It may seem a leap from an ode to "I Dream of Jeannie" to the graduation ceremony at Lancaster University (John of Gaunt's Lancaster in the UK, not the pale copy I'll be visiting in Pennsylvania in a month), but you can't deny master erotica writer Ashley Lister has much in common with the Barbara Eden character when you're talking amazing talents and feats of wonder.
Most of us are familiar with Ashley's witty and wild erotic short stories and his nonfiction books, Swingers: True Confessions from Today's Swinging Scene and Swingers: Female Confidential, but just this week, he's added another accomplishment to the impressive list by receiving his Bachelor's Degree with first-class Honors in English Language, Literature and Creative Writing from the aforementioned Lancaster University. Ashley ranked first in his class and thus was invited to give a speech--he'd be called valedictorian in the US, but such a designation doesn't exist in the UK.
I can't think of any speaker I'd rather have on the roster at a graduation ceremony, but when I asked Ashley if he used the opportunity to bestow much-needed tips on writing effectively about sex to his listeners, he said he saves that advice for the creative writing classes he's teaching and will continue to teach at the university. (Lucky students!) He reported that since his talk concluded the ceremony he thought "it was mainly a signal to the graduates that the boring graduation ceremony was finished and everyone could rush out to binge on free coffee and cakes." (Mmm, cakes... Maids of Honor? Currant scones with fresh strawberry jam and clotted cream?) The following eloquent quote, however, got high praise from the audience: "In the last three years I’ve been introduced to an array of mind-blowing theories; a wealth of ways to explore my creativity; and a class of great and innovative thinkers who I shall always treasure as friends."
I'm getting a little sniffly, too, actually.
In conclusion, I'd like to extend my congratulations to Ashley for his impressive accomplishment. I wish I could have been in the audience clapping, but trust all of my good wishes will sail smoothly across an ocean.