I see a blur of red bobbing in the horizon. I’m sitting, alone, in a life raft in the middle of the ocean. Supplies are dangerously low. How hard is it to catch a sea gull? Can you eat a sea gull? I’ve read people drink their own urine in survival situations.
I worry, some days, that I don’t even belong in the wild west. I’ve never circled the wagons. I don’t even have a wagon, can’t afford it, they aren’t cheap. Cattle rustling? A job for quicker cowgirls…
According to their website, “94 Creations is a literary journal that publishes an eclectic assortment of outstanding fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, drama, and art by both emerging and established writers and artists.”
Today, I am thankful for all the disappointments that broke my heart in 2013 but ultimately led me in new and exciting directions. Sometimes, when people or things let us down, it makes room for us to see all the other truly kick ass people and things we really need in our lives.
Rejections, loss of friendships, personal failures and moments I wanted to cry (or, I did cry) because I didn’t get my way – it is easy to forgive myself and others for those things when I take stock of all the really wonderful things that have happened this year. The good has easily outweighed the bad and any year we can say that, we should take a moment to be grateful.
So, I am thankful for my friends – new and old. For your support and your laughter. For talking me off ledges and sometimes egging me up onto the ledge when I needed it. I am thankful for the friendships that fell apart because I only had to look beside me to see that more people love and support me than have ever let me down. I am thankful for my shortcomings as a friend because I’ve learned a lot about myself through my own insecurities and weaknesses. I am thankful for the ability to do better in the following year.
I am thankful for my family who are all insane. And complicated. And funny. And drive me up a wall sometimes. But I love you all anyways. Plus, you have to deal with my funny, insane, and very complicated way of dealing with the world. You gave me the freedom to do that so no complaining!
Thanks, especially to my husband who supports me and believes in me in this crazy way I’ve never really believed in myself. He holds me accountable when I slack off and he reads everything I publish. He encourages me and pokes at me when I fall too far into my own head. Plus, he’s super good looking.
I am thankful for my unholy ambition for pushing me beyond professional disappointments and into arenas I previously thought unattainable. I am a card carrying member of the “Women Who Get Shit Done” Club and that is a phenomenal feeling. I’ve had my first publication in 2013 and then I did it ten more times. I’ve gotten money for publishing my work – which seems shallow but really just gives me hope for a true career doing something I love. I’m a listed author on amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. When I was a bookseller (for years and years at Borders and Waldenbooks), it was my dream to be able to say that. This year, it came true. But, I’m grateful that it is happening slowly and I have a lot of room to build on that fantasy.
I am thankful for new readers and new opportunities to express myself artistically. Writing has kept me out of a therapist chair. Writing has given me a purpose and an excitement. But, writing was never enough – I had to share it with you. So, thank you so much for being receptive to it. Thank you for giving me this community.
Thank you to the editors that promoted my work. Thank for the editors that passed on my work but left a kind message or a note of encouragement. Thanks, also, to the editors that gave me form rejections or dismissed me completely – I take it as a sign of respect that you don’t handle writers with kid gloves. We are capable and hardworking. We take our lumps and we keep going. We don’t need to be coddled for doing our jobs.
And, finally, I am really thankful for those Ritter Sport Chocolate Bars with the cornflakes in them which I discovered this year and now pray I will never have to live without.
I was supposed to be working today. I had planned to work. I was actually looking forward to the Christmas Quiet that falls over my office. Really. No lie. My inbox is in desperate need of a scrub. But, I had to send my work laptop off for a Holiday Break upgrade and that really limited my options for a productive workday. What is a girl to do?
No, really. What is a girl to do? Work doesn’t want me – I got up early and wrapped everything up for my holiday vacation. Tie a bow on top of it because I am finished. My house is clean. Beds are made. Laundry done. Packages sent and delivered. Phone is silent. I entered some writing contests. I followed up with editors and sent out a few submissions I’d been putting off. I have this one short story that is slowly working its way into a novella and is in danger of being over-worked so I set it aside until after the holidays. This morning, I found myself sitting on my couch, alone. Staring at the walls.
“Now what?” I thought to myself.
It isn’t often that I don’t have a project or task waiting for me. I’m happiest that way. I don’t do idle well. When I’m idle, I tend to get myself into trouble.
Like the time a friend and I visited that psychic in Kent, Ohio and we ended up cleaning her toilets and doing her laundry.
Or, like that time I ended up in that corn field while rollerblading.
Or, that time I was bored and thought I’d wash my car but then realized I was lazy and took it through the car wash and then got trapped in there.
Or, that time…ok, maybe I ought to wrap up some dignity and keep my trap closed.
For the first time in a very long time, I felt bored and alone and really pretty unwilling to change out of my pajamas. (So, ok, I work from home, mostly. The pajamas thing isn’t unique to today.)
I realize luck brought me this boredom. Normally, I whine about how busy I am even though I actually like it. But, to sit in a quiet house with no demands on my time? No chores set in front of me? That is pure luck, right?
So, now what happens?
When I was younger, my Dad would come home every day from work and ask us kids, “What did you get accomplished today?” This was his way of asking us how our day had gone. Happiness and satisfaction was and is still measured in our level of productivity. We come from Farming Stock and what we put off until tomorrow has a tendency to get out of hand pretty quickly. So, we stay on top of things and we get shit done. That way, when we go to bed at night, we know we accomplished something and when we wake in the morning, our workload is manageable.
But today? By mid-morning, my whole world had gone quiet. I’d found a lull in a busy life and I panicked a little at wasting the time. It is a dreary and rainy day that sort of begs you to sink into a couch somewhere. So, that is what I’ve done. Today has been a movie marathon and old fashioned pop corn day. I am alone but not lonely. I made the popcorn the way I like it and didn’t have to share with anyone. I had it with a big cup of chocolate milk with maybe a little too much chocolate but that was the way I wanted it, too, and no one said a damn word about it.
I burnt my popcorn, of course. Because, while it was popping I thought I’d just run real quick into the laundry room and do that half load of towels and by the time I got back, the popcorn was a bit black. But, still, there is something special about popping the kernels on the stove. The house smells like a movie theater. I have the volume up a little loud while I watch the second Lord of the Rings movie on DVD. I can watch the extended scenes and no one is calling me a dork to my face because of how many times I’ve seen these movies.
I suppose we all need a breather, sometimes. I have been so lucky this year – 10 publications in one year (I am proud to say!) – two more (BIG BIG BIG ONES) coming out in 2014. I found a phenomenal writing community. I write, write, write all the time. I completed NaNoWriMo. I spent my ninth year at my job and managed to assist all of my employees in keeping busy and successful – as contractors, that is a big deal. I have absolutely no reason to believe that 2014 won’t be an amazing year. So, now, just at the end of 2013, I’m gifted with a free day before the absolute chaos of Christmas.
So, you know what happens now?
Not a damn thing.
I can’t help but feel like that is somewhat of an accomplishment for me.