Friday, January 13, 2012


For a couple of years now I have been signing off much of my personal correspondence (as well as these blog posts) with: Persevere — WD.
A few people have asked/commented about this, so let me explain.

A number of years ago, at the production office back in Illinois where I worked as 2nd Shift foreman, the Day Shift foreman put up this posting on the office wall:
Press on.
Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
The words are from a speech by Calvin Coolidge a few years before he became president. I loved the simple but insightful message. I found it inspiring and applicable to life's situations in so many ways. I found it particularly applicable at that point in time to my personal aspirations to one day be a published author. I took a copy of it home and put it on the wall of the room where I did my writing. I read that message every day, either at work or at home or both, and I never found it lacking as a mindset to always be strived for.

When we moved to Nebraska in 1998, that wall posting got packed away and somehow I never dug it out and put it up again either at home or work. I still thought about it a lot, though. I had it pretty much memorized by now and had long since adopted it as a way in which I always tried to conduct myself. I guess I didn't feel the need to have it as a visual reminder.
Time passed. Years. I'd had some success with my writing, but it was sporadic and not exactly a rip-roaring success; yet I still kept at it. Nine Eleven came and went. The American spirit sparked and flourished for a time, but then flagged again and the values of our society often seemed upside down to me. My beloved Pam passed away. Pressing on … persevering … came mighty hard at times. But Coolidge's words were always in my head—and they now meant a lot more to me than just persisting with my writing.
Without having the actual message posted to regularly view and read, my memory somehow substituted the word Perseverance for Persistence. After retiring from my job in the real world and re-focusing on my writing goals, I found myself corresponding more and more with various people, mostly via e-mails. My friend and fellow writer Andrew Vachss signs off his correspondence with "Stay Strong" or (in the past) "Keep Your Strength". I always liked the distinction of that, admired the understated message of encouragement. Desiring to apply something that might give a similar distinction to my own correspondence—but without blatantly copying Andrew—the words (as I somewhat erroneously recalled them) from Silent Cal's inspiring speech eventually came to mind and seemed quite appropriate. Thus, "Persevere —WD" was born.

Make no mistake, however—whatever the genesis, my choice and use of the wording is very sincere.

Press on … Stay the course … Persist … Persevere … However you say it, I truly believe that adopting such a trait/mindset is something that will take you farther toward the goals in your life than anything else. Sometimes it is a mindset you need just to get on with your life.
Not to say this will guarantee the achievement of your goals.
But it sure won't hurt.
And lack of perseverance will almost certainly guarantee falling short of the mark.

Leastways, that's the way I see it.

Persevere — WD

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