Monday, June 25, 2012

Throwing in the Towel

Sweat-soaked and spent of energy, I toss my damp towel on top of a mountainous pile in the hamper labeled Towels.
“Excuse me. You can’t do that.” A lady rises from her hunched over position, where she was apparently conspicuously reading a novel. She picks my towel out of the pile and extends it out to me in her arms like an offering.
“Can’t do what?” I’m late and in no mood to argue.
“You can’t throw your towel in there.”
“Why not? It’s clearly marked towels. I’m throwing in the towel.”
She’s still holding my sweat-stained towel. “No can do.”
“But obviously many people have before me.”
“But they’re not you.”
Disgruntled, I scratch my neck, hoping to distract myself from the irritation crawling over my skin like ravenous red ants. I huff, “Who are you to tell me what I can and cannot do?”
“Take a guess.”
“Seriously? I’m done. I’ve worked out, put in my time. I’ve got nothing else to give, lady. And I’m not really in a guessing mood.”
She blinks. Suddenly, I notice something decipherable about her. Her unusual eye color and the twinkle reflecting off the stud jewel in her nose. “Okay, I’ll bite. You do look a little familiar.”
“Ha, that’s funny.”
“Care to tell me why?”
“Because you made me.”
“Okay, this has officially gotten weird. I’m throwing in the towel and taking off. Nice to chat.” I flip around. As my hand slaps the glass door marked Exit I’m flooded with recognition.
“I do know you.” I turn around to face the lady head on.
“So why are you here, at this gym—by the towels?”
“I had a feeling you’d show up someday. You need me here now.”
“Are you going to spill your name or am I going to have to guess that, too?”
“That’s a little tricky.”
“Right. Tricky because…” I wait her out hoping she’ll fill in the blank.
“Because I’m all of ‘em.”
I stare at her unruly auburn hair, the sharp slope of her nose, even the way she’s standing, as though her hip might jump from its socket and she needs to hold it in place. She’s not kidding. “I didn’t know that was possible.”
“Neither did I—seeing you, that is. I confess I’m a little in awe of seeing you for the first time. I don’t know whether to thank you or to run from you. But instead of thanking or running, I think I’ll just give you this for now, then call it a day.” She pushes my towel into my hands. “It’s yours. You’re not finished yet. In fact, you’ve barely just begun. Now get out there and write me well.”
I press my face to the damp towel and rub my eyes, still shocked at our exchange. When I turn around to thank her she’s gone. But the enormous pile of towels has grown even higher. Surrendered stories. Writers who quit before their time.

Not me. Not today.

I intend to thank her after all, by honoring her request…to write, and write, and write her well.

Have you ever had an unexpected person remind you not to quit?

*photo by stock.XCHNG


  1. Interesting exchange.

    I haven't had coffee yet, so I'm not really awake to write comments but I enjoyed reading this. So glad you haven't tossed in the towel!

  2. Love this Wendy! Great reminder, thanks for the encouragement.

    Have a good week,

  3. Very neat, Wendy! Thanks for the inspiration. I'm not going to be one of those writers that quit before their time, either. ;) Thanks!

  4. This was so good! You made me think of my character and her unfinished story--I need to get back at it today!

  5. "Have you ever had an unexpected person remind you not to quit?" Yes, you, Wendy.

    I've been crazy busy lately and it's starting to show. I have to call the doctors office today to make an appointment and I know they're going to tell me: Slow down. Relax. Don't add anything more to your crazy schedule. Your body is under stress. And the first thing I think is: should I keep going? Should I keep blogging, writing, learning? Is it too much?

    Maybe I should be asking myself: What can I do to make this work? Do I have to give up something else? Do I need more discipline? Or, is this the right time for me? I don't know, but I'm thankful I read your post today. I know I'm not alone. Our reasons may be different, but we're both asking ourselves the same thing. Should I throw in the towel? And our dream is saying No!

  6. That was great! At first, I really thought this was story of you at the gym. LOL
    Great encouragement. It's not going to be me either.

  7. Can I just press the LOVE button one hundred times over! I love your creativity, your cleverness. Just a bunch of LOVE over here! :)

  8. You're so creative! I love that I never know what I'm going to get when I open your blog...

    And I love your determination. I know you've been at this a long time, but your tenacity is admirable. And it will pay off in the end. :)

  9. Ah, Wendy. Life's been so crazy that I haven't stopped by here in a while. I'm so glad I did today. Just the way you wrote this story is all the proof in the world of why YOU should never throw in the towel.

    Happy writing day!


  10. I need oxygen.
    This is the third in as many blogs that have told me not to quit. To keep going. To carry on. That God is in MY book. That I am in HIS will.
    Freak me green and call me Kermit.

  11. Love this unique look at our characters...yes, they do seem so real sometimes. I swear I could see my Viking people walking out of the woods one day. Hallucinations? No, just over-active imagination! Here's hoping none of us wind up throwing in the towel, though goodness knows I've thought of it frequently!

  12. This is such a great reminder to stick with things even when times get tough.

  13. Encouraging post. We all have those days. Love this.

  14. I haven't thrown in the towel, but I have set it down a time or two. So thankful for my writing team who keeps me encouraged even when the towel basket is in sight.

  15. Oh, this is rich, Wendy. Just glorious! Reminds me of Tosca Lee and James Rubart. You go!

  16. Beautifully written! Love it! My beta readers encourage me to keep trying, to keep going. This was great. I'm going to have to share it. :)

  17. Such a clever way to remind us not to leave those characters in limbo! I've never been tempted to stop writing -- can't imagine not playing with words, characters and settings -- but I admit that when publication seems out of reach I sometimes wonder how long I'll continue to try for it. Hopefully my characters will keep pushing me towards the goal.

  18. I wanted to write a comment, but, first, I gotta go visit a certain towel hamper. :)

  19. Love this post, Wendy. Such a good reminder for me. :)

  20. I'm so thankful for people and beings who remind me to keep at it!! Very clever post, Miss Wendy.

  21. Nope, no one unexpected, though that would be a nice change of pace. Maybe I'll meet that person when I need 'em, maybe sooner than I think!:/


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