Quitting: Is it failure?

Quit. It can be such a negative word. I’ve heard messages my entire life of “don’t quit” or “don’t give up.”

I use the word “quit” with my kids almost every single day in the form of “Quit fighting!” I laugh at that because they’re never going to stop fighting. When they really get into an argument that won’t let up, I make them do more chores. I figure if they’re going to fight, they might as well do something productive while they argue.

We encourage our children to stick with sports or their music, dance or karate lessons that we may or may not have pressured them into taking in the first place. Quitters never win, and winners never quit, right? But let’s get real here, what if someone legitimately sucks at something? Is it okay to quit then? Must they have exhausted all efforts and failed first? Is failing once enough to quit? Twice? Three times?

What if you truly hate what you’re doing? What if doing it crushes a piece of your soul with every breath? Then, is it acceptable to quit? Continue reading “Quitting: Is it failure?”

When I grow up

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When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? I think my first answer to that question was a mommy. I would play with my dolls and pretend I was their mommy. I would change their clothes, pack a diaper bag, and have my dolls ride in a toy car seat buckled into the car. Basically, I would imitate how my mother took care of my baby sister.

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Next, I wanted to be a teacher. I used to play school with my stuffed animals all the time. Looking back, I find this ironic because there were times when I hated school. I felt lonely and left out sometimes. Other times, there was too much attention when I would have preferred to blend in. Adolescence can be difficult for the meek. Thank God for great teachers, friends, my family, and a lousy guidance counselor (or was she?) who had reservations about me “making it” in college so far away from my comfort zone. At any hard time when I briefly entertained the thought of quitting, I thought about that guidance counselor’s comment and decided that succeeding—if only to spite her—was worth it. Continue reading “When I grow up”

Chapter One Draft: What I Learned That Summer

In keeping with a tradition I started with “Jordan’s Sister,” I am sharing the first chapter of my latest WIP, “What I Learned That Summer.” It is the story of 14-year-old Kincaid Walsh and her summer of life lessons. I am not sure yet if it is YA or General Fiction. I will figure it out as I go. Something you should know about her: she’s a bit of rebel and has dyed her hair pink.

Chapter 1
June 1995

They never asked me if I wanted to come to this godforsaken place for the summer. My parents just threw a duffel bag at me and told me to pack enough stuff for six weeks. Six whole weeks away from my friends. Almost two months stranded in the middle of nowhere with my grandparents at their small motel. The movies I’d seen involving motels by lakes never ended well.

“Kincaid,” my mother said. “Get your bags out of the car.”

“Mom,” I said. “I’m too old for a babysitter. Can’t I just stay at home?”

“A fourteen-year-old girl, especially one with your history, has no business staying alone half the summer,” my father said. “You’re staying here. Get your butt out of the car.”

I relented and grabbed my bags out of the back of my parents’ car as they disappeared inside the main office to talk to my grandparents. I looked around the motel. I’d last visited when I was eleven, back when it was fun and only for a few days at a time—a week at the most. “I hate it here,” I muttered. “The whole place smells like fish guts and old people.”

“That’s part of its charm,” a male voice said from behind me. “Get used to it.”

Continue reading “Chapter One Draft: What I Learned That Summer”