Neil Gaiman, a man known to me through his novel, AMERICAN GODS. I’ve not followed his work. Until recently. Michelle Fairchild, a “cosmic cowgirl,” forwarded a commencement address that Gaiman delivered to The University of the Arts, in Philadelphia, on May 17, 2012. I paid attention to it for two reasons. One: I respect the person who shared it with me enough to invest 20 minutes of my work day to listening. Two: May 17 is the day my mother died in 1972. Throughout my life I’ve paid special attention to things that “happen” on that day.
I became a graduate as I listened to Gaiman’s masterfully prepared speech and impeccable delivery. I realized in the instant I was hearing it that the material here was worth excavating. I shared it with another friend and we promised to listen to it or read the text of it, every day, for 28 days. That experience has been filled with insight. And I plan on providing you a similar opportunity for the month of February.
Each day I will share a visual partner to the words that Gaiman shared with graduating art students. Be clear. This message is flexible. Exchange the word “art” for whatever it is that you do, that is unique to you, that you are passionate about. His life lessons cross industry, age and class. His life lessons drawn from his own Art, are universally applicable.
So, tomorrow, begins a journey with a man I’ve not met but whose words have impacted me and the trajectory of my life in a profound way. It’s not often that anyone gets to say that about a set of words.
I trust each piece to you, dear reader. I invite you to comment and enter an exchange with me and our other readers. And I invite you to find Neil Gaiman’s speech on YouTube and enjoy your own experience with his powerful delivery.