Note: Some of this comes from a Facebook rant I made a few weeks ago. The rest is a brand new rant.
It was hot and humid in the gymnasium of my 8th grade daughter's middle school. Trying to stop my fingers from swelling into small sausages while attempting to wake up my rear end after 90 minutes sitting on wooden grandstands, I watched patiently as awards were given, students stood, and parents applauded. And then, something wonderful happened.
An amazing 8th grader came up to the podium to speak. She mentioned the love she had for the teachers and her friends and discussed all the good times she had at the school. The perfunctory material out of the way, she detailed what she had learned while in attendance at the junior high. It wasn't anything about the subjects themselves. Rather, she learned how to fight for her interests and the way to accomplish them.
By the way, I forgot to mention that this girl raced through all the Spanish classes at the middle school and fought for the right to attend similar classes at the local high school. And when she was finished in the high school-level Spanish 2 class she fought for an independent study to complete Spanish 3. She wasn't the only one from my daughter's class who battled for this type of achievement. A male student exceeded well past the middle school math requirements and ended up taking pre-Calculus in high school. We're trying to hook him and my daughter up at this very moment.
These two students, among many others, didn't go the stereotypical teenager route and half-listen in a middle school class while acing tests and homework. They fought for the right to do something more, something different, and they were able to move forward. We writers have the same decisions as these students but the stakes are not the same.
Yes, we fight or take flight. Fighters are those who finish their story or manuscript and get it to publication no matter how much figurative blood they need to spill. They stay up nights, ignore their families, and find avenues to get their work out to the public. Flighters decide to sit back and let fate lead their writing career, even to the point they pull their hands from the keyboard and decide that they would probably do much better serving folks at the local Burger King.
Despite her age, the 8th grade speaker is now one of my positive influences. I hope I can live up to her fighting standards.
Are you a fighter or a flighter?