No Guts. No Glory
4 February 2013
I began my blog nearly two years ago, because I missed my dad. Until he died, we emailed across the country twice a day for thirteen years. So this blog is my letters from earth to Dad.
My dad was my hero. When he was very young he contracted polio. His mother nursed him through, but he ended up with a withered leg. Which did not stop him from playing varsity tennis or football in high school, or football at Stanford.
When World War II broke out, he went to the Air Force recruiter’s office. They rejected him because of the perfectly good, but smaller leg. So he upped the ante and went down the street to the Marine Corps recruiter. Dad claimed he stood so that he hid the withered leg,(This might be his sense of humor given the USMC bootcamp, years of physicals, and three wars.), and he became a Marine. Among the honors the man the Air Force didn’t want earned was becoming the first Marine to be Honor Graduate/valedictorian of his class at the Naval War College. He never gave up. He always strove to be the best.
Dad had a favorite phase: No Guts. No Glory.
This fall I decided it was No-Guts-No-Glory-time. I entered a writing contest held by a publishing company that had rejected one of my manuscripts a couple of months before. It was a stinging rejection, but remembering Dad’s, “No Guts. No Glory,” I entered the contest with two manuscripts, one in each category.
Stunningly both manuscripts made the semi-finals. Then I held my breath. And one made the finals!!! WOW! The next step in the contest is to take the publishing house’s editorial letter and line edits and revise and resubmit. I obsessed about getting that letter and those line-edits. Certainly my blood, sweat, and tears manuscript was perfect? The editor would just pat me on the back, right?
I got the editorial letter. Ouch! The letter is four single-spaced page of what is wrong with my manuscript. This leaves me with two choices. I can sulk about the fact that my writing and I are not perfect. I can eat all the chocolate in the house and drink The Prince Consort’s Pepsis. I can finish my little pity-thon by dropping out of the contest with a snarl on my Cheezits encrusted face.
Or, like my dad I can go down to the Marine Corps recruiter and take the far harder path. No Guts. No Glory. I can work on my manuscript, accept the lessons in that editorial letter, thank the editor who has taken this much time and caring to point the way, and bootcamp my way to the best writer I can be.
Kath: Here I come! Hoo Rah, Marine. Hoo Rah, Writer.
No Guts. No Glory.