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My physical agility was crippled by insecurity and a paralyzing fear of getting hit in the face. So now I’m sitting in the backseat with Charley, claiming more to myself than anyone, “I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it.”

So here’s what I tell my children: wait for the pitch you want to hit, not for the pitch that might hit you. It’s not that I want them to get hit by a hard ball: but it’s going to happen. If you stand in the batter’s box long enough, you’ll get hit.

Failure and fear and the fear of failure are part of life. I have a folder full of rejection slips from writing I have submitted. Had any of these stopped me, I would have no successes. And I wouldn’t be near the teacher of writing I am.

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