On Being Thankful

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Yes, you probably should take this as a warning I’ll take tomorrow off.  If you guys have thanksgiving sales on, send them to me now as I can assemble a post for tomorrow by tonight.

As all of you, and some other people know, I’ve been disheartened, dispirited and down right depressed over my writing, and my soit disant career, but yesterday one of my “kids” (HOW did the woman who tried to have 11 kids but ended up only birthing two sons end up with a tribe of you who call me “mom” anyway? It’s a miracle.) reminded me that without the 40 years in the desert, the exodus would not have lead to Israel as a nation, much less as a people.  And without the whole “kill a man and run off into the desert” Moses would not have made a good leader, anyway.

I mean, it had to be unpleasant as hell to live through.  But without it, he wouldn’t be what he was supposed to be.

It’s unpleasant as hell to start a new career at 56. And I’ve been avoiding it because it’s like being told there’s yet another mountain to climb.

But as a friend reminded me, it would be more unpleasant at 75.

I was never one to subscribe to the “everything happens for the best in the best of all possible worlds”.  Husband, incurable optimist that he is, does.

But without the no-promo, uphill both ways career, I probably wouldn’t have this blog or you lot, or all the “children” and “grandchildren” I keep accruing.

And I wouldn’t have learned to write upsidedown, sideways, and wearing a straight jacket while locked inside a tank of freezing water.

Yes, it’s also tired me out and made it difficult to find my real self as a writer, but it’s taught me an awful lot.

It could be much, much worse.

Without all of that, I’d not have the network of indie friends.  And perhaps I’d not be able to take advantage of indie now it’s available (it’s taken me long enough to jump, and even before the soit disant career, the self-confidence sucked.)

Who knows?

I’m willing to admit I have a lot to be thankful for.  And some of it are things I’d rather I hadn’t lived through.

And I have hope.  And that’s the thing to be most thankful for always.

So, go forth and have your turkey.  Send me your sales (your free books, your strange links yearning to be read) and I’ll do what I can tonight.

For now, go prepare your turkey. Armour your heart to be charitable to crazy relatives. Bask in those relatives you have and love, because time is fleeting and we’re all mortal (I was thinking today how much I miss the kids when they were little, and I wish I’d known how happy I was then. I’m sure in a few years, as the kids disperse around the country I’ll miss this time.)

Let’s make the future something to be thankful for. Be not afraid.

103 responses to “On Being Thankful

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    While my response to “Smile, things could be worse” is “I smiled and things got worse”, I still think we can be thankful that “things weren’t/aren’t worse”. 😀

    • I’ve always considered “you could be that guy” as a legitimate cheering-up tactic with this caveat… It’s a *self* cheering-up tactic. Between people it can become a nasty competition. When you’re stressed about your children and their choices it doesn’t help much if someone “one ups” you. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not very helpful to *yourself* to say, well, at least I’m not that guy and they aren’t in jail. 🙂

      So yeah, things could be *much* worse.

      I won’t get home for any of the holidays BUT most of my kids will be here AND I can call my other kid and I can call and talk to my folks. Not everyone can. So I could be sad about missing the “family” stuff, or I can be very thankful that it’s so easy to talk to them.

      Also, none of my kids are in jail.

  2. richardmcenroe

    *loud offscreen growl* “It’s worse.”

    • Remember, the optimist thinks the glass is half full, the fake pessimist thinks it’s half empty, and the real pessimist realizes it’s half poison.

      • The bean-counter thinks the glass is twice as large as it needs to be.

        The engineer thinks you have a 100% safety margin

        • Or the liberal who doesn’t realize he can get a bigger glass to hold more wine.

          • No the Liberal will legislate for limiting wine glasses to be half the size they are with exceptions for certain special underprivileged peoples of which they just happen to claim to be a member .

  3. Remember, the optimist believes that we live in the best of all possible worlds, and the pessimist agrees.

    • And the Engineer says, “I think maybe I can do something about this and make it better.” Sometimes he’s even right.

    • That’s funny… “optimism” reminds me of the Star Trek reboot which I felt was far more optimistic than all of what came before it *because* so many very bad things happened and they weren’t *fixed* at the end of the show, yet even so, everyone was going *forward*.

      I’m weird.

      • The world doesn’t need to be perfect at the end. It just needs people trying (in rational ways!) to make it better. That’s hope – “Hey, they might even pull it off!”

        • Right now I’d settle for enough people to take away the matches from the spoiled children that are trying to set things on fire!

  4. This blog is one of the things I am thankful for. Just saying.
    Turkey and blessings to all tomorrow at America’s original ritual sacrifice!

  5. Does the steel welcome the fire, the hammering, the quenching that goes into becoming a sword?

    Do not imagine yourself on this Earth for your own purpose; if there is no G-d there is no purpose, His or yours. Accept the world in which you find yourself and work to improve it, as the alternatives are not pleasant.

    I am thankful for indoor plumbing, not having to raise and harvest my own food, for forced air heating and a reasonably secure roof, for more television channels than I can watch, more books interesting things than I can read, and for an internet which makes a community such as this possible.

    • Modern Dentistry!
      Anesthesia!
      Chocolate!
      Coffee!

      And a strong second for this amazing technology that allows me to interact daily with all these interesting people who live further than a 2.5-mile radius of my hut. Like Sarah and the Huns.

      And for Samuel Colt and John Moses Browning, who contributed so much to making youthful physical strength increasingly irrelevant to the fundamental affairs of mankind.

      • Antibiotics.
        Vaccines.
        Refrigeration.
        Eyeglasses.
        Plastic!

        • “Hot water, good dentishtry and shoft lavatory paper”.

        • Eye surgeons!

        • Yup Modern medicine is a BIG win. As a child I had VERY severe asthma and a tendency to pneumonia. If I were born before 1940 you would certainly NOT be reading my comment but I would be occupying a small plot in the Indian River Cemetery in Connecticut.
          Even in 1960 the asthma was touch and go until the meds improved in the late 70’s and early 80’s

          • I remember all the kids in school who had to grab for inhalers. Now? None of my students have to, because of the long-acting things available. (We will leave the [censored] EPA and their war on inhaler propellants for later.)

            • Yeah my cynical side wonders how much of that madness to limit CFC propellant usage in inhalers was nudged by big Pharma. I can’t imagine it was .001% of usage in refrigerators. But the propellant change required new formulations which could be re patented with LITTLE need to redo studies for safety and efficiency. And it required everyone to jump to the new (patented) formulae instead of the existing ones which had gone off patent and gone generic 2-3 years before.

              There were long term asthma meds before in the 70’s and 80’s but their side effects were nasty as there were like caffeine on steroids. And when I was small the last ditch rescue drug of choice was an adrenaline suppository. I say no more…

    • No man sings the praises of air, yet to the drowning man it’s more precious than gold. *chuckle* I am grateful for eyes and ears, for fingers and toes, and all the bits in between working within tolerance levels. I give thanks for peace in general for all the people I care about, and am thankful for all of those who do the necessary hard work to keep the absolutley damned miraculous peace I enjoy working.

      In a dangerous world we wake without fear of hunger and cold, without the wonder if we’ll be shot or stabbed or set on fire as we go through the day. We are so very far from what has been the human norm for over 99% of human history it would be nearly unfathomable. Not completely, because human beings are ever inventive.

      Further, we live in the best place in all the world. There are books here. We are more free, even if it is beningn neglect, than any place else. It’s worth remembering this time of year.

  6. Happy Thanksgiving. May your spirits rise.

  7. Well, thankful the furnace that went out is mine, though it’d be nice to say “The furnace died. Fix it please.” and not be the one footing the bill, or for that matter, doing the work, because I ain’t paying a heating service call.
    Not thankful that the torpedo heater also decided it isn’t going to work. I did find a phone number for an old friend, I have not talked to since the Saints won the Superbowl.
    I am most thankful that Milady Sarah has written so much, and has this nice little playground, we frolic in.
    Y’all have a great day tomorrow. I will be in the basement, figuring out how so much water is in the works

  8. I have power, resources, and more than one escape route in the event of an emergency.

  9. Yes, you probably should take this as a warning I’ll take tomorrow off

    Tomorrow? Why not take the whole weekend and spend time on your family? We can amuse ourselves, don’t worry about us.

    Say, is that wall load bearing?

  10. Remember: you can still be charitable to crazy relatives while fantasizing about killing them.
    In many ways, the latter makes the former easier.

  11. *Rummages around virtual garage for sale items* Oh, I can part with this…Ewwww, nope, to the burn barrel it goes… Wow, I thought I’d lost that…Um, where did you come from? Oh, hey, a box-o-books! *disappears into fiction*

  12. It is always an unpleasant jolt for me when you mention you’ve been thinking about giving up writing, publishing, and/or this blog. Obviously it’s worse for you, but I thought it might be worth letting you know I’d miss your work?

    I am thankful for a lot of things, having found your blog among them.

  13. First off, may you have a happy and non-contentious Thanksgiving, Sarah! The same to all of the other Huns, of course.

    Second off, it would just be too strange for me to call a young lady, nearly two years my junior, “Mom.” Now, the unknown younger sister that was spirited away by a tribe of ocean hopping Gypsies, and subsequently dropped upon a congenial Portuguese family when Fatima the Seeress (who is never wrong) told them just what they were letting themselves in for – that theory I can handle.

    Third off, I have been ruminating over the post of two days past. I have, perhaps, or perhaps not, produced something rather more valuable than the normal product of rumination; maybe at least less gaseous in nature.

    I have read your works – here, at Mad Genius Club, on PJ Media, and the fictional book forms. In all of these, I have felt your love for the subject, for the characters (well, some of them the “love to hate”), for the plot. Now you tell us that you are about to finally unleash yourself from the shackles of the “correct,” to allow your passion full rein. (Dare I say “your Latin passion?” Substitute “your USAIN passion” if that feels more accurate.) In the word of my children… AWESOME!!!

    There will undoubtedly be few trophies from this new direction (except for many Dragons, and if LC ever sets something up). There will be much hand wringing and criticism by the “usual suspects” – for which I recommend this palliative: dig up some of the horrible critical pieces written about the works of Samuel Clemens, Edgar Allen Poe, Ernest Hemingway – or Robert Anson Heinlein – and be of good cheer at being in such august company!

  14. A way of practicing gratitude is:
    1. take a blank sheet of paper.
    2. Write down 5 things you are taking for granted.
    3. If there is someone you should thank, go to them.
    4. Thank them, and suggest they take a blank piece of paper and…

    The reason most of us are unhappy is that we want what we don’t have, and only appreciate what we have, when it is gone. This practice helps us appreciate what we have, before it is gone.
    Reminder to self: It is impossible to be grateful enough to my wife.

  15. I am deeply thankful that I managed, somehow, to make friends with my Parents while still in my teens. It allowed me that much more time to get to know them as people, which in turn helped me let go of them when it was time.

    I am thankful for the comic collecting compulsion that lead me, in turn, to my first job, to traveling on my own to downtown Cleveland to work at that job, and to the fringes of the Unerground Comix scene as it existed in that time and place.

    I am thankful for Johannes Gutenberg.

    I am thankful for the Industrial Revolution.

    I am thankful for Harry S. Truman, the only Democrat President in the 20th Century that Doesn’t make me want to piss on him from a great hight, and who did so much to cope with the mess FDR left behind.

    I am thankful for all the DMs who have put up with my shenanigans over the years.

    I am thankful that Robin McKinley had the courage to write a second novel based on ‘Beauty and the Beast’, when she felt she had the skill to finally write the book that had been in her head when she wrote BEAUTY.

    I am thankful for my ‘Comments’ friends, for putting up with my bizarre ramblings.

    I am thankful for God’s mercy, extended to an Agnostic, for the Lady to whom I am married. I don’t deserve her, though I do try.

    • Dad passed away just before Thanksgiving my first year of college. I saw him the weekend beforehand, and we were starting to build a relationship on an adult level. I’m glad I had that much.

  16. Burnout is bad. Take some time for your family.

    I do have a couple of books going on sale for Thanksgiving weekend. “Colony” is going to be 67% off, as will “Dead Silver.” “Shadow of an Empire” will be, but only in some countries, due to oddities.

  17. BobtheRegisterredFool

    Lincoln, Sherman and Grant.

    Arthur Harris and Curtis LeMay.

    Ed Teller and Herman Kahn.

    Denbeste, Eric Raymond, Crane Brinton and Tom Kratman.

  18. Sarah—Just began following your blog a few weeks ago. Have moved it to the top of my list, along with Francis P. I seldom post to blogs, but your dilemma prompted me to do so. I’ve spent forty years trying to write a story (several, actually). I’ve learned to write a great scene or chapter, even lots of them, just can’t pull them together into a complete story. (Am plot-challenged, I suppose.) So I’m familiar with writer (anguish?).

    While not an SF fan, I’m in awe of your skill level and productivity. Am rooting for you to find your direction (or perhaps re-define it). My humble offering is this: Perhaps you could benefit from having another project area that requires writing, if you don’t already. (OK, you have a blog.)

    I fell into genealogy/family history many years ago and began writing about my ancestors’ lives. Fascinating stuff, the frontier and all that. Provides new material for my attempts at fiction, but mostly it enables me to completely forget my fiction efforts (almost completely; stray thoughts manage to work their way in). Eventually, I get tired of doing that and return to my fiction with new enthusiasm. (Not promoting genealogy necessarily, just using it as an example. There’s something to be said for the balance of fact and fiction.) Then I return to working on my ancestors until I need another break, etc., etc.

    Actually I have two other areas I spend time on: my “memoirs” and poetry/lyrics. I just move around according to my mood. Sometimes they feed off each other. Bottom line is, I keep busy writing, but don’t get bogged down in any one thing. Maybe at this point in your writing career, it would help.

    All this may be an oversimplification, or something you already do, but I thought I’d toss it out there. anyway.

    Good luck, best wishes. —D.

  19. Happy Thankgiving! I am grateful for this blog.

  20. I am still thankful that Bill Clinton’s emergency only sex partner isn’t the president of the United States.

    Grudge holding? On THIS blog?

    Qu’ell surprise…

    • Oh, my, yes! Thank flaming Christ on a nuclear pogo stick that Her Shrillness LOST!

      Also, please, let her try to get nominated one more time before whatever’s wrong with her makes her room temperature. I don’t think the Donks are insane enough to give it to her, but keeping the nomination away from her would sure drain a lot of their energy in 2020.

      • Yes. ^^This^^

        OTOH can’t be thankful out loud at holiday dinners. Yes. Did have relatives vote for her shrillness, either because “they believe”, or they held their nose because “just not him”. Hey latter, okay, after all I voted for “not her.” But ouch. At least most of us voted “correctly” even if it was because “not her.”

    • Amen and amen. And two good appointments to the Supremes, with the next few possibilities not looking too shabby.

      “Clinton/Avenetti 2020 – It can’t get much worse!”

      • May there be a couple more over the next 2 years. Hey, I’m rooting for retirements, not anything worse …

        Now if something can be done about the ninth circut court … who made them law making god?

        • They believe their own media/ drink their own ink. Because having the most overturned rulings of any circuit is not getting through. *facepaw*

          • That’s why they keep trying to finally get one that will prove to the SCOTUS that the Ninth Circus Court has been correct all along neener-neener.

      • Satan/ Cthulu 2020, why vote for the lesser of 2 evils…

  21. If instead Science Fiction or Fantasy writing isn’t gelling for you; perhaps something you appear to be more passionate about at the moment would do? Something that liberals might pick up and accidentally start reading the might make them question what they’ve been told for years? That could be just as good as making a career shift to Congresswoman or Senator Hoyt.

  22. Crisis? Some see it as an opportunity to cold stack the deck.

    The World Is in the Middle of a Reproducibility Crisis in the Sciences
    By Sarah Hoyt
    Recently in a private forum, someone talked about how the Earth is passing through a dark matter “Hurricane.” And one of my friends pointed out that it’s kind of interesting that we’ve moved from science discovering things you could see, touch, understand, and use to produce results, to the kind of nebulous theory that can never be completely proven or disproven.

    In fact, apparently, no one is even absolutely sure that dark matter exists. But we have think tanks that instead of, say, assuming our theory of gravity might not be precisely true, posit dark matter to explain the discrepancies.

    It’s kind of like the idea of parallel universes, say, which has become at least somewhat accepted, but which can never be proven or disproven.

    And if it were just that, what my younger son (who is taking that kind of class) calls “physics when it becomes religion” wouldn’t be such a big deal.

    But it is not.

    We have laboratories, social studies think tanks, and countless and endless “experiments” going on, most of them paid for by the bountiful purse of Uncle Sam. And most of them irreproducible. …

    • The thing is that ‘science’ is like ‘bushido’ or ‘democracy’. It has an ideal state that looks pretty good, and then there’s practice.

      Science has always been like this. How much treasure was poured into the search for the Philosopher’s Stone? At least one Arctic (or maybe it was Antarctic) expedition was funded because a prominent Congressman was convinced that the Earth was hollow, amd the expedition would discover one of thr entrances.

      As to ‘dark matter’, go look up ‘aether theories’. Young scientists come up with new theories. Old scientists defend what they have been working with and teaching.

      Right now it looks bad because a whole bunch of bushwa is developing cracks. But it’s normal.

  23. Fairly thankful for outstanding cardiologists and Methodist Texsan hospitals.

  24. I’m thankful for you and Dan and the kids, mine and yours, and the other crazies who’ve adopted me because I came to know you.
    Have a restful and lovely Thanksgiving, Sarah.

  25. Insecticide! (Downside of living in the South Pacific: OMG cockroaches)
    Ingenuity
    Refrigeration
    Air conditioning
    The young master (almost 7 mo now…)

    • I spent summers in Houston. Tree roaches hold no fear for me. Those little tiny ones though… That is the only thing that I have ever seen make MomRed come unglued. It was—terrifying.

    • Oh lordy the Palmetto beetles in Florida. Effectively 3″ cockroaches. When I was visiting a relative on the gulf coast of Florida as about a 10 year my great uncle challenged my to catch one of the little lizards that scooting around. He promised a $10 bounty for any captured alive. My cupidity was immense as I think my allowance was up to 25c a week. He noted they gathered on a log near a palm tree. So I was stalking the little beasties under a palm tree. As I did this he nonchalantly strolled up to the tree and gave it a good shove. It raind what seemed like hundreds of these immense cockroaches. I hate bugs why did it have to be bugs… Both he and my dad got a good laugh out of that.

      • Whoo boy. Yeah, I believe it. I could have lived without seeing one crawling around in my underwear drawer. Even more so when one dropped out of the ceiling onto my head. Once the young master is old enough, I expect many gecko hunts for “pets.”

  26. As I understand it, this is the best of all possible worlds *that would result from all these billions of BAD DECISIONS made by all these *billions of people* over all these *millennia.** Voltaire didn’t want to go there.

  27. You know, one of the reasons why I applied to that door to door sales gig is because it’s something I think I need to learn. It’s not something I WANT to do, oh so very much, I am an introvert and an ODD and learning how to deal with normal humans, much less how to sell something to them face to face, is not going to be easy, and I may very well fail totally. But if I can learn how to do it like this maybe then I can also learn how to sell otherwise. My books, my paintings, maybe illustrations – I am not even near professional level with any of those, but I am still better than a lot which actually seems to sell at least some, and I may still have enough time left to even get to that professional level too. And doing that might be a good way to spend my retirement years. Better than sitting on a sofa watching television and complaining about the world anyway.

    Besides, as a childless spinster with no close family left – I am an only child of two youngest children of their respective families who got married very late, I never got close to my few cousins because they were already adults when I was a young girl and everybody else is dead by now – I will not leave any mark in the world unless I can do it as an artist and a storyteller. And I guess I want to leave something which might reach at least a few other people down the line and maybe give them something they’d, in some form or another, then pass on. It doesn’t really matter that much if anybody remembers me or not, just that I could make some sort of difference.

    So wish me luck. This may be about the hardest thing I have tried to learn in my life.

    • Luck, hell, I wish you courage and competence with a smattering of creativity and a dash of wit. Sometimes being able to be… personable, I suppose, is possible for an Odd only through application of your strengths. Develop a good patter, smile effusively, commiserate when it rains, keep your chin up and never let ’em see you sweat.

      Most people are alright, more or less. Least as far as I can tell. Leverage your talent as a storyteller and have a handful of amazing tales to relate while you do your job and people will be put at ease all the quicker. Put on a face for the world when you have to. Keep fixing up that pulic persona, work at it to make it less Odd if you must. It’s doable. Just remember to give yourself time to rest after, because it will probably be more tiring than you expect.