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May 24, 2014


Terry Winch makes me laugh and cry at the same time. Forgive my error, I meant Dr. Terry makes me laugh and cry; and his honest emotion must have stirred those graduates, as it has us, for years.

You can be sure that I'll be sharing the "The Moll Niland Principle" with my little boy later on, when I'm telling Jonah about how to cope with the vicissitudes of life. The principle of "faking it" is something best learned early on, too... Hope your voice did not suffer overmuch from your lesson on contentment as true wealth.

Terry, This is absolutely priceless--wonderful from top to toe, and in reverse order no less. Congratulations and thank you!

Glad I was there to hear this in person Terence, and as one of those who encouraged you to put this on the net, glad you did. Reading it again after having heard it live, it seems to me even more witty and wise. And the photos only add to the personal testimony aspect of it. I watched as the mostly bored or tired or been-through-it-before faculty members in their medieval garb behind you on stage slowly registered that this commencement address was not the usual and their faces lit up and their mouths began to smile from the impact of your way with words and the truth of them. Happy for all that you share your brilliance with the rest of us.

Terence, the life lessons are true and offered with compassion and humility. I will be on sabbatical this fall and will carry them with me, and read them often. Thank you. Tom

This is wonderful and inspiring Terry! Thanks for sharing it with the world. I was just reviewing NPR's Best Commencement Speeches database and I think they need to include this in it.

Sorry about the surgery. I hope you're shouting now.

This is wonderful and inspiring Terry! Thanks for sharing it with the world. I was just reviewing NPR's Best Commencement Speeches database and I think they need to include this in it.

Sorry about the surgery. I hope you're shouting now.

Thank you, Fr. Tomas. Hope to see you soon.

Thank you, Grace. You are very aptly named.

Your presence in the house for this speech made a tremendous difference to me. I was hoping you would dig it.

Terence Winch, like his Roman namesake, is a motherfucker. Now, that can be taken many ways but I am referring to the original Latin meaning. That is to say, he's a motherfucker. See? I mean, damn, Terry. You're...well, you know.

Great speech. I hope a few of the grads were sober and can repeat to their hammered friends at a later date.

Thanks, Aram. As a fan of yours, I greatly appreciate your comment.

Thanks, Abbie. I did not know there was an NPR commencement speech archive. I watched parts of a couple of speeches on YouTube when I was first asked to take on this task, but quickly decided to avoid them all, so as to not be overly influenced by other approaches.

Thanks, JL. Jonah is well on his way, I'd say.

Gratias ago tibi, mi amice.

Let me join the chorus: these are very smart tips. Onward!

I have now read this speech twice. It was better the second time around and I loved it the first. I may read it everyday. And I never exaggerate.

The fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, Mr. O'Keefe!Or maybe it was only a million. I can't remember.

Absolutely loved this, Terence. The best part is your Aunt Polly story. Ain't it the truth? I hope you are finer than frogs hair sitting on a split wood fence blowing in the wind these days. Tom

Tom--Thanks. Our friend Helen who have enjoyed this turn of events, I hope.

I will never forgive myself for reading this speech. I am so pissed off, I am kicking myself. I will never get my teeth cleaned again. I give up. I just sent all my money to Brendan Mulvihill, perhaps the greatest fiddler there is on this planet. All of my intangible power has gone up on smoke. All of my attentiveness is mindless. My nerves are now shot because I waited until I was an old person. I despise the false Celtic Thunder: their very existence prevents me from enjoying life. I am speechless. I would have been there to hear this psychedelic discourse, but I was kissing something goodbye. I will never forgive myself. Also, I loved the pictures.

How out of character---you're usually so good at taking advice.

Oh dr. Terry. This is probably the most useful AND beautiful commencement addresses ever. I am sharing it with my children ("commenced" many years ago, )and my grandchikdren, who r in the process. Slainte, lad, and thank you.

Thanks, Clarinda. Much appreciated.

Terry, I would expect your other fellow gaels as well as me to find advisories #8-9-10 a lifetime's challenge. Though eventually #8 does get easier, as the teeth become mere memory items. Really the only one I've ever actually been able to achieve was #3, and that only sporadically, less and less with the years... finally, it's necessary (for me, that is, not you, of course!!) to resolve to never go among the public. Spare them, they didn't do it.

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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