Actually, Quitters DO win

August 15th, 2007

I often get asked to submit my favorite life motto to libraries or schools for them to display on bulletin boards for their students.

This is very stressful for me because my favorite life motto is actually “Quitters never win.” But what I mean by “favorite” is, it’s my favorite motto to rip off the bulletin board in a rage whenever I walk into a school or library and see it.

It IS true that you should never quit something because it’s hard. Not if you love it. If I had quit writing because it was hard to get published, I wouldn’t be here today.

But I honestly believe you SHOULD quit something if you hate it, or if it’s a stupid waste of your time. Because if you don’t, how will you ever have time to discover the things in life you love doing?

THAT is what I mean when I say that I hate the motto Quitters Never Win.

But whenever I submit THAT as my favorite motto—Actually, Quitters DO win—I notice no one ever puts it up on their bulletin boards.

Which I think is a shame. Because what I am about to share with you now is proof that the motto Quitters Never Win is stupid. Someone (who shall remain nameless to protect her identity from vengeful ex-showchoir members) sent me the following link last night. It is a link to a video of my high school showchoir Bloomington High School South Sounds of South’s performance at the 1985 Bishop Luers Annual Midwest Showchoir Invitational.

Now here’s the part about quitting: I quit that choir the week before this performance because I got in trouble for accidentally throwing my friend’s hat into a kettle drum during THIS VERY SONG you are about to see. The director reamed me out in front of everybody and as he did, I realized that I hated
–showchoir
–him
–that song
–my polyester dress with the red sequin lightning bolt down the front.

I also realized that I was completely wasting my time in this class (yes, it was a class–FOR CREDIT) and that I would much rather be spending that time working on my novel (which at that time was a western romance called The Deception of Darrowby Ayer–for an explanation of this book, scroll down to “That I Wasn’t That Popular in High School” here)

So. Yeah. I quit.

I never regretted quitting showchoir, and my quitting in no way affected S.O.S.’s outcome at Luers, since I was such a crappy dancer that the director made me stand in the back the whole time anyway. In fact, they probably scored much higher without me, since I never could get the hang of jazz hands.

However, there were people in that choir who were so mean to me when I quit, yelling “QUITTERS NEVER WIN!” every time they saw me in the hallway, that I practically had a nervous breakdown, and had to hide in the ladies room at school every time I saw them coming, and eat my lunch alone in the library (not that I minded that part, since I love libraries).

So yeah…the reason I hate the expression Quitters Never Win? It isn’t true. I am living proof. Yes, I quit showchoir. Maybe it was a rotten thing to do…but I honestly don’t think so. This video proves it. You can click here to see the Bloomington High School South 1985 Sounds of South performance of “Sunday By The Sea” at the Bishop Luers Midwest Showchoir Invitational and see for yourself that they did just fine without me. Second runner up is awesome considering they had never even been to Bishop Luers before, as far as I know…truthfully, I still don’t care very much, there were some people in that choir who were really mean to me.

But look: because I quit show choir, I got a free period that I spent every day in the library. I used that free period to write a novel. I finished it, and when I was done, I sent it out to publishers. True, it never got published.

But I didn’t quit writing novels and trying to get published just because I got rejected. You know why? Because I loved writing. I quit showchoir because I did not love showchoir. I think it’s OK to quit things you don’t love. That doesn’t make you a quitter. You know what that makes you?

Years later, I wrote a novel about quitting something I didn’t love. It was a book partially based about my experience in a showchoir. It’s called Teen Idol.

The last time I was there, I saw a copy of Teen Idol sitting in a display window in the Bloomington High School South library, which is where I used to go instead of going to showchoir.

Hmmm. I guess sometimes quitters DO win, don’t they?

More later.

Much love,

Meg