Your creative legacy is based in your life and work. Be conscious of the impact you’re creating — next, build strong foundations to anchor that legacy in place.
My name is Esmé, of Esmé Weijun Wang Productions. I’m a novelist and nonfiction writer who lives with schizoaffective disorder and chronic Lyme disease. Words are the tools with which I work best — and so with public speaking and with writing, I put together inspirational talks and create work that I hope will affect people, and will perhaps even outlast me. Maybe this seems outrageously hubristic.
Or perhaps you have a similar aim.
To focus on legacy by considering our mortality may seem unnecessarily morbid, but it’s a useful way to keep ourselves aware of how every moment of our lives matters — how our moments, days, and years count in the greater scheme of things. We never know when our days will end. We all have something unique to give. If you make things — if you write, dance, draw, paint, sculpt — it is likely that, despite what some may think, you work insanely hard. After all, you’re not only honing your craft and exploring new frontiers; you’re also figuring out how to earn money while doing so. Whether you’re a self-proclaimed artist, creative, creative entrepreneur, or all of the above, your efforts to build a powerful body of work also come with the demands of building a life for yourself.
Do you believe in building a creative legacy sustainably, and with resilience?
I do. And I want to help you make your best work.
I believe that robust legacies are made by people who aren’t constantly burning out and creating with an empty tank. And because I also believe that legacy-building includes how we’re remembered as people, I’m convinced that doing so includes creating art with a full heart. My work is inspired by my business and life ethos…
Leave your mark.
…as it applies to the programs and conversations about creative legacy and resilience happening here in 2015. Upcoming releases include Where’s the Electricity?, a powerful workbook and audio program to help you pinpoint your creative themes and obsessions, as well as the self-paced program Rawness of Remembering: Restorative Journaling Through Difficult Times, which has been called “beyond amazing” and “transformative” by former students.
…as it applies to my e-book and audiobook, Light Gets In, which has been described by PsychCentral editor Margarita Tartakovsky as “a must-read for anyone, as this beautiful book ultimately speaks to humanity and hope.” I’m also a freelance writer for publications such as The Toast, Salon, and Jezebel; received my MFA from the University of Michigan’s top-ranking Creative Writing program; and have been awarded the Sudler Award, Hopwood Award, a paid residency with stipend at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and the Elizabeth George Foundation Grant. I’m currently revising a novel, as well as writing an essay collection about schizophrenia.
…as it applies to my work as a speaker at places such as the World Domination Summit and the Out of the Binders Symposium, where I not only talk about my personal story, but about everyone’s story: there is nothing broken about us.
…as it applies to my mental health advocacy. As a part of my advocacy work, I share my stories in my blog, also known as the Journal, and with permission, the stories of others, about mental health and illness. When people ask me why I write about mental health struggles, I tell them about the woman who wrote to say that she was contemplating suicide one night, spent the dark hours reading the Journal instead, and then decided that she was going to live. Storytelling about surviving, and thriving, with serious and chronic illnesses is both a balm and a call to action for everyone to live their best life, no matter the circumstance.
Your biggest strengths are storytelling, aesthetic reverence and a kind of curated compassion that is unparalleled. I’ve learned that we are the ‘More Story’ — not more than our stories, but that my story matters and I matter — in combination.” – Dyana Valentine, Oracle
AND NOW FOR A BIT OF LAGNIAPPE…
[Esmé’s] blog is beautiful, smart, and thought-provoking.” – Gala Darling, writer & founder of the Radical Self Love movement
My media bio: Esmé Weijun Wang is a writer and speaker; her site, at esmewang.com, is where mental health advocacy meets compassionate excellence. Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, she attended Yale, Stanford, and the University of Michigan, went from intern to Assistant Editor for an international lifestyle magazine, and was a writer and editor at ModCloth before launching Esmé Weijun Wang Productions. The author of the e-book Light Gets In, Wang has been seen in Salon, the New Yorker Online, Jezebel, the New York Times, and Clementine Daily.
For fun, a few lesser-known facts:
- I used to be on a children’s television show. I was “let go” from the show because I couldn’t stop laughing during one of the tapings.
- Though I was a class clown in high school, being a brainy kid saved me from punishment; the pinnacle of my comedic career was making it to callbacks for Yale’s oldest sketch comedy troupe, in which I spent about five minutes reciting the alphabet while pretending to withdraw a tapeworm from my mouth. And I want to try stand-up comedy at least once.
- I’m an INFJ, a 4 on the Enneagram, and a Gemini with a Taurus moon and a Capricorn rising.
- A popular Taiwanese miniseries was created about my father’s family. Skeletons in the closet, ahoy!