Egregia Cum Laude

Within the course of this Fellowship’s existence, it is only inevitable that one of our own should reach the most excellent milestone of publication.  In turn, we must graduate that person, bestowing upon them all the accolades thereof.

I would be remiss if I didn’t honor such a graduation with an appropriate keynote address.  As such, it gives me the opportunity to change the proverbial gear and make use of such academic rhetoric that is commonly heard in the greatest halls of learning in the world.  I hope you will find it both refreshing and inspiring.

In this grand pursuit of literary excellence, one would scarcely deny that the best form of education comes from the masters of literature of years past.  From the great epics of Homer and Chaucer, to the modern masterpieces of Sebold and Toole; from Edgar Allen Poe, to his heir apparent Stephen King; and from the Tolkien, the father of modern fantasy, to the many who seek to fill his shoes; each curriculum put forth by their pens is a necessary lesson to study for any who would join their ranks.

Do you desire to be named with the greats?  Do you desire to write such literary excellence that future students of the craft should study your words?  To be like them, you must know them.  To know them, you must read.  Never cease reading, for there is no end to books and no end to your education.

Yet a writer who reads only and never writes, is no writer at all.  What are we but mere readers if we do not write?  Whether you feel ready or not, adequate or insufficient, learned or ignorant; if you desire to be a writer, you must write.

An infant can never walk lest it first learn to crawl.  It can never run, until it has mastered walking.  So it is with writing.  There is no bad way to write, only incorrect methods.  For in each word written, a lesson has been learned.  For each sentence crafted, you have taken one more step toward learning to run.  This is progress, and progress is always good.  Methodology will come in time, but it will never come if you never write.

When does a writer know he has become a writer?  There is no ultimate benchmark, no set definition.  A writer becomes a writer simply when he chooses to be one.  In the time we live in, it is a rare thing for a writer to become a writer in full-time profession.  Is a musician only a musician when he or she has toured the country?  Is a runner merely a runner only when he or she has won a race?  Not at all.  A musician is a musician when he chooses to study music.  A runner is a runner when he chooses to begin training.  Likewise, a writer becomes a writer when he or she makes the choice to study and pursue writing.  In life you cannot wait for others to give you definition.  First and foremost, you must seek definition from God.  After that, you will only become what you choose to become.  Becoming a writer is your choice.

Never cease reading, write whenever possible, and choose to become a writer.  These are the three things you must do to achieve literary excellence.  It is with these things in mind that we now turn to our honoree, PA Baines, as he transcends from being an unpublished author to a published author.  Doubtless, these are the very things he has done to prepare for this moment; and doubtless, he will continue to do so.

Now as we list his name among the greats and number him with such masters as Isaac Asimov and HG Wells, we congratulate him.  This is the banner moment in the career of any writer:  to be acknowledged by his peers, and recognized by the publishing industry.  It is the glass ceiling for which we all strive.  Rejoice with him as he takes that next step in his writing career.  Though this may be the end of PA Baines, unpublished writer and lover of donuts, it is the beginning of PA Baines, internationally recognized author of Science Fiction.  We look forward to studying your curriculum, Professor Baines.  I’m sure there is much we can all learn.

Now, on behalf of the New Authors’ Fellowship, I officially confer upon PA Baines the status of Alumnus with Egregia Cum Laude.

And to the unpublished authors who stand behind him in the shadows:

The road may yet be long and arduous.  You may feel discouraged and frustrated.  You may even want to give up.  Take a lesson from PA Baines, who’s fourteen year journey has finally paid off.  Continue forward with immovability, and never let someone tell you that you are not a writer.  A writer is, what a writer does.

Read much.  Write always.  And become what you choose to be.

Thank you,

Keven Newsome

About Keven Newsome

Keven Newsome is an musician, theologian, and a bit of a nerd. He enjoys a variety of musical genres, from Christian rock to movie soundtracks to KPop. A former band director, he plays about a dozen instruments, given a couple of weeks to practice up. His theological work has included a book on multi-generational ministry and a thesis on the theology of communicating with the dead. As for his nerd-card, he enjoys the fandoms of The Legend of Zelda, Doctor Who, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Lord of the Rings. With a music degree from William Carey University and a theology degree from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Keven actively serves in ministry as both pastor and worship leader.

12 comments on “Egregia Cum Laude

  1. A speech like that deserves a room of applause.

    “A musician is a musician when he chooses to study music. A runner is a runner when he chooses to begin training. Likewise, a writer becomes a writer when he or she makes the choice to study and pursue writing.”

    Easily my favourite quote from this post.

    • Why thank you, Zoe! This is one of my very few auxiliary super powers… (that’s a super power that will NEVER help save the world)… to be able to switch between academic writing and fiction writing at will. The other is that I can turn my thumb around backwards.

      • My immediate response to that, after attempting to imagine what it looks like to turn your thumb around backwards, was to try and figure out a situation where your super power would save the world.

  2. Excellent post for Paul as he moves forward in his writing life. And we all need to be reminded to write. We can have all the ideas in the world. We can have all the notes of those ideas written down on various paper scraps and notepad files and whatnot. We can talk with all of our friends and family about this story we’re working on. We can even be a part of a joint blog with other unpublished authors. 😉 We can do all of this and more, but if we aren’t writing our stories, then what are we? Very good things mentioned in your post here for Paul’s graduation.

    Congratulations, Paul! I look forward to many novels ahead from you. 😀

    • Anvils, cheesecake and doughnuts aside, I am so proud of you, Paul. More than that I am excited for you. The Granny Flat is rockin’, so I am told.

  3. Thanks guys for all the awesome support and encouragement. You’ve made this an experience I won’t ever forget. Diane, yes the Granny Flat is the place to be. The tea and doughnuts flow like, well. . .tea and doughnuts. And the anvils don’t so much flow as plummet.

    Keven that was an inspiring post. Your Auxiliary-fu is strong!

    Here’s looking forward to seeing you guys joining me very soon.

  4. Someone hand me a tissue … I always cry at graduations.

    Congratulations, Paul, and thanks, Keven, for the words of encouragement.

  5. Wow, totally inspirational, Keven! Did you happen to see a fire descend on your head as you wrote this? 🙂 My eyes are moist. It is my greatest wish that we can make Paul as successful as everyone here wants him to be.

  6. […] 2010 we overhauled the look of our site for our 6th month anniversary, and prepared to graduate our first real Alumni, Paul.  We also started to define ourselves as a group that focused mainly on speculative fiction […]

  7. […] 2010 we overhauled the look of our site for our 6th month anniversary, and prepared to graduate our first real Alumni, Paul.  We also started to define ourselves as a group that focused mainly on speculative fiction […]

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