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Jacob A J Taylor

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Member Since: Oct, 2011

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A child is raised by her grandfather, and by a grandmother who sleeps her life away in their living-room chair. No one will tell the child who her parents were, or why th..  
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This conversation (also available in Spanish) is part of a group of short stories that are meant to make the reader smile or ponder. Sometimes they are ironic in nature and perhaps a bit sarcastic, but definitely well intentioned and very apropos to our times. Some of the accompanying illustrations appear, or will appear, on the Yah and the Space Cadets Series of eBooks on sale at Amazon.

 

 

 

From the Very Apropos Series

 

 

by

 

 

Jake Taylor

 

 

 

Exordium

 

 

 Jack:                “Manny, can you help me? I need to give a speech and don’t know how.”

 

 

Manny:             “Of course, Jack, what kind of speech are you going to give?”

 

 

Jack:                “They haven’t told me. I’m not sure if I have to talk about the town, the school, about my family, or about immortality. I have no idea.”

 

 

Manny:             “Well, it is extremely important to know what you will be talking about; otherwise we’d be guessing.”

 

 

Jack:                “Isn’t there a formula that will allow me to write a speech on just about anything?”

 

 

Manny:             “There is, Jack, there is. We owe it to the Romans; they elevated speech writing to an art form. In fact their formula will even let you write a thesis.”

 

 

Jack:                “A what?”

 

 

Manny:             “A thesis, Jack; a proposition that someone makes and then sets out to prove as true . For example, doctors write theses when they graduate about certain discoveries that they have made or about certain ideas that they may have. They can say, for example, that their new formula will cure a given disease or ailment. They write a thesis to demonstrate why this is so, they give examples, they tell how they developed it, the testing they have done, etc.”

 

 

Jack:                “Sounds complicated to me.”

 

 

Manny:             “It sounds complicated, Jack, but it is not.”

 

 

Jack:                “Fine, so where do I start?”

 

 

Manny:             “You start with the exordium.”

 

 

Jack:                “The what?”

 

 

Manny:             “The exordium, Jack, is nothing more than asking others to pay attention to you, for you have something to tell them. One of the greatest and best known exordia is the one given by Antony in the tragedy of The Life and Death of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare. Antony said: Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears. Magnificent, Jack, just magnificent.

 

 

Jack:                “Well, my sergeant used to accomplish the same thing by just screaming: Attention!

 

 

Manny:             Very good point, Jack, that’s a very concise and explosive exordium.

 

 

Jack:                So, if I tell them: Listen to me; I have something to tell you, I would be on the right track but then, how do I continue?”

 

 

Manny:             “You continue by telling them the order in which you will tell them what you want to tell them. For example, if you are going to talk about the town, you can say to them the following: First I am going to delve into the history of the town prior to the railroad getting here. Then I will talk about the first fire truck we had. Thirdly I will talk about the construction of our first high-school all the way to the present… Et cetera, et cetera.

 

 

Jack:                “In that case and supposing they wanted me to talk about my family, I could say: First I want to talk about my father’s side of the family and then about my mother’s side. And take it from there, right?”

 

 

Manny:             “Right. And what would you tell them about your father’s side of the family?”

 

 

Jack:                “That they always claimed to have come to this country in search of freedom, etc., etc. but that the reality was that they got kicked out of England due to their inability to get along with others.”

 

 

Manny:             “Okay, you then proceed by telling them the important things about both sides of your family and continue.”

 

 

Jack:                “Continue with what?”

 

 

Manny:             “Well, since you are just talking about your family, you may finish your narration by telling them that you’ve reached the end of it. You thank the audience and that’s that. I’m sure they will applaud you when you’re finished.”

 

 

Jack:                “Ah, but what if I have to present a thesis or an important proposal like our need to use more solar energy; then what do I do?”

 

 

Manny:             “You present your argumentation.”

 

 

Jack:                “Am I going to argue something?”

 

 

Manny:             “Yes, you will give the reasons for your idea, for your proposal, in this case for the use of solar energy.”

 

 

Jack:                “And how do I do it?”

 

 

Manny:             “You divide your line of argumentation into three parts: Beginning, Middle and End.”

 

 

Jack:                “What do I do in the beginning?”

 

 

Manny:             “You introduce the facts, for example, how much energy is consumed, where we get it from, etc. If you were writing a novel, this is the place to introduce the characters. It is also good to cause an impact: This is important, we need to use other sources of energy, etc.

 

 

Jack:                “What do I do in the middle of my narration or argumentation as you call it?”

 

 

Manny:             “You expand your arguments in the order you mentioned them: As I said before, we consume X amount of energy just from coal; in addition, we consume this much gas and oil, etc. This is also the best time to add humor. The reason for humor is to keep your audience’s attention. If they laugh, they might awake whoever is asleep.”

 

 

Jack:                “And at the end?”

 

 

Manny:             “You try your best to move your audience to tears, if that is appropriate. You make sure they understand the importance of your thesis.”

 

 

Jack:                “And that’s the final act, I suppose.”

 

 

Manny:             “No, it is not. You now have to refute any arguments against your thesis. You have to anticipate, for example, you can say: I know that some will say my idea is too expensive, but I say to them, it is even more expensive not to carry it through; in fact, it will be extremely expensive for the next generation. The time to act is NOW, etc., etc.

 

 

Jack:                “And that’s that.”

 

 

Manny:             “Not yet, Jack; now, in your epilogue, you have to remind them about what you said.”

 

 

Jack:                “You know Manny; you always come up with these strange words. What does epilogue mean?”

 

 

Manny:             “A conclusion in which you briefly repeat what was said; it is also a nice way to say that you’ve proven your point and that you are finished.”

 

 

Jack:                “I’ll be finished alright. I’ll never remember all this.”

 

 

Manny:             “Then remember a simplified version of an advice given by Aristotle, the Greek philosopher: Tell them what you’re going to tell them. Tell them. And then tell them what you’ve just told them.

 

 

© Jacob A. J. Taylor 2012

 

 

 

 

       Web Site: TT&T Publishers

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