You must have long term goals to keep from being frustrated by short term failures.
Charles C. Noble
If you’re going through hell, keep going.
Thank God every morning when you get up, that you have something to do that day which must be done, whether you like it or not. Being forced to work and forced to do your best will breed in you temperance and self-control, diligence and strength of will, cheerfulness and content, and a hundred virtues which the idle never know.
I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.
Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it can. And just when you think it can’t get any better, it can.
Nicholas Sparks, At First Sight
In the introduction to The Long Walk by Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman) King describes how his Bachman persona writes dark stories while as King he writes the lighter stories where the good guys always win…think about that for a minute…Bachman is King’s dark side…kinda a scary thought.
If you’ve read or seen the movies The Running Man (also by King) or the Hunger Games then you know the setup. It’s set in a near future dystopian society that turns to blood sport to appease the masses. In this case the blood sport is an annual road march from hell where 100 young men are selected to march south through Maine, New Hampshire & Massachusetts. They must march non-stop and keep a certain pace or they get a warning…four warnings in an hour and they get their “ticket punched” (shot in the head by soldiers shadowing the walkers in half-tracks). The last man standing wins all his heart’s desire.
The story focuses almost entirely on the thoughts of the protagonist and the interactions he has with the other participants. We are told very little about the society that put these boys into such a barbaric position. The book wasn’t at all what I was expecting because I enjoy stories about how characters deal with their dysfunctional societies…and there was very little interaction with or even description of Long Walk’s society. The story describes a very long, very deadly walk with an occasional flashback thrown in. Even though it wasn’t my normal fare, I found myself engrossed in the protagonist’s plight expressed primarily through his fears, concerns, thoughts and dreams.
While ostensibly an adventure story the character’s inner monologue was so reminiscent of the inner monologue described in real life survival accounts I’ve heard and read (particularly in the interviews presented in Lawrence Gonzalez’s, Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why) that I couldn’t put the book down. If I had to sum up the story in one word it would be “perseverance.”
The Long Walk is highly recommended for anyone seeking a story to inspire them to persevere in their own walk of life.