe some words of encouragement and praise to the talented young scribes.
When considering what to write, I looked to one of my favorite authors for inspiration. Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” is perhaps the most elevating address to young people ever put to parchment. So consider this a cover version, with the lyrics changed to reflect the occasion.
Congratulations, today is your night.
Your fiction’s terrific, your prose out of sight.
You’re well on your way to being a great writer.
With that skill in hand, the future couldn’t be brighter.
Kid, you’ll write volumes!
With language all-a-Twittered and words brutalized,
you’re the Bard just for knowing how to capitalize.
But I’m sure that you’re even better than that!
You’re hip to linguistics — one grammatical cat.
You love a good narrative, appreciate lit
and scoff when you hear an infinitive split.
There are some who will tell you that it’s all a lost art.
They’ll dismiss what you’ve written, try to make you lose heart.
Those dimwitted texters for whom style doesn’t matter
will sneer at your lyric, they prefer mangled chatter.
But don’t let them make you sink down to their level.
With your mighty pen you’re bound to do better.
You’re an essayist, poet, a raconteur on a mission
to make the world better with the things that you’ve written.
You’re gifted with words and rhetorical devices.
You’re writing is fresh and full of surprises.
You’ve aced alliteration, you’re consistent with tenses
and know much better than to run on with a sentence.
Thinking up phrases that are smart and sound pleasing,
for you it’s as easy as walking or sneezing.
Except when it’s not, because sometimes words stop,
and you’ll find yourself gripped by that stumped WRITER’S BLOCK!
You never know when such peril might arise.
When it does you’ll be tempted to plagiarize.
That’s really not something you want to get into.
You’re sure to get caught and your friends will desert you.
Just ask Stephen Glass or perhaps Jayson Blair
Stealing words is a sin of which the writer must beware.
But if you just wait it out, like the stream of the Thames,
soon those dammed words will start flowing again.
Once again you’ll be off, with your ink pen a-blazing,
being erudite, sharp and simply amazing.
With your head full of words and your pad full of paper,
you’ll be dashing off chapters and verse by the acre.
So whether your idol be Fitzgerald or Twain,
Hemingway, Angelou, Alcott or James,
stay true to your writing, take care of your health
and someday you’ll make a great name for yourself.
We’ll delight in your poetry, be entranced by your tales.
You’ve got the Write Stuff, now it’s time to set sail.
Dan Naumovich is a freelance writer and business copywriter. He can be reached at email@example.com.