Grinnell college amy tan, doctor of humane letters poweshiek county easy ways to make money online guide

Tan has also written a book of short stories, two children’s books, and a range of nonfiction works. Her children’s book sagwa, about a curious siamese kitten living in china, was adapted for PBS. She served as a creative consultant for the television series easy ways to make money online adapted from the book, and she served as narrator when the san francisco symphony easy ways to make money online played the original score for sagwa.

President kington, esteemed professors and grinenellian alumni, proud family members and happy friends, and especially those of you in cap and gown, the class of 2019, it’s an honor to be here with you today on easy ways to make money online this wonderful occasion at grinnell college. Truly. You are my kind of people. You are curious, you wonder, and you imagine what might be possible for you and easy ways to make money online the world. You question and don’t accept generalities. You ponder the elusive nature of morality and ethics, and whether they are universal. You are interested in not just one perspective, but in intersecting and contradictory views. You have strong opinions but seek an evolution of shared easy ways to make money online understanding. You are open-minded, not single-minded about anything. You know that science is not separate from the humanities, and so you worry about global warming and its effect easy ways to make money online on people and one million species. You are aware of the differing beliefs that bifurcate our easy ways to make money online nation and you want to address what divides us—racism, inequality, injustice. You want to alleviate human suffering. There is so much of that throughout our world. Where do we begin? You and I know that stories and situations have many easy ways to make money online beginnings and they do not end with simple resolutions, good or bad. Something continues. And you are part of that something. You have always been part of that story.

Given that you are independent thinkers, I won’t be giving you any all-encompassing advice, no homilies, or ancient chinese wisdom. Instead I am going to do what writers do best, and that is to talk about myself. You see, I’ve found that with every book I’ve written, if I have been honest and deeply personal, many people find the very private thoughts and emotions I easy ways to make money online express through fictional characters also resonate with their very private easy ways to make money online feelings and thoughts.

So let me begin by saying that I did not easy ways to make money online dream of becoming a fiction writer. At age 6, I already knew what I would do when I grew easy ways to make money online up. That’s because a well-dressed lady came to my school and gave me a easy ways to make money online test. She later met with my parents and told them I easy ways to make money online was smart enough to be a doctor. My parents delighted in telling me that. What’s more, my parents said, since I had been taking piano lessons since the age easy ways to make money online of 5, I could also become a concert pianist. Imagine it: surgery at 8 a.M., piano concert at 8 p.M. At age six, fear had me in its clutches. What if the test was wrong and I was not easy ways to make money online smart enough? That question of smartness would haunt me throughout childhood and easy ways to make money online even into adulthood.

While I never dreamed of becoming a writer, I did wish I could be an artist. Drawing came naturally to me. I had a good eye. Everyone said so. I could draw a cat that looked like a cat. But in my junior year of high school, my art teacher had this to say on my report easy ways to make money online card. “has admirable drawing skills. But lacks imagination, necessary for a deeper creative level.” lacks imagination, not deep, not creative. That is about the worst thing you could say to easy ways to make money online an artist—or to a writer.

My SAT scores revealed I had limitations as well. In english, I scored in the 400s. While not dismal, it certainly was not an indication I would be standing easy ways to make money online before you today as your author. Oddly enough, I scored in the 700s in spanish. Go figure. I also did better in math. So perhaps the well-dressed lady with the test was right. I could be a doctor. I began my studies at linfield college as a pre-med major. The trouble was, I had no interest in biology or chemistry, the periodic table or the italicized latinate names for the easy ways to make money online parts of a million things. Without a reason to learn, failure loomed large and was hastened by love. You see, I met a boy on a blind date, and I remained blind to the fact that I should easy ways to make money online study for finals instead of longing to be with him. As I recall, I got a C in chemistry, a D in biology and an F in calculus. My father died the year before, so I had to tell only my mother that her easy ways to make money online dream of calling me dr. Tan had gone poof. Soon I delivered another blow. I had quit piano lessons. There would be no applause, no curtsy bow, no tears of motherly pride.

At last, I had failed my parents’ expectations. I was devastated yet I also felt liberated. Despite my mediocre SAT scores in english, I decided to become an english major, in part because my freshman english professor told me he easy ways to make money online was impressed with my essays. But more so, because I had always loved to read novels. During my junior year at san jose state university, I read chaucer’s canterbury tales and fell madly in love with middle easy ways to make money online english—in the texture of words and the history and lives easy ways to make money online of those people who spoke them. I took a second major in linguistics. Happily, I did not have to decide what I would do easy ways to make money online with my degree because as soon as I finished, I went into a master’s program and after that a phd program, which would give me another four years to not decide easy ways to make money online what I would do with my life. By the second year, however, I was floundering. For several reasons, I believed I was the worst student and would soon easy ways to make money online be asked to leave. Rather than face that humiliation, I quit the doctoral program. Seven years of study had led to nothing. My future was now the blank in “fill in the blank.” I went in full-blown existential crisis, darkness and doom. My crisis was soon eclipsed by the murder of one easy ways to make money online of our closest friends. He was a computer science major who had planned to easy ways to make money online make innovative devices for people with disabilities. He would have done something meaningful with his life. And me? I now vowed to do the same. I applied for a position as a language development specialist easy ways to make money online who would evaluate and provide program recommendations for children birth easy ways to make money online to five with developmental disabilities—down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, and many disabilities I had never heard of. Mind you, I had taken a couple of courses on language acquisition, none on disabilities, or intervention, or early education. I didn’t even like babies and toddlers. They screamed a lot, pooped, and flung food from high chairs. But I was committed to doing something meaningful and through easy ways to make money online sheer earnestness, I talked my way into that job. In the beginning, I tried to show people how knowledgeable I was to easy ways to make money online overcome the fact that I wasn’t. One day, a mother who could barely speak english, said to me, “you so smart.” and I felt so stupid. After that, I simply listened to those parents whose children had just easy ways to make money online been diagnosed. They spoke of fear and love and hope and when easy ways to make money online those parents cried, I cried with them. When I evaluated their children, I threw out the standardized tests and just observed their easy ways to make money online personalities, what they liked and paid attention to. I learned that every child and family had a story easy ways to make money online about hope and love, and I had been interwoven into all of them.

For four years, I did meaningful work. But then a terrible thing happened: I was promoted to be a project director. I no longer worked directly with children and parents. I wrote proposals and budgets. I had to manage a team of people. I also had serious disagreements with my superiors about priorities easy ways to make money online and budget allocations. After a year, I walked away from my job and my profession. Quitting was becoming a habit.

Through a friend, I got a job as a copywriter at a newly easy ways to make money online established PR agency. The salary was low, but I was told I would be a partner with easy ways to make money online a 20% stake in the company. The company specialized in writing direct mail and formulaic press easy ways to make money online releases for questionable products. I did this willingly for a year because I was easy ways to make money online a partner—until my boss told me I was not. When I told him I was going out on my easy ways to make money online own as a freelance writer, he gave me these words of encouragement: “writing is your worst skill. You’ll be lucky to make a dime.”

I was so angered by his condescension that I took easy ways to make money online his words as a challenge. Within a few months, I had a roster of clients and was making a easy ways to make money online ton of dimes. I wrote business articles, corporate speeches, focus group analyses, and employee newsletters for companies such as wells fargo and easy ways to make money online bank of america, AT&T and IBM. Soon I was working 90 hours a week, proof that my clients loved me. I was irreplaceable, they said. I doubled my rate and they still loved me. I was a great success. But each morning, when I sat down at my desk, I asked myself, is this what I’ll be doing ten years from now? Twenty years? And a frisson of fear would run through me because easy ways to make money online nothing I did held any meaning for me.

A friend told me I was a workaholic and suggested easy ways to make money online I see a psychiatrist. It went against all my inborn skills as a bargain easy ways to make money online hunter to pay $200 an hour just to let a stranger listen to easy ways to make money online me complain about my life. The only words he ever said were “our time is up. We’ll continue next week.” one day, I saw why he said so little. He was asleep. I said nothing, but the third time it happened, I asked for a refund and quit therapy. I came up with my own plan to combat workaholism. I would still do business writing to make a living, but I would also write fiction, for pleasure. I went to a writers workshop and there I felt easy ways to make money online as if my mind and soul had been plugged into easy ways to make money online an electrical socket and the dormant parts of me had easy ways to make money online come alive. Through the subterfuge of fiction, my stories had lured me into finding deep emotional truths. They were so startling, I felt punched in the gut, and would both laugh and cry. They were the greatest highs I had ever experienced. And I was greedy for more. For the first time, I was doing what I loved and it had nothing easy ways to make money online to do with a career or making money or pleasing easy ways to make money online someone else. I knew I would write fiction the rest of my easy ways to make money online life, although, pragmatic person that I was, I kept my day job as a freelance business writer, because, as everyone knows, you can’t make a dime as a fiction writer.

You know what happened, of course. I got published. But it happened without my seeking an agent or a easy ways to make money online publisher. It was like winning the lottery without ever having bought easy ways to make money online a ticket. And that was frightening. I couldn’t trust it. It was luck riding on asteroid, and soon it would disintegrate. It took fully six months before I could accept my easy ways to make money online new life. But before I did, I pledged that I would not let success change me. I wrote a list of what was important in my easy ways to make money online life. Thirty years have gone by since the first book was easy ways to make money online published and I am grateful every single day for the easy ways to make money online life I have as a writer. I am changed in some ways, but I still look for bargains, and my belief in what is important remains the same.

What I’ve told you is not a success story. It is about being repeatedly lost, about quitting and starting over with no consistent plan, about confusion and luck, about recognizing that the meaning of life does not lie easy ways to make money online in the future of who I might become, but in the moments when I know who I am easy ways to make money online and who I am not. That meaning is particular to me and my life experiences, to my relation with my family, my community, my country, and the world. And the meaning of my life includes my responsibilities as easy ways to make money online a writer in the public eye—to speak out on cruelty, racism, and injustice.

Remember the well-dressed woman who gave me a test when was 6? I found her. Dr dolores durkin. She did not tell my parents I was smart enough easy ways to make money online to be a doctor. My parents made that up. She tested me because I was one of 49 children easy ways to make money online who learned to read before the first grade. She was doing research on whether early reading helped or easy ways to make money online harmed a child’s future learning. When I told her what my parents had said, she replied, “they were wrong to do that. You loved to read and that’s why you became a writer.” I cried when she said that.

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