I love words. I love how you can write a sentence, then re-write it over and over again, until you've found the perfect combination of words to convey your meaning most accurately. I'll probably come back to the previous sentence later and re-write it before I publish this. I love doing that. But most people seem to have given up on speaking with eloquence and choose instead to speak quickly. They look for the fastest way to get their point across, even when there's a better way--a more vivid way.
My love of the written word extends to an appreciation for a good speech. A speech that not only explains a point, but does so in manner that goes above and beyond the normal spoken word. I always thought that political speeches had to be dry and delivered as though the speaker was reading a recipe. I thought speeches like those of President Bartlet were only found in the writing of Aaron Sorkin. But as I listened to President Barack Obama's inauguration speech, I was reminded of my love of words and reminded that inspirational political speeches are not just a Hollywood creation or a thing of the past. Whether you're a fan of Obama or not, you have to admit he has a way with words. His "soaring oratory" could inspire Dr. House to volunteer at an orphanage. I can't wait to hear his speeches during the next four (possibly eight) years.* I realize President Obama is not the first president to deliver a speech with panache, but he's the first that my generation remembers with clarity.
But here's where I begin to feel like a slacker, even though I make an effort to choose my words well. The speechwriter (and Obama's head speechwriter throughout the campaign and on to the White House) is Jon Favreau. And Favreau is 27 years old. According to this article in The Guardian, Favreau began his career as a speechwriter for John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign after graduating from College of the Holy Cross as valedvictorian.
I have two years to become a speechwriter or at least a published author. If I can't be a drool-worthy speechwriter, at least I can aim to be a twentysomething author of outstanding novels. I should probably start right now.
*This is not a snarky way of making fun of President Bush's lack of remarkable oratory skills. I'm just looking forward to seeing Obama put his above-average public speaking skills to use.