The Hill We Climb

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"...For there is always light, if only we're brave enough to see it, if only we're brave enough to be it." Those final lines, written and spoken by Amanda Gorman, our first National Youth Poet Laureate, are now recognized worldwide after her reading at President Biden's inauguration. Her upcoming books are already Amazon bestsellers even though they're not available until September.

The 22-year-old Gorman certainly had a grand stage and audience. But Amanda seized the moment and made it her own. No matter how large or small your stage, distilling the core idea of your presentation with a great play on words, theme, simile, or metaphor will make you stand out.

Being memorable doesn't lie in exotic words or phrases. Consider Kennedy's "Think not what your country can do for you...," or Lincoln's "Four score and seven years ago, our fathers...." Or more recently, Maya Angelou's poem On the Pulse of Morning at Bill Clinton's 1993 inauguration: "...History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, and if faced with courage, need not be lived again..." The ring of simple, plain language, artfully assembled is well worth the time to construct.

Do what composers Beethoven and Mahler did to activate their creativity. Take a walk outside, breathe in the air and play with words or phrases that add unique color to your presentation. The brain loves patterns, so it will be engaged and start creating your narrative. Live long and prosper!

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