Earlier in the week I had the pleasure of seeing the video of Neil Gaiman’s 2012 Commencement address to the University of the Arts in Philadephia.
And throughout the week, I’ve found myself going back, re watching and admiring new parts of it all over again.
Because it’s so rich, so full of advice to young people who are not only standing on that precipice of ‘career’ but those young people who want to stand on the even more dizzyingly sheer edge of that path called ‘arts career’.
Gaiman eloquently uses his own experiences for those graduates in front of him as a spur to strive towards their own “distant mountain,” as advice on how to survive in a freelance world, on how to find their own voice and finally, as a plea to “make good art.”
The whole speech fits in with a lot of my recent thinking that some of my discussions with students interested in creative careers need to be braver. Not because of some deviant wish on my part to subvert the party line (“now, lets consider a back up plan”) but because some of those young people are just too damn talented to be sold short and be made to feel that their horizons are being constricted.
Speeches like this, delivered with such rhetoric skill, can be a real tool in an kit to entice debate from students about their career ideas and where they see their path leading them to.