Monday, June 4, 2018

You know that whole Tortoise and the Hare thing? A rant!

I have serious misgivings about this shirt, but I wore it anyway!
The other day I mentioned that The Accidental Guardian is my 55th book and someone said something like, "Wow, 55 books in 13 years! I'm the tortoise, you're the hare."

I said very lightheartedly, "Nope, I'm the tortoise. I keep going. And if you keep going, especially if about 16 of those 55 books were already written, and about another fifteen are novellas, then yes, you can be slow and steady and write 55 books in 13 years."

But then, we moved on to other things and only when I got home did I start really THINKING about that story, The Tortoise and the Hare.

We've talked about that story before here on Seekerville and I've always jumped in and said, "I am NOT the hare, I'm the tortoise."

But since that small really humorous exchange I thought, "You know the hare is the LOSER in that story. Why would someone act impressed with 55 books then call me a loser?"

I've decided I don't like being called 'the hare'.

More over, the big picture 'moral to the story' of The Tortoise and the Hare is: Slow and steady wins the race.

Okay fine, slow and steady wins, but only because the hare is a lazy, napping QUITTER.

The hare would have won if he'd just kept GOING.

So the real moral to that story (and who am I to rewrite Aesop? Because it's HIS moral) is STEADY wins the race.

Not SLOW AND STEADY. Yes in that story the tortoise in slow. But maybe I'm NOT slow. Maybe there is a third character in that race who is both speedy and not a quitter.

So I'm not the tortoise, maybe I'm the hare that doesn't take a NAP while a poky old tortoise just keeps plodding along.

But I am not writing this to insult tortoises. Tortoises are fine and in the case of this story HEROIC!

I just know that being called the hare while ha ha funny, isn't a compliment.

So that's my rant.
And here's my booklist

And to make me feel less like a jerk, here is a gratuitous picture of my four adorable grandchildren.
And I might add that when I am babysitting, I want to quit and take a nap WAY MORE OFTEN THAN ANY OF THEM DO!
The littlest boy got a sort of toy wristwatch that acts like a fit bit. It does almost nothing but tell's time and counts steps. He got it for his fourth birthday.
His big brother, age 7 held his watch up the last day I saw them to show me he'd taken SIXTEEN THOUSAND STEPS! And it was mid-afternoon. After he showed me, he ran off!
I asked his little brother what he was going to do with his watch.
He said, "Run and run."
In other words, Same as Usual.

That's my story, the rant, the gratuitous picture of cuteness.
Thanks for listening. Now I'm off to be either the fox and the grapes or maybe the wolf in sheep's clothing. (Oh, I admit it, I'm the boy who cried wolf)

71 comments:

  1. Mary, you could NEVER be a jerk. Never.

    Moral of the story is don't nap if you want to get published. Or take Prednisone as prescribed for you by your doctor, and still be awake at 1:55 in the morning and catch up on writerly things as well as writing.

    Have a great day everybody!

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    1. Prednisone is the DEVIL. I will never let a doctor talk me into taking high doses of that demon drug again. Let's just say, it affected me at an abnormal level. But then, a lot of drugs do. Just ask all the people who went to the 2005 ACFW Conference in Nashville.

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  2. Hi Jackie. Maybe there is another Aesop's Fable that says, Insomniacs win the race.
    But no, there is an: Early to bed, early to rise makes a man health and wealthy and wise...saying
    And a: The early bird gets the worm...saying

    Old sayings can be cruel.

    So FINE!!

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    1. I think we each need to identify what works for us and WORK IT.

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    2. I still don't get the shirt.

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    3. Naps are GOOD! I will proclaim this until I die! Naps are good. At least the hare FINISHED the race. Just sayin.

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    4. Melanie I CAN ATTEST TO DRUGS AFFECTING YOU....ahem.....IN UNEXPECTED WAYS!!!

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    5. KAYBEE ISN'T THE ONE MISSING ARM A LITTLE ALARMING!?

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  3. Hahahahahahaa! First, congratulations! Isn't this WONDERFUL???? MARVELOUS????? And I hear you 100%, that steady writing of 1K/day is 365,000 words PER YEAR. That's SIX 60,000 word books....

    Or 4 80,000 word books....

    So 4 X 13 = 52.

    And 16 were already written....

    So I think that actually makes you a Slacker-Pants, darling! :)

    You are preaching to the choir here in WNY. I think that developing the habit of writing is the biggest cornerstone. And it's easier if you love it... But also easier once you start doing it.

    I think so many folks fear failure and that holds them back.

    Shoot, people fail all the time... and then they get back up, dust off the seat of their pants, and get back in the race. It's refusing to get back in the race that makes the goal seem insurmountable.

    Bumping knuckles with fellow steady tortoises while encouraging others.

    Ignore the hares...

    And just keep writing.

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    1. Ruthy is right. When is she not? :) We need to develop the habit, just as we need to develop habits for all our Christian living. We need to develop habits of Bible reading, prayer and service. We need to develop habits of lovingly caring for our families. Even if it's just handing them a Pop-Tart, as the late and beloved Frankie Heck would do. Develop the habits so you don't have to think about it.
      The end of this winter was rough on me, a bereavement and some other issues, and I got through it with discipline and habits. I'm enjoying writing again!

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    2. What animal is fast and steady? What animal can run for hours? Buffalo do that in a stampede, they'll just run for like ten miles, even when the slow they keep going, trotting along.
      But a story that calls me a buffalo is a little sad for me, body-shape wise. Of course I am shaped a little like the tortoise, too.

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    3. kaybee I'm sorry for your loss. :( and one of the blessing of writing is we set our own hours. And we can (except for deadlines) take a break when we need to. But when our break stretches too long, we need to take a hard look and get back to writing. I'm glad you're finding the joy!

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    4. Ruthy, I did that same math last night and I agree with you. That's no huge production level. But it is STEADY!!!

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  4. Cute grandkids. Congrats on 55 books. Reminds me of a certain birth year that is familiar to me. Ha! (I think we have close birthdays, but can't remember if the year was the same.)

    Turtles can be fast in the water. They just have to know how to swim in the right pond. I'm glad you found the perfect pond.

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    1. Hi Bettie, and isn't the water the tortoise's natural habitat? So maybe writing is mine, huh?
      Maybe a bird would lose that race to if it had to WALK. A fish would lose if it had to WALK!!!
      And maybe writing is the natural pace of life for me...for all of us writers!

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  5. Mary, great post! Congratulations on the books and the adorable grandkids. Steady and perseverance. You got this! Love your books!

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    1. Thanks, Sally. Perseverance, what a great word. I use it a lot. But I also look at it and see Persevere...and see 'severe'. Is perseverance about being severe with ourselves, strict with ourselves about our choices and our lives?

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    2. That is a great question! Without some level of severeness, you can't persevere.

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  6. Mary, one of the lessons I've taken away from Seekerville and from you especially is the axiom, "Be ready." I started writing the sequel to my Oregon Trail story before I was contracted for it. I had to believe that someone, somewhere, somehow would take a chance on this series and they did. I also started two other series and have the first and second book in each. (Not the third, even I don't trust my luck that far.) "Be ready" would be my mantra, if mantras had only two words. Contracted fiction writers can't just sit around, if they do they won't be contracted for long.
    I do SOMETHING on my fiction every day, whether the actual writing or editing. This winter I line-edited in the Laundromat. Now that I have a decent laptop it will be easier.
    Right now in addition to working on my sequel I'm focused on increasing my online presence and stockpiling some blogs for guest appearances. Thanks to This Site, I also know how important that is.
    My husband is on vac this week and I took the week off from my secular work. We have day trips planned plus an overnight in Boston. I'll either get a lot of writing done or make a lot of memories.
    Kathy Bailey
    Being ready in New Hampshire

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    1. Kathy, thank you and have a great weeks! Some really busy days I find myself at 10 or 11 o'clock at night, the day finally over and me settled in somewhere and I think, "Just open the file. Just write two sentences if you can write a 1000 words." I almost always do something everyday on my writing. I love line-editing in a laundromat. Way to go, girl. Find downtime and USE IT!

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    2. Kathy, may I join you in Boston? Please?

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    3. Wouldn't that be great, Debby. I've never been there. Of course I've pretty much never been anywhere...unless a writer's conference takes me there. So maybe a conference in Boston???

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  7. You slay me girl! And you're so right. It's the one who doesn't quit that makes it to the end! Congrats on 55 books!

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    1. AMEN!!!
      And Accidental Guardian was my 55th book, but since it came out another one has released, The Cowboys of Summer. So it's 56 now.

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  8. Congrats, Mary! What I'm MOST impressed with is how you stuck with writing and kept producing even while an unpublished writer--15 books!!! Your faith, work ethic, determination--and love for writing--has continued to serve you well. Many have given up LONG before 15 books, but YOU didn't! :)

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    1. This is so sweet, Glynna, to call it a work ethic rather than obsessive compulsive disorder. God bless you!

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    2. PS I actually had TWENTY finished books, I just only sold 16 of them.
      I'm going to indie pub the last few one of these days VERY SOON! I'm working on formatting and editing and covers right now!

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    3. Wooo hooo! Way to go, Mary! :)

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  9. Great post, Mary. We should all try to emulate your work ethic. It is also obvious why you have written 55 books and I have written one that has yet to go beyond the first draft.

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    1. But you DID write one, Sandy. Good for you. And that makes you AHEAD of 80 percent of the people who say they're going to write a book!!! Don't disparage that!

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  10. By the way, very cute grandkids.

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    1. They are the most beautiful children in the world. It's just pure luck that they are my grandchildren!!!!!
      (bias alert)

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  11. You are so fun, Mary. And funny too!!!
    I have to give a speech to writers this Friday, and this is pretty much what I was going to tell them: Just don't quit. If you keep writing you just may succeed in everything you dream about.
    I know a writer who landed a 3-book contract with a major publisher. She was talented and tenacious. But because those books didn't sell as well as she'd hoped, and she didn't make as much money as she'd hoped, she quit writing. Just quit.
    At least the hare finished the race. I mean, just sayin.
    And you are definitely the winner, Mary, no matter what you call yourself! You WON!!!!!

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    1. And yes, the grandkids are ADORABLE!!! But only 4? I know you can do better than that, Connealy. Haha. Just kidding. Since I know you're not done having grandkids. (Well, your daughters, not you, are having them, but you know what I mean.)

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    2. I know right, Melanie? I've got four daughters. I should be aiming for around 16 grandchildren!!! Brats!

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  12. LOVE the gratuitous pictures, Mary. They are adorable. And what an interesting subject you bring up. Steady is, indeed, what wins the race, but I've never looked at it that way. I love this new perspective. Thanks.

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  13. If anyone calls you a hare, you are now ready to FIGHT!!! I'm not sure that's good, but what the heck, huh?

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  14. 55 books? Wow, you're amazing! LOL.

    Consistently is the thing, isn't it? I really didn't realize you had written so many stories.

    Okay, just for kicks, what's your favorite story or series that you've ever written?

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  15. It is amazing. I put my name in for a Milestone Recognition for ACFW and I've got my 50 book milestone pin from RWA.
    My Complete Booklist

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  16. Good morning, Mary! What a fun post!

    I always wanted to be a turtle like the one we found walking across our back yard when we lived in Kansas. Our fenced-in back yard. Somehow, he got through the fence and was speeding across the grass in his determined, never-give-up turtle way when we saw him. Someone (me) rescued him from the dogs and set him outside the fence so he could continue his journey. He was not slow, and he never stopped.

    We should all be turtles!

    Now this turtle is getting off the internet and back to my WIP!

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    1. 16,000 steps??? Oh, if I only had the energy of a seven-year-old again! :-)

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    2. And the hard shell will help us survive editorial comments and Amazon 1 star reviews!!!

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  17. Grandma always said "That's why God gives children to young people." Adorable grandchildren, indeed. Mary, may I just say I truly don't care if you are a tortoise or a hare - you are an author that writes incredibly wonderful books, and for that I will follow you whatever the pace.

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    1. Aw, Cindy, you sweetie. Thank you!!!

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  18. Congratulations, Mary! Continuing those forward, steady steps as life swirls around you is quite an accomplishment. Craziness, challenges and sad events don't step aside just because we're trying to write a book, right? *sigh* If only! You're an inspiration! And you're right, those grandkids are adorable :-)

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    1. Well, posting pictures of my grandbabies is always a way to distract from my lame posts! :)

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  19. LOL, Mary! You're right about steady winning the race. Plus, I've found that I write at different speeds anyway. In the beginning, it's like pulling teeth. About chapter 4 or 5 I come to a halt, not having any clue what's next. Then I finally get going again at a decent pace, until the end, where I suddenly just ZOOM.

    So if we can keep steady, we'll race and plod along at variable speeds until we write The End.

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    1. This is so true, Missy. I'm at 70k on a 75k book and I can't write fast enough. I'll never get it all in!!!!

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    2. Mary, that sounds familiar! My hands fly and I don't want to stop writing. I'll sometimes sit for hours until I finally reach the end.

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  20. Thanks. This is a great reminder to be steady. Keeping at it. Yes, I admit I'm not to the point of having anything ready for a publisher although I have some I have finished the first draft. I keep working at them and learning as I go. If I want to reach the goal of publication, I have to keep plodding along and learning and growing as I keep writing and polishing.

    I wanted to get more written last night but alas the exploding head got in my way. Somehow I couldn't think clearly enough to write an intelligent sentence but I still wrote as much as said headache would allow.

    I am not giving up.

    I love the picture of you with your grandkids. Congrats on 55 books. I am one who loves to read your books.

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    1. Keep working on them, Wilani, but also keep writing new stuff. Start a new book to give you some mental space between yourself and the current books. You can bring fresh eyes to them with space and time to forget what you meant to say and read what you really said.

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    2. I'm so sorry about your headache. It's just about impossible to keep writing when something like that is bothering you. And you need to give yourself REST! God bless you. :(

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  21. Mary, congrats on 55 books...now 56! We'll wait a day or so and the number will jump to 57. You must write in your sleep. But you don't sleep. That's your secret! Must reevaluate the number of hours I sleep each night. :)

    Love the pic of you and your cowboy and the grands. So adorable! And I like your red blouse. Very 2018!

    Looking forward to seeing you at RWA! You'll have 70 books published by then.

    I always thought I was a tortoise. Perhaps I'm a snail. Something to ponder.

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    1. I think the shirt would have been greatly helped by a second ARM!!!! Not fond of my chubby white arms!
      But it's a pretty color.
      And I can't wait for RWA. I might have another one by then.

      Oh, and I didn't count my cookbook. That's 57

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    2. Mary, your comment about your top just made me hoot so loud I startled poor Michelle! hahaha

      It's a good photo!

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  22. "For every story with a moral there is an equal and opposing story with the opposite moral."

    The early bird gets the early worm.

    Besides no one really gets the tortoise vs hare moral. The hare was secure in his self-confidence. He let the tortoise win just as sometimes they let a special needs student on the high school football team while the other team lets the special needs kid run for a touchdown at a point that the score doesn't make any difference. You see these feel good stories often at the end of the news shows.

    The hare was actually the kindest most considerate personality in folk tales and he has never really been given credit for his magnanimity. He couldn't come out and say that he let the tortoise win any more than Denny McLain could come out and say that served up a fat one to Mickey Mantle so Mantle could set a home run record the day before retiring. I know it as I saw it happen and Denny had the biggest smile I ever saw as Mantle rounded the bases! I bet Ruth knows all about this! (Not the Babe...at least not the Seeker babe.)

    The rabbit was just too good at making the tortoise feel he actually won the race! Isn't discretion the greater part of valor?

    Indeed, the hare was the first in folk tales to stop and smell the roses! This was long before Ben Hogan had is accident.

    You don't have to win if you can actually win any time you really want to. Why not let other people have their day. If every dog has his day, so too should every tortoise.

    The hare never lost another race which is a tale of a different stripe.


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    1. Well, I've always thought Denny McLain did that, not to give Mickey his record, but to immortalize his own name...Denny McLain would always be listed with that record, right?

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    2. And thank you for your compassion toward the slothful hare.

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    3. Denny McLain had just won 31 games and was the last man to do that. This was in 1968. He did not need the Mantle gift to be famous. He also never admitted that he served up that perfect home run ball. Denny was a good guy. Compassion: yes but then I believe that we do see what is behind our eyes. :)

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  23. I have discovered with two littles that letting myself nap just 30 minutes while they nap helps me make much better use of the rest of quiet time with things like edits and writing. And I didn't have 16 written when I first got published last year, but I did have about five or six, if it makes you feel better. :-)

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    1. Amy, that's a POWER NAP!!! Good for you. And six or seven is fantastic. GO YOU!!!

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  24. I agree, Mary. Steady is key, but even a fast person can keep going. Aesop used extremes didn't he? I've been the turtle, I've been the hare, and I've been half-a-dozen other animals in between at times! :)

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  25. Very thought-provoking posts, Mary! I'm definitely a tortoise, but I'm not sure I'm going to be winning any races. I used to think I'd get a lot done--once my kids were grown, or once I retired, or. . . . ! Now I wonder why I don't get more done each day--until I realize that it takes 3 times as long to do anything as it used to!!

    I hear you on the grandkids and their energy. Wow! They can wear you out. I have 16 of them and 2 great-granddaughters. I think the only one who could keep up to them is Ruthy!! :-D

    Congrats on all those books you keep churning out!

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  26. Congrats on 55 books, Mary! And I'm excited for all of your future publications. :)

    I agree about just being steady. I've thought about that in my businesses, and sometimes try to get ahead of myself or procrastinate too much, but staying steady and even-keeled is most certainly the best approach. And I don't like naps, except when my kids take them! ;)

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  27. I love your post. As I was reading it, I was once again reminded of the many people I've talked to over the years who have told me they wish they could write a book. There's that 4-letter word again: Wish. Compared to other writers I am acquainted with (of course, I'm not really comparing to reveal any of my insecurity), I am the tortoise. In fact, I feel like it now, because I'm still not done with the romance novel I've been working on for a year and a half. However, those whom I interact with who aren't writers may consider me, in a matter of speaking, the hare. It seems like every time they turn around, I've published another book. Four books in a little under 4 years--that's an accomplishment considering what I've been through all these years.
    A lesson learned from a book I read not too long ago about writing: You know when it's time to finish your book when you're so sick and tired of the characters. I'm getting that way even more so and am determined to finished the first draft of Twofold Love Comeback, my first romance novel, by the end of this month.

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  28. Thank you for the timely post, Mary! Now I'm going to try to find one of those step counter watches for my kids, we have a birthday to celebrate this week!

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  29. Mary, I love your post, and I appreciate the testimony you are to steady commitment. I also thank you for the positive comments you gave me on my writing in a contest years ago. When I was discouraged because of rejection, I kept remembering the good things you said, and they kept me going.

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