writers · writing

Wanted: Trailblazers

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Artists are powerful because they appeal to people’s hearts and minds. Painters, sculptors, writers, musicians and other artists are changemakers.  Writers, for example, can be drivers for social equity.

Two Asian actors in “Hawaii Five-O” just left the show. When they signed on, they were the big names. No one really knew the two white lead actors (Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan). Daniel Dae Kim was coming from “Lost” and Grace Park was famous for her work in “Battlestar Galactica.” The Asian actors were really the draw for the show. Now, seven years later, the Asian actors are still not making as much money as the lesser known leads.

NPR had an intriguing and informative interview with writer Rick Najera and Jeff Yang (podcast host). Najera made the assertion that the power lies in the hands of the writers:

NAJERA: The writers’ room can decide whether that actor is a supporting actor or a leading actor. So it’s very easy to make that decision. So you can sit there and say, well, we have two Asian actors on a show set in Hawaii, which is predominately very Asian, let’s make them leads. They can make that decision early on. I think Hollywood’s kind of catching up to that thought and wants to. It’s just everyone in Hollywood wants to be second, no one wants to be first.

I believe artists outside of Hollywood – the independent filmmakers and artists – are the people who will make (are making) this happen.

Be the first!

 

 

 

 

 

Personal Success · women · writers · writing

Spotlight on Marie Myung-Ok Lee, Writer

Hello all, I published this two years ago. I thought I’d publish it again for those of you who may have missed it:

 

“If you really want to do something, you’re going to have to go for it.”

Marie Myung-Ok Lee

I first learned about Marie when I was researching Korean-American history for a San Francisco State University’s ethnic studies class I was going to teach for Dr. Grace Yoo (during her sabbatical). Her book, Somebody’s Daughter, expertly covers both the adopted child/adult’s perspective as well as that of the adoptee within two cultures. Marie Myung-Ok Lee is a Korean-American author and essayist, writing often for The New York Times, The Atlantic and Newsweek. She’s been published in Witness, The Kenyon Review, TriQuarterly and Slate. She teaches creative writing at Brown University and Columbia University.

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Marie Myung-Ok Lee

If you’re interested in being a writer, Marie is sure to inspire you. She is not only an accomplished writer, but a loving mother to an autistic teenage boy. Her essay for The Atlantic Monthly “What My Son’s Disabilities Taught Me About ‘Having It All’” is one of the most moving, enlightening articles I have ever read.

Despite her extremely busy schedule (she’s working on her next novel), she graciously and generously spoke with me on the phone. She is a modest, hard-working, intelligent and creative person. When I informed her of my objective with my blog (to help others achieve goals by reading of people who have already accomplished them), she got right to the point:

“I constantly write. Every single day from 4:30am to 6pm. I never take a day off.” She lives in NYC in a small apartment with her husband (a professor), and their son.  Previous to writing, she was an investment banker for five years. Although writing does not even come close to the money she made before, Marie couldn’t be happier with her work, “I love it.”

Another tip: “I get 10 rejections to each offer. You have to be committed to writing. If you really want to do something, you’re going to have to go for it.”

Marie is down-to-earth, honest and practical. When I congratulated her on all of her great work, she was quick to point out that it took her eight years to write her novel, and that she couldn’t live on her salary alone. The family is on her husband’s insurance and she constantly juggles motherhood and her work. When she left banking, she was a ghost writer, a freelancer, an editor. She obtained fellowships and worked hard at her novel.

Wanting it, working hard, sacrificing hours each and every day, utilizing your strengths (and challenges)…going for your passions: these are the secrets to her success.

Marie’s most recent article can be found here, on Salon.com. She provides a careful analysis of the McKinney, TX pool party incident, tying in a personal example of mistreatment by an adult when she was a teenager.

You can follow Marie Myung-Ok Lee on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarieLeeWriter

Her Twitter handle is @MarieMyungOkLee

motivation · Personal Success · writers · writing

On “Perfection”

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photo by Thought Catalog

On Perfection:

Elizabeth Gilbert, American Author

“Perfection is the death of all good things, perfection is the death of pleasure, it’s the death of productivity, it’s the death of efficiency, it’s the death of joy. Perfection is just a bludgeon that goes around murdering everything good. Somebody once said I was disingenuous for saying this, because surely I try to make my work as good as it can be. And that’s absolutely true — but there’s a really big difference between ‘as good as it can be’ and perfection.” – TED, September 2015

 

 

Health · writers · writing

The Best “News” Alternative

One of my goals with this blog is to write frequently in order to hone my writing skills. In doing so, I vowed to write original work and to avoid merely re-posting the work of others.

However, I love THIS WEBSITE so much, I need to share it with you:

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GREAT BIG STORY

 

Reading or watching the news lately has left me feeling a bit anxious. An instant spirit lift is this website. It’s news, but it’s all GREAT news. They cover individuals who are making a difference in their communities: city, county, country and the world. I recommend subscribing to this gem so that you get a bit of non-fiction inspiration daily.

Have a great Make it a great day!

Personal Success · writers · writing

15 Down, 45 to Go

student paper

It’s that time again: Fifth graders write a research paper on a famous scientist/athlete/politician/artist. They will dress up as the celebrity and give a 30-60 second speech in first person.

Grading the papers can bring tears of joy or sadness.

It’s akin to the feeling when a student gives you an end-of-year gift with the message of thanks:

You are my favrit teacher.

Or,

You are grate.

 

 

 

education · women · writers · writing

“1385”

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A belated (if there ever could be such a thing) Teacher Appreciation gift given to me today by one of my most eccentric 6th graders.

One of my favorite poems thus far:

“Secrets” is a daily word

Yet does not exist –

Muffled – it remits surmise –

Murmured – it has ceased –

Dungeoned in the Human Breast

Doubtless secrets lie –

But that Grate inviolate –

Goes nor comes away

Nothing with a Tongue or Ear –

Secrets staped there

Will emerge but once – and dumb –

To the Sepulchre –

 

That this student could appreciate great works such as this and create her own thoughtful writings makes my heart optimistic!

comic · education · school · writers

Word Nerd Undeterred

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Four 4th grade girls stand around, bored. I grab a board game out of the recreation wagon. “Here, play this, it’s super fun!”

They break into teams. Each has a pencil and paper. They shake the word box more violently than necessary.

“FUM!” Yells one girl with glee.

 

“Fum” is not a word!

Yes it is! Fee-Fi-Fo-FUM!

 

Mrs. Wipff, could you look up fum? Is it a word?

I look it up. “Well, according to Wikipedia, it IS a word: Fum is a traditional Catalan Christmas carol.”

The group disbands shortly after that.

Too many words. Kind of boring.

Boggle is the bomb! How can they call it boring? Maybe I’m just a word nerd.