Words That Changed The World
Here's something that has recently, quickly, risen to the absolute top of my "favorite questions to ask" list: Would you prefer to spend Christmas at (1) Hogwarts, or (2) The Burrow? I asked it the other evening and after the initial surprise at being so immediately grilled about Harry Potter was overcome, the conversation went down some wonderfully considerate roads:
- At The Burrow, how much time would have to be spent with Percy?
- Would Errol be there?
- Could you guarantee that you could help Molly Weasley cook at least one meal?
- Would it be snowing at Hogwarts?
There was more, but this is a nice reflection of a few of the higher-level questions that immediately surfaced.
This time a year ago, I had read all seven books for the first time, had just finished a road-trip from Austin to Brooklyn (by way of a fantastic Civil Rights jaunt through Alabama), and was about to spend the next week in Puerto Rico. It was somewhere in there -- unpacking my books, perhaps, letting the old ones meet the new ones on different shelves throughout my apartment (Harry Potter sharing a shelf with Mary Oliver) -- that I realized for GOOD just how much I loved that series. No, no, it wasn't then. It was when I was packing my bag with books for Puerto Rico that it happened: what could I bring, I wondered, that would matter even as close to as much? Nothing, it turned out, though I DID meet Junot Díaz that trip, and still think about getting to know Oscar Wao in between innings at a baseball game in San Juan. The many things that changed my world.
Goodness these podcast posts are getting lengthy.
ANYWAY, here's this one, an absolute favorite of the year. Two exceptionally brilliant speechwriters (one for Tony Blair, the other for Obama) talking about speechwriting: its transformative power, brilliance, artistic wonder, and effects. There's a book out now by one of Obama's junior speechwriters and if I might make a gentle suggestion, skip it entirely and spend 90 minutes with these minds (the discussion around, and reenactment of, Queen Elizabeth's speech to the troops at Tilbury is both incredible and entirely relevant).