Never, Never, Never Give Up
…even if your parents tell you you should!
My daughter just came into my office, her lips trembling, tears threatening to spill. Why? Because she’d just looked up some puppies she wanted on the shelter website, only to discover, they were gone. No longer available perhaps?
But here’s the thing. She was never allowed to get the puppies. She just got it in her head that she would get them, or, one, despite our arguments against.
Okay, yes, my arguments against the puppy definitely weren’t as strong as her dad’s (I don’t blame him, he is the one that has to clean up the dog puke in the middle of the night and wash the poo out of the other’s ass when she stinks. Because yes, we have two dogs already. One that tends to puke a lot and one whose personal waste all too often gets stuck in her fur. Yup. Gross. Which is exactly why I don’t deal with it!), but they were there. And in my defense, it’s spring break, so the kids aren’t in school, which means I am stuck listening to her nagging ALL. DAY. LONG. He only has to deal with it when he comes home from work.
And he did. Have to listen to it. So much so that finally, he had to beg her to stop talking about the puppy. He could no longer handle it either.
You see, my solution was to have her make up a chart addressing all, and I mean, all, of his concerns about acquiring a puppy. And then how she’d work off the extra food we had to buy. His response was simply to say no. And no. And no again. And no some more.
You see, we have very pushy children. Like, very pushy. Determined, stubborn, nagging, pushy children. At one point, after listening to her nag about the dog for his entire lunch hour (while I hid in my office pretending to work. Okay, I was working. Even if my “work” was reading. As writers, we have to read, right?) he finally barged in, sat down, and asked me, “Why do they have to be like this?”
“Because, they’re stubborn. And determined. And don’t take no for an answer.”
Of course, my husband was just whining. He knows his own children. He knows they’re stubborn. And he usually blames for it.
And he wouldn’t be wrong in doing so.
It’s probably why I let my daughter continue her nagging for so long without snapping and screaming at her to, “shut the hell up about that damn puppy!” I admired her unwillingness to give up, her steadfast pursuit of her goal. It reminded me of myself, at least, how I’d been until this last stint of soul-crushing querying.
Her dogged (ha!) determination is something I hope she never loses, even if her heart did get broken when someone else adopted the puppies she wanted (which may actually transform into no longer waiting for our permission but jumping right to the, get it now and ask forgiveness later lest your opportunity disappear while breaking down your parents’ will).
I never said she could have those puppies, but she was not going to stop trying. She started with asking. then tried to convince us on cuteness alone. When that didn’t work, she tried to reason with us, then bargain with us, then convince us, then back to bargaining, and cuteness, and so forth. She wasn’t going to stop until that answer was no.
She never gave up. (She still hasn’t, in fact. She’s going to call the shelter tomorrow to find out why those puppies aren’t on the website anymore as she’s got it in her head that we’re going to see them and bring one home, tomorrow.) And if my twelve-year-old daughter will not stop looking for ways to get that puppy no matter what we tell her, I guess I can’t stop writing because I got another, yes, another, rejection today.
So, they said no. Or, it was a she this time. She said thanks, but no thanks. It wasn’t for her. As seems to be the case for everyone I query. I guess, I’ll have to take a page out of my daughter’s book and try another approach. Maybe query someone else. Or, change my query. Proofread the book again. Proofread the letter again. Or, gasp! Attempt to get out of my hole and attend a pitch session. I mean, my kid tried every means at her disposal to get that puppy, even vacuuming the house every single day. I guess I need to pull out my arsenal and do the same.
Remember how kids, growing up, want to become astronauts and actresses and race car drivers? And then somehow life hits them and they decide those are stupid aspirations and go after something more practical? Well, why? How does that happen? Is it because they wanted a puppy, did everything they could to get one, but still, their parents/practicality said…nope? Did they exhaust every means possible and then learned that their effort was wasted because they were never going to get that dog? Did they learn that sometimes, trying with all your might is not mighty enough so maybe it would be better to try for something a little less big? Or life changing? Did someone tell them no, too many times until they quit trying? Did their unfailing faith in themselves and the world around them fail enough times that they decided to lower their bar for something more achievable?
I can’t stop my daughter from hoping, from trying, from working every possible angle, because she just might come across something that will work. And I guess, because it is taking everything I have right now to keep on hoping, that there would be no point in my own continuance if I told her, “There’s no point in trying. You’re not getting this dog, no matter how much you want it.” I mean, that’s basically what those rejections are saying to me. I don’t want your book. It’s not good enough. It’s not for me.
Should I accept that? Or should I take back the chip off my block (yeah, I’m not sure that one worked this time, but hey, I tried, right?) and face those agents with a fierce determination that says, I won’t quit. I will keep nagging and nagging and nagging until finally, I get my way. Because if she can still have faith that she’s getting that puppy despite both her parents adamantly refusing AND their disappearance from the shelter’s website, I guess I can keep writing and sending off my book even though one more person didn’t want it.
I mean, there were lots of dogs on that site. Many, many dogs I would never consider owning. But there were some that were pretty damn cute. I just need someone to see my manuscript in the same way, don’t I?