Self-Description

Two different Who’s Who organizations are including me in their catalogue of prominent people—I’ll have more to say about that in coming days. One of them asked me for a paragraph describing myself. Here’s what I sent:

“When asked what qualities account for my successes, I always single out stubbornness. Neglected as a child, I learned to depend on myself. That stood me in good stead when I was putting myself through college and working part time. It was a godsent on battlefields when no one was there to protect me. And it gave me the force that got me through writing six books and 17 short stories. To this day, I’m stubborn. And proud of it.”

My self-reliance and stubbornness came from my impoverished childhood when, with an alcoholic mother and father in prison, I discovered that it was up to me to find food and keep myself clothed. All through my childhood to the day I graduated from college, I worked up to twenty hours per week to support myself. Overworking became a habit. Three times during my life I have suffered exhaustion and been hospitalized.

My stubbornness these days manifests itself in my insistence on taking care of myself to live to be over a hundred. I sleep as much as ten hours a night and nap every afternoon. I watch my diet (almost all fruits and vegetables, little meat, and no sweets), lift weights for more than two hours every other day, and drink lots of water.

It’s working. I’m healthy as a horse. I’ve come to see stubbornness as a virtue, not a vice. I’m even stubborn about being stubborn. More power to me.

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