Friday, November 23, 2012

The Belated Turkey of Gratitude

This journal's almost finished.
I love Thanksgiving dearly because it is a chance to relax with family and practice gratitude for all the things we have. I am committed to insulating my family for as long as possible from the encroaching BLACK THURSDAY. One day in our not so distant future only apostates will celebrate Thanksgiving, everyone else will participate in the sport of competitive shopping where credit card-wielding hordes crush the doors of big box stores, trample the weak and prove their worth by purchasing discounted items so that they may return home with an electronic gizmo as proof of their commitment to consumerism... So, in the face of my fear that the practice of gratitude is losing ground to the practice of getting, here's a list:

31 things about writing and storytelling for which I am grateful.
  1. For finishing a journal and looking back on the glorious, sloppy scribbled pages, pictures pasted in, notes sticking out brain dump.
  2. For starting a brand new journal with all those blank pages were anything could happen.
  3. For stationary stores and everything in them.
  4. Specifically for the Pilot P-500 extra fine (for when I'm feeling gel inky) and Pilot Razor Point II (for when I'm feeling felt-tippy).
  5. For writing apps and software like Dropbox, Evernote, and Scrivener that make writing on screens efficient and fun.
  6. For the public library, a well of books for the whole family, and a place where I can write without being required to buy something - because I'm not always hungry or thirsty when I feel like writing.
  7. For coffeehouses and diners for when I am. 
  8. For my ten minutes of freewriting, where I can bitch and moan to a sheet of paper that is bound for the recycle bin.
  9. For the way that writing has taught me to be a keen observer of the world around me and of my own responses to it.
  10. For all the nascent, fragile little story eggs that fill my head, even if they can be a bit distracting rolling around up there.
  11. For how writing has given me something to aspire to. Mastering storytelling is serious fun.
  12. For creating a world, entering it and discovering something, or someone, unexpected there.
  13. For how writing has taught me to stretch and grow my imagination. To imagine worlds stranger than our own and the characters who can live in them.
  14. For how writing has made me broader in my thoughts and braver in my actions. A good story is built on experiences. Good storytellers are experienced. 
  15. For how good characters encourage me to step out of my comfort zone and look at issues from more than one perspective (file under how to write a good villan). 
  16. For writing until I realize the way even if I have to spend thousands of words. Sometimes those who wander ARE lost.
  17. For the camaraderie of my writer's group. 
  18. For meeting new people who are willing to give honest, constructive opinions in an effort to make us all better at what we're trying to accomplish.
  19. For the privilege of having another writer share his or her unfinished work with me.
  20. For all that I've learned about writing by learning how to give a good critique of someone else's story.
  21. For the work of busting apart a draft and putting it back together.
  22. For reworking a sentence until it rings like a bell.
  23. For publications that accurately gague and post their turn-around times for submissions. It's easier to be patient if I have some idea how long I have to wait.
  24. For slush readers who deal with their monumental slush piles with alacraty.
  25. For all the editors who have read my submissions -- all of them. Even when they send a rejection, I know it took time to read my story and many have taken a few extra minutes to comment on my submission. I am grateful for their time and their valuable insights.
  26. For writing podcasts like Writing Excuses and the Coode Street Podcast that talk about writing and Escape Pod and PodCastle that keep my ears entertained with stories.
  27. For semipro zines like ClarkesworldLightspeed and Daily Science Fiction that are committed to finding and putting great stories out there on e-readers, in print and as podcasts.
  28. For how the practice of STORYTELLING has enhanced and sharpened my enjoyment when reading, hearing and watching other stories in books, on podcasts and at the movies. Especially when someone else tells a story in a completely surprising and original way.
  29. For the magic that is a good story, which is more than the sum of its parts.
  30. For sitting in the sun with a good book.
  31. For the journey.

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