My performance of Teddy Roosevelt’s “The Man in the Arena”

21 July, L A.S. (2015)

The Man in the Arena, performed by G.R. Wilson

Good afternoon! I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a great week thus far! I finally got a new job, to work as a certified financial professional. I’ll start the training for that at the beginning of August. I get to wear a suit every day, (I’ll post pictures of the great new suits I bought yesterday,) learn all kinds of fancy financial knowledge, help people, and make bank. It’s gonna be a good time. I even get to stay here in my hometown!

These great past few days come at the end of a month-long period of mostly bad moods. I’ll spare you my life story, but a number of hang-ups and roadblocks have been getting me down,  but, through my own action, determination, and a bit of luck, I’ve gotten to a much better place. The road ahead is sure to be rough but rewarding.

In celebration, I want to share with you a little audio recording I made of a passage from a 1910 Teddy Roosevelt speech called Citizenship in a Republic.” This passage specifically is often called “The Man in the Arena.” I have it printed on the back-inside cover of my nifty Art of Manliness pocket notebook. I memorized this passage last year, and remembering it often strengthens my resolve.

Teddy Roosevelt was an amazing man, and is one of my biggest inspirations in life. He was born sickly, but built himself into a physically powerful man. He lived his strenuous life with enthusiasm and determination, achieving great feats of physical ability and bravery, as well as writing well over thirty books and serving in government roles from New York assemblyman all the way up to President of the United States. He was a cowboy, a police commissioner, a naturalist, a historian, and a loving father and husband. He led the fabled charge up San Juan Hill in the Spanish-American War, and explored the Amazon rainforest. An assassin shot him in the chest soon before he had to give a campaign speech in Wisconsin, but TR refused to go to the hospital until he finished saying what he had to say. (He opened to the crowd by declaring that it “takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose!”) Teddy is one of the men in history I most admire, and often seek to emulate.

“The Man in the Arena” gives a window into his noble worldview. Below is my own performance of the passage, and below that, its text:

The-Man-In-The-Arena

I have to say, my speaking skills have improved dramatically over the past few years. I’m no Bill Clinton yet, but my breathing technique, tonality, and projection are all better than before. I’ll continue to get better, and share more of the results here, with readings of some of my favorite poems, speeches, and stories. Many of which, but not all, will be Horror. Thank you for listening and reading. Keep on keepin’ on!

-G.R. Wilson

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