Everyone comments on the similarities my daughters share with other blood relatives (and in some cases none blood relatives). My youngest daughter looks just like her father, and smiles like her uncle Chris. My oldest daughter looks a lot like my brother and has a generosity of spirit like my mum. They have attributes like lots of people around them, but the one thing they both share with me is a pig headed, dogged, stubborn determination. If they want to do something they will do it.
This morning Miss Rose wanted to write Grandma. She has been practicing her writing, her pen grip, forming her letters, and because her Grandma was coming to visit she wanted to write it perfectly as a gift. So we started.
The first effort her G went a little bit loopy. The second she got the D the wrong way around. A few had the A go a bit wiggly and sometimes it simply was too long for the page. She wouldn’t stop.
“Again” she’d say.
Time and time again she wrote it out. Page after page of practice letters, errors, mistakes. She wrote it and wrote it and wrote it until finally she had written grandma in her very best letters and she was thrilled. She had done it and she had done it to the best of her ability and she had worked tirelessly until she achieved it. Failing didn’t put her off. Mistakes didn’t stop her.
At the same time, Baby Boo was forcing herself to climb a chair over and over again. She wanted to stand and she was grabbing the chair, dragging herself to her feet, then letting go and tumbling backwards. She landed on her bottom repeatedly; she landed heavily and cried, then she got back up. She landed with a roll, flipped herself back over and headed straight for the chair.
Miss Rose walked and talked early because the dogged determination she shows with her writing is what she showed for her baby skills. “You can’t understand me? I’m going to make new noises until I learn which ones communicate.” She wanted to walk because she knew she’d reach things and places more successfully if she wasn’t on her knees, so she did it time and time again until she got there.
I had this theory that because younger siblings get their older siblings to do everything for them that they don’t need to push themselves. Certainly I’ve seen this a lot, they get there but don’t push because they don’t need to. Baby Boo is bucking that trend hard. Hold her hands and she walks, let her go and she’ll stand for as long as she can then falls then tries again. She is nine months and she’s well on her way.
This pig headed stubbornness is what lead me to work so hard on Lilly Prospero And The Magic Rabbit. I wrote it, it was wrong. I wrote it again, it was still wrong. I knew what I wanted to do, I knew what I wanted to achieve, and when I didn’t manage it I just did it again. I kept standing up every time I landed with a bump. I kept writing it every time a letter went a bit too loopy. Write, edit, write, edit, rewrite, re-edit.
That said, if it’s something I’m not interested in I don’t. I wouldn’t have pushed and pushed myself to become a physicist or mathematician, I wouldn’t have worked so tirelessly to be a doctor or nurse or artist or dancer. I will give up if it’s something I don’t believe in, something I don’t want.
Being a novelist is what I wanted. Standing and walking is what Boo wants. Writing is what Rose wants. And tells us we can’t do it? Sorry, but no.
Writing a book is a long shot. Most people want to, few manage. Those who do manage rarely manage to be read and their books sit on their laptops being ignored by the world. Don’t bother working for that when it’s not going to achieve anything was the recommendation of many. You won’t get there. It won’t be you.
Don’t believe me? Just watch.
Boo will be walking. Rose will be writing. I recognise that grit in their teeth, that look in their eyes.
My girls are stubborn like me, and it’s a trait that can make us hard to live with and impossible to argue with. But dammit it makes us tireless in our pursuits. We can’t be convinced not to do something we believe we can do. We fail time and time again and we keep going. All three of us have goals and that stubbornness is coming into it’s own.
We will achieve it. We will get there. We’ll be walking, writing and succeeding before you know it.
Don’t believe me? Just watch.
You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.
Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!