smclewis

Gatsbyesque Goals

In Uncategorized on August 8, 2012 at 2:33 pm

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past…”

Robert Redford as Jay Gatsby.

One of my favorite moments in literature comes from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Gatsby, tragically American in his earnest obsession for self-improvement, (spoiler alert) and at the end of the book dead, is mourned by his father, Henry, who comes to the funeral bearing a copy of Hopalong Cassidy, which contains a list of a young Gatsby’s goals. It reads as follows:

  • No wasting time at Shafters or [a name, indecipherable].
  • No more smoking or chewing.
  • Bath every other day.
  • Read one improving book or magazine per week.
  • Save $5.00 [crossed out] $3.00 per week.
  • Be better to parents.

Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby (coming this Christmas).

This moment hits upon a tenderness of mine. I suppose it is because I have been a goal-list maker myself. And, I suppose, like Gatsby, I often fail to reach my goals, yet I keep on making them.

This summer has been no exception.

One goal that was accomplished for my mother: a family photo at Litchfield By the Sea.

In early June, I went to CVS and bought an obnoxiously neon yellow piece of poster board. I promptly whipped out a black sharpie and penned several goals. Among these were exercise goals, nutrition goals (like eating better/losing weight), a handful of vague spiritual goals, reading goals, intellectual goals, goals of “habit” and goals of being. Mindsets.

When I quickly realized mid-June that I was failing miserably at reaching any of these goals, I started writing down the things I was doing instead of reaching my goals: the movies I was watching (I recommend Winter’s Bone), the fun trips I took (Staunton,VA), the hours of Bravo television (my guilty pleasure) that kept me company while I vainly tried to pen a book, the virtual writing camp for teachers I joined, the popsicles I attempted to make in my state-of-the-art popsicle-maker, the books I read (The Weird Sisters, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Lilydale), and the insane amount of time I spent on Pinterest (pinning steampunk ideas for our upcoming production of Macbeth).

A stark and interesting portrayal of how poverty and addiction menaces our society. This is a story told about people that most would like to forget exist– and that is why I love it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now in August, I am trying to decide what to do with that piece of poster board and, more importantly, with my goals. Which ones are worth keeping? Why are they so hard to keep? Did I ever really believe in their importance for starters?

Did Gatsby?

Do you set/believe in goals?  Why or why not? What are some of your goals for this upcoming school year?

Extra credit opportunity: Write a blog describing what you did this summer and any goals that you achieved or failed to achieve. OR Write a blog answering the questions above (Do you set/believe in goals? Etc…) Post to the Ning by Sept. 1st. Grade on blog will be added as participation points for your grade.

Teacher Love,

Mrs. Lewis

PS: Middle-aged thought: Is it a privilege to lead a life that allows one the luxury of goals? That is to say, in Winter’s Bone, for example, the characters, especially the protagonist Ree Dolly,  were so focused on day-to-day survival, that goals would have seemed too close to dreaming to be real. Just a thought… after all this blog is called: Mrs. Lewis Thinks! 🙂

I enjoyed a visit with one of my best friends since 7th grade! Her name is Dusty and we had a blast. She is originally from this area. Oh yeah…and that’s my dog, Jax!

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