Daily art prompts. Today’s: “Dream a Little Dream.” I just drew and wrote what came to mind. It became instantly cathartic. Since March, I have lost a friend to a heart attack, my father to lung cancer and discovered a loved one is a severe alcoholic. This has brought to the fore some unsavory childhood memories. The spate of mass shootings in the past couple of days is also disturbing.
But art and writing are centering me.
I do like Under Armour’s motto.
I’m a teacher and I’m usually loathe to listen to any non-teacher who criticizes education. However, Seth Godin is a teacher in his own right and what he has to say makes perfect sense.
Godin published an education manifesto and I think everyone should read it. It’s made a deep impression on me and I’ve made immediate changes to my teaching. Rote memory is ridiculous. Deducting points off for trivial things is dumb. Let’s teach students how to learn and then CREATE things and take ACTION!
Just because it’s hard to make change doesn’t mean we should give up.
Like Moths to a Flame...This adage refers to the belief that people are driven by misguided values (such as greed or lust) and that this inevitably leads to self-destruction (moths commit suicide when they fly to the light).
Entomologists still don’t know why moths do this. With each hypothesis, there are contradictions to the assertion. Thus, the mystery continues. (LiveScience)
Something that we DO know is that people often kill their dreams through self-doubt and bad habits. It’s a slow and painless death. In fact, it might be quite enjoyable: Netflix Marathons, junk food binges and endless chatting on social media are feel good in that moment.
Passivity is killing your End Game. [End Game = publishing your book, starting your company, getting a better job, fostering rich relationships, running a marathon, losing 20 lbs., etc.]
Each day is precious. What action can you take to replace just one self-sacrificing habit today?
A young woman got married at the age of eighteen (like her mother had and her grandmother and all the other women in her family before her). She had five kids in quick succession. “And when the oldest child was ten, and the youngest was three months old, this woman’s husband left her.” (E. Gilbert)
To make a long story short, her heart was broken and she cried in despair. But then – that very day that she realized her husband was not coming back – she decided that the vision of her being poor and pathetic for the rest of her life was not to be. She was going to see the world someday.
The woman decided to save $1 every single day. It was not to be touched under any circumstances. This was her promise to herself. It was not emergency money.
She saved $1 every day for twenty years, filling many coffee cans.
And when the last child left the house, she went on a cargo ship (it was the least expensive way to cruise around the world). It stopped every few days and she’d disembark and see a new country.
This is the story the woman told Elizabeth Gilbert at one of her readings.
Clearly, we can decide to take fate into our own hands.
We can make our dreams come true. It might take longer than we’d like, but it can be realized.
“You can have it all. Just not all at once.”
– Oprah Winfrey
You can reach virtually any goal. All you need is an excellent plan and tenacious discipline.
Simple, but not easy.
Summer school students
yawning, with heads on their desks
Why are you here?
To get smart!
College – what is that?
Listen – you can be whatever you want to be
You can do it!
But you must work hard
Now, write down what you want to be
Mrs. Wipff, how do you spell….
(a list of jobs shouted out)
I write them down
There. You can be successful,
but you need strong math skills
you need to work hard
it’s all up to you
For the rest of the day, I call on
the doctor, the engineer, and the mechanic
(oh, the teacher and the artist, too)
they smile with their new monikers
they work hard on this hot summer day
“If you really want to do something, you’re going to have to go for it.”
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.
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