Mary Karr, the author of three award-winning, bestselling memoirs and the Peck Professor of Literature at Syracuse Univeristy, exhorts the graduating students to banish any fear of misfortune and face their lives with optimism. Like any good storyteller, the author dips into her past, telling the students her story of drugs, poverty and mental issues that almost drove her to give up on everything. However, she counsels that the darkest roads often hides the paths to redemption and people out to be curious about what scares them. She says:
"And if you can get curious about what scares or infuriates you—especially if it’s part of yourself—you can grow less scared........ And stuff that first looked like the worst, most degrading thing that could ever happen almost always led me to something extraordinary and fine."
Moreover, she says that even when overcome by fear and hopelessness, we should use that to develop empathy towards those who feel as they do. As she says, "a great talent for fear could also mask a talent for empathy. For caring how others feel for tenderness."
HarperCollins has made this commencement address into a book titled Now Out There (And Get Curious) to be published in April 2016. Whether you are a student or an adult, Now Go Out There
Many thanks to HarperCollins for review copy.