One Hard Thing


Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 9.42.21 PMSo add Angela Lee Duckworth to the list that includes Amy Chua, Michelle Rhee, and Bich Minh Nguyen: The list of Asian women who make me wonder if I make the most of my time. As I listened to Duckworth, a psychologist, on the podcast, Hidden Brain with Shankar Vedantam, Duckworth mentioned that each member of her family selects “one hard thing” that requires deliberate focus and sticks it out to the end of a season–no quitting in the middle.

Was it coding? Is yoga too easy? Reading? Cooking vegan? Have I given up on writing? Sorting through your life can be humbling.

Last week, Zadie Smith, came to our small town and asked, “Why Write?” She eloquently repurposed George Orwell’s “Why I Write?” to question popular understanding of creativity and offer refusal as another part of the response. A friend and I both found these words to characterize Smith which hinted at a tired phrase because it felt over the top–but wasn’t, “fierce intellect.”

While reading up on Smith, I noticed she is one degree of separation from another writer I admire, Louise Erdich, whom Smith recently presented with an award.

solI’m reading Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, and am struck by the craft. I was afraid to read this book, because of . . . well, Viet Nam. But much like an initial bias against vegan-ism or classic movies like The Third Man, unfamiliarity with concepts in the popular zeitgeist, can go either way–invite you into the club or cast you as an outsider. My outsider status confirmed when I finally saw Les Miserables on Broadway and Citizen Kane on Netflix. Too distant. Too Late? However, an insider status prevailed elsewhere: Pride and Prejudice and vegan cooking–among others.

So in an attempt to break the silence, I’m returning hopefully to a Slice of Life. It as my One Hard Thing–on Tuesdays.

About jaclynfre

Tech integration specialist, recipe adventurer, fast walker, sporadic writer, aunt, sister and daughter
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2 Responses to One Hard Thing

  1. mrssurridge says:

    I don’t know most of what you wrote about, but I love NPR so have put your link in my to-listen-to file. I can’t wait to find out more. Apparently, I will have to check out more of your links, also. I love how you ended this slice–I totally get it–committing to writing on Tuesdays DOES seem to belong on the One Hard Thing list.

  2. Suzanne says:

    Yeah, Jackie!! I teach Angela Duckworth’s Grit research to my students every semester. I didn’t know about this story – so thanks!!! I’ll definitely share it with them in the fall! I also resonated with that because I’ve been trying to kick my acid reflux meds and lower my cholesterol which have seemed like 100 Hard Things!!! But I’m getting there!! So, I send encouragement to you with your One Hard Thing – that it’s lifegiving and brings meaning!!! Thanks for writing!

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