I am not a quitter

Just as Marty McFly could predictably be incited by accusations that he was a chicken, the voice in my head that whispers “quitter” brings out my stubborn streak. I quit smoking in 2004 and I’m proud of that. I quit drinking Diet Coke in 2006 and I’m proud of that. I tried to quit delivering my youngest mid-way through the process, but the OB/GYN insisted I finish. My 23-year marriage is as much a product of stubbornness as a testament of steadfast love (probably more so). I am not a quitter.

In 1983 I dropped out of UT. Then went back in ’84. Later in ’84 I dropped out again and ended up traveling with Ringling Brothers (& Barnum & Bailey). Quitting that gig was harder than dropping out of school. In ’89 I went back to UT and finished my degree in Mechanical Engineering. I’ve had 2 employers in the last 20 years. I quit my last job only because “down-sizing” was inevitable and I was a Mechanical/Electrical Engineer in a chemical company (limited opportunities). My survival instincts overrode my “I am not a quitter” instincts.

Why am I boring you with my life history today? Cryptonomicon. My Dad loaned me this 1130 page paperback with an endearing note of recommendation. I took the book with me to China in March. I never got past page 3. I picked it up again a few weeks ago and have been grinding through it. I’ve tracked progress as “percent complete”. I decided to wait until I was at least 10% complete before passing judgment. By then I seemed to be on a roll so I kept reading. I am now on page 148 (13%) and I am at my limit. I am not a book critic, but I’ll capture a bit of the brick wall….

The scene is WWII London. A cryptographer is describing the nature of the British. “There is no in between with these people…. None of them have cars but when they do they are three-ton hand-built beasts. The concept of stamping out a whole lot of cars is unthinkable – there are certain procedures that have to be followed, Mr. Ford, such as the hand-brazing of radiators, the traditional whittling of the tyres from solid blocks of cahoutchouc.”

I have a stack of other books to read. My MIL loaned me the entire Left Behind series (about 4 years ago) and I really want to start plowing through those. I’ve been left behind by Harry Potter (I think I have 2 left to read). And I’ve promised our youngest I’ll read Twilight before the movie comes out in December. So, why do I feel guilty about putting down a book that hurts my teeth leaves me so motivated to try my hand a novel-writing?

One lesson I take from Crypto is that this book was a New York Times bestseller. Out of fairness to the author, Crypto is not in my preferred genre. When I read my favorite authors I tend to feel intimidated. “I can never write this well.” This book has inspired challenged me. “I can do better.” Can I? Will I? What will be the impetus?

About Fran Hart

Disciple of Christ, earning a living as the director of US-based operations for a Taiwanese company, managing an engineering organization while carving out time to write. Wife, Mother, Grandmother.
This entry was posted in discipline, Inspiration, quitting, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to I am not a quitter

  1. dallasdiva says:

    No pressure but Twilight comes on November 21st . . .