Thankful

Thanksgiving properly understood involves a divinity, though I’m the first to admit it doesn’t require a Christian divinity.  You can be thankful to fate, or Gaia or destiny or whatever it is you believe in.

By definition – in general – we’re not thankful for those things we worked really hard for and can control.  “I’m thankful I got up this morning and cleaning the kitchen” would be a bit silly.  “I’m thankful I have a kitchen to clean” given these days of unemployment and sudden economic ruin makes sense.

In my case, of course, I believe in G-d, though I have some trouble believing He really micro-manages my life.  (On the other hand once or twice He has intervened with causality-breaking force, so I also don’t say that too loudly.  I don’t have a dog in the fight.  If He wants to micromanage my life, it’s entirely His business and it’s not like I can do much about it except b*tch now and then.)

At any rate, there are things I have and things about my life which I know aren’t dependent solely on my efforts – something of which I’m reminded daily when I see better people and more worthy who fail to secure these “blessings” I have.

So, since it’s the day for it – I’m glad I found my husband to marry, and I found him early enough that we grew together.  I have serious trouble imagining another man who’d both put up with me and have the strength to say “No.  Enough” when I go a bridge too far.  (And when I get to walk all over people, they’re no fun anymore.)

I’m thankful I have the boys.  Yes, I worked d*mn hard for Robert, but there was no guarantee of success, and Marshall was a delightful surprise.  I’m glad they’re the sort of boys they are, and though I like to take credit, and to some extent influenced things like the fact they’re literate, I didn’t influence the sly senses of humor, the way they fall into improve skits at the drop of a hat, or the fact that they’re sheer fun to have around.  (And honorable and kind young men with it.)  If you told me I could go back in time and become a major bestseller at 25 and be a multimillionaire now, but I’d have to give up having the boys, I’d tell you to shove it.

I’m thankful for the cats.  Yes, yes, they’re fuzzy pains in the behind.  Yes, yes, all but Miranda are rescues.  Yes, Euclid costs us a bunch of money a month for his allergy shots, without which he’d chew through his belly skin.  But sometimes just sitting down with a completely trusting, purring bundle in your lap is the best part of the day.

I’m thankful for Baen.  Without it, I wouldn’t have a traditional publisher anymore.  I’m thankful both for the gentle prodding (Yes, yes, Noah’s Boy IS getting done, and I’ll answer some of the blog tour stuff today) and for the flexibility they’re willing to give the weird chick who doesn’t work well under contract.

I’m thankful for the tech to go indie.  At this point – and btw, as an off-side remark, and part of the reason I’m sorry Marc Whipple took offense at my calling him annoying (I sort of assumed half of you plume yourselves on that.  It’s not a bad thing.  He just picked a REALLY bad time for it) since he’s the one who made me change the pricing: since I changed the short story pricing to 2.99, I’ve been selling not just more in money (understandable, that, since, well… it’s more expensive) but more copies per story and if this goes on I’m on track – (IF IT GOES ON.  I only have a month so far) to make about a novel’s worth from my backlist short stories.  Well, the mystery novels, which made about five and a half K

Now, there are a lot of things I’d like to be thankful for next year – like, managing to sell the house and move somewhere more manageable.  Like, figuring out what went on in this election and how to plead the cause of liberty better – even if it makes me, like John Adams “Obnoxious and widely disliked” (If you haven’t watched 1776 the musical, you should.)  Like figuring out how to avoid the government hydra that’s getting its nose into my life more and more.  Like… escaping a hit from abroad and riots on the streets.  Like having the money to go visit my aging parents and to pay my kids’ tuition without their incurring any debt.

But I keep reminding myself – at least in terms of the political situation – that it’s always darkest before dawn and that our love of story has vitiated how we see our own situation.  In every great battle throughout history, in every long war, the winning side didn’t know it would win.  Half the time, in the revolutionary war, the idea of winning is highly unlikely.

I’m told there’s great glory in bringing off an unlikely victory.  If so, then we can look forward to great glory if we pull this off, considering what statism (fascism/socialism/communism) has done to every country and people where it got a foothold.

I take comfort in the fact that in the long run, the trend of history is towards greater individual freedom.  Yes, there’s no guarantee.  But the trend seems to be with us.

Of course, I never wanted glory.  I wanted to live quietly, raise happy kids, write fluffy escapist books, and die full of honor and surrounded by my descendants.  And I thought I’d paid off my share of interesting living in my teens.

You can’t always get what you want, and you should be thankful for what you get, and make the most of it.

So, Happy Thanksgiving.  Enjoy your turkey.  And come back refreshed and full of ideas.

49 responses to “Thankful

  1. I give thanks for this lovely forum of congenially like people where, instead of venting my frustration with human stupidity pointlessly shouting at the walls of my study I am able to vent that frustration pointlessly typing away at my keyboard.

    I am also thankful for the Power that gifted me with such a vivid imagination that I am able to pretend these digital companions are actually real people instead of part of a computer algorithm designed to keep me (somewhat) placated. Hah! Didn’t actually think you have me fooled, did you? You Glaroon will never succeed.

    BTW – I just discovered that somebody is attempting a film based on “The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag” — I wish him luck.

    • Wayne Blackburn

      Ew. I can’t imagine how much different such a story is going to come out with the likelihood that someone is going to want to use up the modern special effects.

      Plus, that’s kind of an intellectual story for today’s mind-numbed moviegoer. If they come out with it, I’ll probably want to see it, but I won’t expect much.

  2. Paula Handley (aka Mystik Waboose)

    Thank you Sarah. and a Happy Thanksgiving to your house (Yourself, Dan, boy children and cats).

  3. I’m thankful for good health, a roof over my head, food on the table and in the pantry, and for the sunlight that is turning the leaves on the neighbor’s tree into glowing, fluttering red amber.

    And I’m exceedingly grateful that the four small, yappy dogs visiting the people who live behind my house have shut up! At least for the moment.

    • “And I’m exceedingly grateful that the four small, yappy dogs visiting the people who live behind my house have shut up! At least for the moment.”

      GRRRAAAARR!
      Where’s an allosaurus when you need one :)

      • Probably on vacation, this being a federal holiday and all that. ;)

        A coelophysis would work, too. Small, agile, carnivorous, native to this area, what’s not to like? Especially if they would also eat squirrels.

  4. Thank-you, Sarah…Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours as well…

  5. I’m very grateful this year for my family, my job (even though it’s hard and tiring), my apartment, and my friends and acquaintances. It’s been a rough year and I’m sure it will get rougher; but so far, so good.

    And thank you for this blog, ma’am! It’s been fun and educational!

  6. Have a Happy Thanksgiving, I am headed out to have dinner with family, which will be ham instead of turkey. Yum!

  7. I am thankful that I have a decent job that looks likely to still be around. And thankful that the Internet exists and that I found Sara’s work, which has lead me to the commenters here at her blog.

    I’m baking my turkey and will be checking it in a few minutes. If the temp is correct, I’ll be getting busy with gravy and side dishes.

    I hope everyone has a happy, comfortable Thankgiving

    • I’m thankful the low-carb brioche came off to the delight of husband and sons. I shall now go make them desert. (I’m a sucker for cute guys, what can I say.)

      • ….oooooh? Care to share the recipe? *uses best pleading kitten eyes gaze* Please?

      • I’d like to see that recipe, too. I did a low-carb stuffing for our turkey that turned out pretty good! I got it from Ask.com .

        • Honestly — I have to compile these and do a cookbook, which I’ll put up for a reasonable amount. My problem is that I cook by “feel/taste/look” so I don’t know proportions…

          • That is the reason I quit asking my mother for recipes years ago. Adding enough flour until it looks right only works if you know what it is supposed to look like.

          • I cook like that, too. I had to stop and measure everything when I wanted to share my spaghetti sauce recipe. And the recipe that my mother used for reference when she would make stuffing for the holidays did not actually reflect what she did, it was more of a framework that she modified according to mood. I have a hard time following a recipe exactly even the first time I try it.

  8. I am thankful for the hubby– he has really been there when I almost died and has been there through all of my illness. I haven’t always been a pleasant person to be around during my hallucination period (others have blue periods– I have hallucination periods.)

    I am grateful for the chance to travel the world and see different cultures and peoples. It was a lot of fun.

    I am thankful for this forum–and for meeting Sarah. I am grateful that my disease is under control enough that I can see what else is troubling my body.

    I am very grateful for my step-daughters and my grandkids. I am very grateful for my brothers and their new wives. My one brother’s new baby is like my grandbaby (I raised that brother).

    I am grateful that I can still think and that I am still alive. I am grateful for the stories that still slip out of my brain and onto my blank pages.

    And, I am so grateful for the good doctor that manages my disease. He has kept me alive for the last six years–

    • BTW did anyone else have ham instead of turkey? I make a baked ham for the hubby cause he likes it better. I make the other fixins’ except yams and pumpkin pie– I just don’t like ‘em… Sorry to the outraged.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        We often have both ham and turkey for Thanksgiving.

      • We had both ham and turkey.

        Anyway, those that are outraged don’t really like yams and pumpkin pie. Those that really do are glad you left more for them.

        • LOL Mary – I am not going to relate a few Thanksgivings where my mother hand spooned yams in my mouth– I won’t, I won’t. But glad you had a good dinner Mary ;-) We also have a difference of opinions about beets.

      • Yes, I love ham. Turkey is best cut into chunks, like nuggets, battered and deep fried, but just doesn’t look right that way for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. I totally agree with you on the yams, or sweet potatoes. Pumpkin pie… I can take it or leave, but it isn’t a desert I am going to waste time making, we had cheesecake and apple crisp. (the cheesecake was baked in pie plate, so that almost counts as a pie, right?)

  9. Wayne Blackburn

    I’m poor at thinking of what things I should be thankful for, but I am thankful for the health I have, my two sons, and the doctors who have been treating my wife’s illness.

    I’m also thankful for finding a like group of people here, who are the best I have found at understanding the different kind of world I inhabit in my mind normally.

    • I too am poor at thinking of things I am thankful for, but I am thankful for my health, and the fact I don’t have to worry about what I will eat each day, or where I will sleep at night. I am also thankful for this cyber community that inspires me to write, and convinces me that if I’m crazy, at least there is plenty of company out there ;)

      I hadn’t wrote anything since the election, but thankfully I finished a nonfiction story today, and hopefully will be able to get back to the fiction in the next few days. Letting the thoughts and emotions from the election seep into a fiction story may not be bad, but having them seep into to one at the halfway point could be jarring. Now that they are settling down to a simmer I feel like I can get back to those stories without that happening. Although those thoughts and emotions are causing another story idea to percolate around in the back of my head, although if it makes it into writing it may come out very bloody (or possibly bloodless, right now it is like a Choose Your Own Adventure story, with multiple possible endings) as opposed to much of my normal writing, which only comes out David Drake bloody. ;)

  10. I am thankful for a roof over my head, food on the table, good heath, good friends, my cats, and a recession-proof job (Military Contractor). I too have felt the touch of God in my life on many occasions. He appears in many forms, most recently in the guise of a squad of EMTs a couple of years ago (but I could tell they were Angels). I am glad you got to spend time with your family today.

  11. I’m very thankful that G-d is merciful and good-humored (even if his sense of humor runs to making platypuses and people), and saw fit to have my husband and myself meet and marry. I’m thankful that this country exists, that I am a citizen here, and given the opportunities to enjoy the freedoms available with no one shooting at me.

    I’m grateful for indoor plumbing and lots of hot water, for modern medicine and all the miracles it brings to us, modern technology and the friendships it lets us make and enables us to keep, and modern agriculture that makes famines an artifact of politics, not weather.

    For food, for friendships, for liberty, for offering hope of an afterlife and a belief that requires me to be better than my base personality, I am thankful. That I live in the best possible place in the best possible time, with the challenge to make it better yet, is truly a gift beyond measure.

  12. leftbrainfemale

    I’m ever so thankful for the wonderful life I get to share with hubby, two daughters, and our cats. Thankful that my folks are still in good enough health that Dad brought his smoker and smoked our turkey, all the gluten-free stuff I made was enjoyed (even my picky dad enjoyed his cornbread dressing without a smidge of gluten in it!) Thankful for the leftovers which hubby will enjoy carrying to lunch next week . . . and thankful to be finding my way back to blogging and finding others who are like minded to share and virtually fellowship – makes the world seem a little smaller and less threatening.

  13. “You can’t always get what you want, and you should be thankful for what you get, and make the most of it.”

    That’s always the hardest lesson to learn, whatever the tweak to make it fit your own life. In my case, it was learning “You’re never really going to be where you thought you would be, but you’re still someplace pretty damn good, so be thankful…” Which yesterday meant that while I don’t have kids of my own, like I’d always thought I would, I still got to read “Elmo Saves Christmas” (twice, and with voices) to a two-year-old godson. And that I know enough to make every moment I have with him count.

    Happy Thanksgiving from a new and regular reader!

  14. I’m also thankful for my sons, and don’t regret a bit of the huge amount of work it was to have them (endless IVF cycles… at one point in my life I was doing research in medical libraries and telling my doctor what to do to do…). I’m thankful for my husband, who is also my best friend.

    I’m thankful that my health is basically good. After having sleep issues for my entire adult life, I finally figured out that it was due to non-IgE food allergies. It’s still frustrating because it’s impossible to always know in advance which foods will give me a reaction (I’m allergic, apparently, to a plant-based vitamin B6 vitamer), but at least I can actually sleep most nights, which is an immense improvement.

    I’m thankful for my good job (computer programmer – very low unemployment right now). I’m thankful for my country, even if it’s going in the wrong direction in a number of areas.

    I’m thankful for computers and the internet which allows people to connect and find and create communities.

  15. I’m kind of late to the party here, but I DID have a very good Thanksgiving, with family on Thursday, and with a long-time friend who dropped by for a short visit yesterday, and who is now on his way to Portland via Salt Lake City. Spent a few minutes with my great-grandson, ate a delicious meal I didn’t have a THING to do with, and just had a very relaxing and rewarding time. I feel about 10 pounds lighter today than I did last Wednesday — don’t know where THAT came from, but I’m thankful!

    This site has become almost a second home. I am deeply grateful to our gracious hostess for providing this place where so many people who are mostly like me meet and enjoy each other’s company.