Thursday, April 14, 2016

Now Go Out There (and Get Curious) by Mary Karr

Mary Karr's small book seems to be a collection of sound bites. However, isn't that what graduation speeches usually are? A speaker may talk for twenty minutes or longer, and somewhere in there may be a gem or two that a graduate remembers on the day they're celebrating the conclusion of a high school or college career. In this case, Karr's speech for the 2015 graduation class at Syracuse University became the book Now Go Out There (and Get Curious).

Karr looks back at her own life, and uses that as a basis for her speech, telling students the low points in their lives may become the moments that benefit them the most. As a poet, essayist and memoir writer who has lived a fascinating life, she is qualified to talk about the low moments. In discussing college, she says, "If you're really lucky, you had your heart broken, because that made you a deeper person and maybe forced you to find friends to learn from."

She talks about fear, fear of the future, fear of success and failure. "That's how fear works, isn't it? Getting what you want often scares you more than not getting it." But, it was her comment about the hard times that resonated with me, since I'm the kind of person who believes things happen for a reason. When I didn't get a job, I always said, "Well, it wasn't meant to be. It must not have been the right job for me." Karr suggests we talk to ourselves, saying, "This hard spell might be the start of something truly great I can't foresee right now because I'm scared shitless."

Mary Karr concludes her speech by encouraging students to get out there, to be curious, and compassionate, and they'll find their way in the world. Now Go Out There (and Get Curious) is a small book, appropriate for a graduate speech, appropriate for a graduation gift. It's a book of pithy comments about life, and learning to live it.

Mary Karr's website is www.marykarr.com

Now Go Out There (and Get Curious) by Mary Karr. HarperCollins. 2016. ISBN 9780062442093 (hardcover), 112p.

*****
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