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.