I teach conversational English online, and I’m constantly humbled by my Korean students. They’re the working-est people I’ve ever met. While I and my American friends fight with jutted jaw and balled fists to get all the sleep we can, these people fight to get as little as they can.
I (and my friends) usually snarl at the morning sun and slam the snooze button on the alarm in order to get “just five more minutes of sleep,” but these people find the “snooze” concept incomprehensible. When the alarm sounds, they pop out of bed and hurry to their first morning assignment, knowing their entire future hinges on the exact degree of academic prowess they possess.
When I think of my students, I think of that Bible verse that says, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise…,” and believe me, I don’t feel the least bit proud. Why? Because I know I don’t produce half of what I’m capable of; I can do better.
I’ve written about this before, but I feel this concept deserves more press, especially in wake of the Tokyo tsunami. Now, not only are my students struggling to stay awake as long as they can to stuff as much information into their skulls as they can possibly hold, but they have to worry about the tsunami and possible radiation exposure. No, they don’t live in Japan, but they have impressed upon me the fact that Korea is very close to Japan, and, depending upon the direction of the wind, it might just end up in the direct path of that deadly radioactivity we’ve all been hearing about.
And yet they trudge on. They’re never absent, never late to online class. They smile and thank me for my time, and if I happen to mention that I’m praying for them, they quiver with appreciation.
What am I saying? I’m saying that we American writers have no excuse for not writing. We are not perched on our roofs watching bodies and buildings sweeping past us, we’re not fleeing radioactive winds. We have no government officials telling us to stay inside our homes, even as deadly radiation penetrates our walls, our windows, our food and our very bodies. We don’t have to wonder about wind direction, or where on God’s earth we will go if the wind suddenly shifts and blows that deadly radiation our way.
The only thing on our agenda (at the moment, anyway) is writing. So writers, what are you waiting for? You have no excuse…not really.
Get your pen. Find your pad. Take your seat and write.
Best wishes and happy writing,