So, it’s Thanksgiving again. Despite much having gone wrong this year (see 2 posts previous, for starters), there is so much that I’m thankful for. Besides the obvious things, like husband, and dog–both of whom rank tops on my “grateful for” list! Here’s some more:
I live in a wonderful place. Here, I’ve gotten to experience new plants, both to visually enjoy, and to grow and cook with: pineapples, Meyer lemons, pindo palm fruit, various other types of palm trees, persimmons, and a wide variety of ornamental gingers are just a small sampling. Sometimes the gardens here overwhelm me, without a “down” season to forget them, but mostly, nurturing the earth and plants is a great way for me to nurture myself and my soul. And this time of year, as the weather cools off and the humidity declines, I really enjoy time spent outdoors again.
I’ve also gotten to experience new wildlife: alligators and water moccasins, sure, but also black racers and ring-necked snakes, red-belly cooters, Sandhill cranes, ibis, and zebra butterflies are all common here, and it’s been interesting to experience “taking them for granted.” Eventually, when you live with something long enough, the novelty wears off. And yet, deep down these creatures still delight me, even while I shrug a bit at their everyday commonness.
I attended Taos Toolbox over the summer. I met a bunch of new people, made some new friends, and got reacquainted with a writer I’d met before. It was a blast! And it was in a beautiful location. But it was also deeply educational, and I am starting to see now just how much that experienced helped me to “level up” in my writing. This is something I’m very thankful for, indeed!
Time slips by, one slow day at a time, until it piles up into years. Yes, it’s been just over 3 years since I attended Viable Paradise, way back in October of 2013. It was my first workshop experience, and I was terrified, going in. But thanks to fortune and co-attendee Paul Tuttle Starr, our little VP 17 cohort is still hanging out together (on a Slack channel) and keeping one another honest as writers, sane humans(well, more or less–we are writers, after all), and well-critted. This is honestly one of the best groups of folk I’ve had the opportunity to meet and hang out with, and their encouragement and honest delight at one another’s good fortune is balm to a wounded soul.
Writing, in general, is something I’m very grateful for, both my own and that I’ve read by others. Books and stories see me through so much, and I’ve loved them ever since I learned to read and disappear into a new world, a new point of view. Now that I’m writing, I still love falling into new worlds, and new mind-sets, and I love watching my writing slowly (very slowly!) improve. I love getting to geek out with other writers over stories, ideas, technique, books we love–all of it. This whole big literary life–I love it, and so glad to be a tiny, tiny part of it.
Family and friends are always there, but it’s good to take time to remember that, and recognize what a good thing this is, when you’ve got good ones. I do, and I am grateful.
There is more. Much, much more. But I’m not going to bore you with my gratitude for the dark skies that show the millions of stars each night, or the loud hooting of owls when I awake at 3 a.m., or the sweet, beguiling scent of the tea olive tree outside my bedroom window, or the taste of homemade chai on a cold night, or the hundreds of other small things that delight me. It’s enough to know they’re there. That I’m grateful for all this life is offering me. And that I’m hoping to pay it back by paying it forward.