Strategies for “Interesting Times”: Invest in Talent

Feeling depressed about the future? Invest in someone with a high probability of Making the World Better.


Help Clara kick even more @$$!

I trust you. I want to skip this spiel and donate now.

The curse has come true: “Interesting times” are upon us.

For some, these are the best of times. For others, the worst. For me, it’s certainly the epoch of incredulity. But there’s no time for winters of despair or whatnot. There is shit to do. And so, with that, please allow me to introduce my own personal spring of hope:

Clara cooksClara Kim, DOERAward-winning writer. Ukulele hero. Enthusiastic hot-chicken eater. And determined achiever of anything she leans into. I got to know her by serving as her sous chef, as she “leaned into” cooking incredible feasts for ever-larger groups of fans and wowed even our chef friends with her delicious dishes.

And in the two years since she’s joined our Halcyon House clan (she stays with us during school breaks), I’ve watched her accomplish everything she set out to do, from winning a national writing award (for this incredible essay about her Big Life Plan) to raising money for her mom’s nonprofit and earning a scholarship to Sewanee.

She was a freshman when she first told me about her dream of studying math at a prestigious summer program in Hungary. I asked her why she loved math so much, when so many students hate it, or fear it. “I like it because other people say it’s too hard,” she told me. “I like to try things that other people don’t want to try.”

That, my friends, is spring-of-hope thinking, a thing which we are sorely in need of at present.

I don’t know what Clara’s going to do with her life, and she doesn’t yet, either. But one thing I know for sure: This young woman will not squander her gifts. When she wants something, she digs in harder than anyone I’ve ever seen. And as you’ll know from her essay (Did I mention her essay?), what she wants is a life of high achievement through service, a life of Making the World Better through sheer force of will and unadulterated Life Love.

All traits she learned from her equally fierce mom, Chantha Nguon.

So, here’s the pitch: Once again, Clara implemented her plan—she got accepted to the Budapest math program! The only obstacle is money: $5000 tuition, plane tickets to Hungary (via Cambodia, to reapply for visas), living expenses and dorm fees. She’ll need around 8K, and she’s already earned some of that herself.

She just needs a little help. Please enjoy this brief, delightful Clara Kim trailer, then rejoin us below for the final hard sell.

The final hard sell: Why waste time 1. getting mad; 2. sinking into depression; or 3. unleashing a Tweet storm against your enemies, when you could, instead do the following:

1. Help a brilliant #GirlinSTEM show the boys how to implement some effing mathematics;

2. balance the scales toward actual meritocracy, by refusing to let financial obstacles stand in the way of drive and talent;

3. piss off Clara’s former math teacher in Cambodia, who told her that if she kept doing “too well” in math, she wouldn’t snag a husband (AS IF she cared);

4. expose Clara’s finely-tuned palate to the magic of goulash?


Visit Clara’s GoFundMe page, and chip in.*

*note: She needs >$5000, so please ignore the low-ball goal we set for the GoFundMe page, based solely on the fear that she might not meet the fundraising goal. Like that would ever happen.

I thank you. Clara Kim thanks you. And one day, she’ll most likely save us all.

Clara flag.jpg

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