Course curriculum

  • 1

    Welcome to the course!

  • 2

    Season 1 — Cather, Dickinson, Gibran, Beckett

    • Introduction to Season 1

    • "He says the right thing is usually what everybody don't do." -- Willa Cather, O Pioneers!

    • The Opposite of the Right Thing

    • "Surgeons must be very careful When they take the knife! Underneath their fine incisions Stirs the culprit -- life!" -- Emily Dickinson

    • When I Am Cut, I Bleed...

    • "Thinking is always the stumbling stone to poetry." -- Kahlil Gibran

    • Stop Thinking.

    • "Do you believe in the life to come? Mine was always that." -- Endgame, Samuel Beckett

    • Miracle Question

  • 3

    Season 2 — Angelou, Fitzgerald, Goethe, Thoreau

    • Introduction to Season 2

    • "Just trust yourself and you will know how to live." -- Goethe

    • If I Trusted Myself

    • "Until the great mobs could be educated into a moral sense, someone must cry 'Thou shalt not!'" -- F. Scott Fitzgerald

    • I Shalt Not

    • If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost. That is where they should be. Now put the foundation under them." -- Henry David Thoreau

    • Castles in the Air

    • "You may write me down in history with your bitter twisted lies. You may trod me in the very dirt but still, like dust, I rise." -- Maya Angelou, Still I Rise

    • 3 Lies + 3 Ways You Rise

  • 4

    Season 3 — Faulkner, Walker, Ozeki, Milton

    • Introduction to Season 3

    • It's not when you realize that nothing can help you --religion, pride, anything-- It's when you realize that you don't need aid." -- William Faulkner

    • I Need

    • “A mind not to be changed by place or time. The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make a hell of heaven, a heaven of hell.” -- John Milton, Paradise Lost

    • Your Mind is Your Own Place

    • “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” -- Alice Walker

    • I Give Up My Power

    • “Life is fleeting. Don't waste a single moment of your precious life. Wake up now! And now! And now!” -- Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being

    • Wake Up To Life

  • 5

    Season 4 — Didion, Heaney, Douglass, Johnson

    • Introduction to Season 4

    • “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.” -- Joan Didion

    • I Write To Discover

    • "I love the pure peaceable and impartial Christianity of Christ. I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding...partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land." -- Frederick Douglass

    • Religion

    • "It seems to me, said Imlac, that in pursuing the choice of life, you neglect to live." -- Samuel Johnson, Rasselas

    • Stop Choosing, Start Living

    • "It was as if I had stepped free into space alone with nothing that I had not known already...keep at a tangent. When they make the circle wide, it's time to swim out on your own and fill the element with signatures of your own frequency." Seamus Heaney

    • Signatures

  • 6

    Season 5 — Silko, Adichie, Hughes, Whitman

    • Introduction to Season 5

    • “You don't have anything if you don't have the stories.” -- Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony

    • My Favorite Story

    • “You can't write a script in your mind and then force yourself to follow it. You have to let yourself be.” --Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun

    • Allow for Rewrites

    • What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? ... Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode? -- Langston Hughes, Harlem

    • Dreams Deferred

    • "I also say it is good to fall. Battles are lost in the same spirit in which they are won." -- Walt Whitman

    • Spectacular Failures

  • 7

    Season 6 — de Beauvoir, Marsalis, Emerson, Allende

    • Introduction to Season 6

    • "The secret of happiness...is to live like everybody else, not being like anyone." -- Simone de Beauvoir

    • I Am Like No One Else

    • "Black codes mean a lot of things. Anything that reduces potential, that pushes your taste down to an obvious, animal level. The overall quality of every true artist's work is a rebellion against black codes” -- Winton Marsalis

    • Black Codes

    • "The only gift is a portion of thyself." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

    • I Am The Gift

    • "You only have what you give. It’s by spending yourself that you become rich." -- Isabel Allende

    • I Spend Myself

  • 8

    Season 7 — Austen, Kogawa, St Euxpery, Feynman

    • Introduction to Season 7

    • "There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me." -- Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

    • My Weaknessess Serve Me

    • “Don't deny the past. Remember everything. If you're bitter, be bitter. Cry it out! Scream! Denial is gangrene.”-- Joy Kogawa

    • Angry & Bitter

    • "To live is to be slowly born." -- Pilote, Antoine de Saint Euxpery "Vivre, c'est naitre lentement"

    • I Feel Myself Slowly Awakening

    • "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself -- and you are the easiest person to fool." -- Richard Feynman

    • I Fool Myself

  • 9

    Season 8 — Satrapi, Rowling, Voltaire, Gilman

    • Introduction to Season 8

    • “Life is too short to be lived badly.” -- Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return

    • I Live

    • "Anything's possible if you've got enough nerve.” -- J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

    • If I Had Enough Nerve...

    • "Everything is for the best in the best of all possible worlds." -- Voltaire, Candide

    • Everything Is For The Best

    • "There you have it. You see, they were mothers, not in our sense of helpless involuntary fecundity, forced to till and overfill the land, every land, and then see their children suffer, sin and die" -- Herland, Charlotte Perkins Gilman

    • Mother — Conscious Creator

  • 10

    Season 9 — Chang, Shakespeare, O'Conner, Conrad

    • Introduction to Season 9

    • “If you have love, even plain cold water is sweet.” -- Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China

    • With Love

    • "With devotion’s visage and pious action we do sugar over the Devil himself." -- Shakespeare

    • Pious Action

    • “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” -- Flannery O'Connor

    • Hard Truths

    • "We live, as we dream -- alone." -- Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

    • We Live As We Dream

  • 11

    Season 10 — Jong, Nin, Plath, Vonnegut

    • Season 10 Introduction

    • “I am not cruel, only truthful. A woman bends over me searching my reaches for who she really is." -- Mirror, Sylvia Plath

    • My Mirror Sees

    • "For an artist must learn that she works for the the work itself, not for approval, and it is easier to establish that sense of relative independence when that approval is lacking than when one is being seduced by it." -- Erica Jong

    • Without Approval

    • "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” -- Anais Nin

    • Blossoming

    • "Be careful what you pretend to be, because you are what you pretend to be." -- Kurt Vonnegut

    • I Pretend

  • 12

    Season 11 — Alexie, McCarthy, Shonagon, Ellison

    • Introduction to Season 11

    • "The dream he needed most was the dream that frightened him more." -- Sherman Alexie

    • Holding Fears

    • "Life is to be lived, not controlled; and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat." -- Ralph Ellison

    • Even Though I Might Fail

    • "You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget." -- Cormac McCarthy

    • Childhood Memory

    • “There is nothing in the whole world so painful as feeling that one is not liked.” ― Sei Shonagon, The Pillow Book

    • Feeling Unliked

  • 13

    Season 12 — Cervantes, Murakami, Morrison, Frank

    • Introduction to Season 12

    • "Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind."-- Cervantes, Don Quixote

    • Going Without Reading

    • "Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart." -- Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

    • Memories

    • "You are your best thing" -- Toni Morrison, Beloved

    • I Am My Own Best Thing

    • "In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart." -- Anne Frank, Diary of Anne Frank

    • Good At Heart

  • 14

    Season 13 — Wright, Lee, Bronte, Coelho

    • Introduction to Season 13

    • “Man can starve from a lack of self-realization as much as… from a lack of bread.”-- Richard Wright, Native Son

    • I Know I Am

    • "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it." -- Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

    • Walk In Their Shoes

    • "I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will." -- Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

    • Free & Independent

    • "People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of." -- Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

    • My Dream Is

  • 15

    Next steps

    • An entire 52 journal entries...that'a quite a lot

    • More resources for you

    • Before you go...