The Second Annual Belated Turkey of Gratitude

Still Life with Fruit and Ham, Jan Davidszoon de Heem, c.1649

Turns out the belatedness is part of the tradition. Since we here at Casa Schwarz are committed to not buying anything on Black Friday, this is one of the best days to be grateful.

30 things about writing and storytelling for which I am grateful.
  1. For poetry, which challenges, puzzles, and touches my soul. 
  2. And for Poetry Off The Shelf, the little podcast that has introduced me to several new poets this year.
  3. For my part-time job, which provides structure to my day, a little bread-and-butter money, and interesting coworkers with different experiences and opinions than my own.
  4. For my first WorldCon! Four days in San Antonio immersed in everything science fiction and fantasy. I won’t say more here, as I wrote three long posts starting with this one.
  5. For Patrice Sarath, novelist extraordinaire, my WorldCon roomie, and early morning coffee house writing buddy.
  6. For ArmadilloCon, my awesome local SciFi and Fantasy convention. When money is tight and family commitments abound, it’s great to know that I can always make it to this cool hometown convention. 
  7. For the Slugtribe Writers’ Group. This open critique group has been a staple of my life since returning to writing. It’s a perfect combination of regulars and random wild seeds and never fails to keep things interesting.
  8. For the editors who’ve published my stories and worked with me to make them better. They are as passionate about writing as I am and they spend uncounted hours bringing stories to the world for a very small monetary return.
  9. For the slush readers (and editors) who have rejected my stories, sometimes because they’re not a good fit for their venue, but more importantly, because sometimes they need to be better.
  10. Again, and every year, for my journal. What a glorious mess. Whenever I’m stuck on a story (i.e. the middle of every story), I run to my journal and flail around for page after page until I can see a way forward. 
  11. For my husband who goes along with all my schemes and crazy dreams, like keeping chickens in the back yard, or pounding out story after story on my laptop. 
  12. For my 12-year-old, who keeps me hip to what middle schoolers are into, and who still lets me read her bedtime stories (currently The Forgotten Beasts of Eld.)
  13. For my 8-year-old who has introduced me to the world of My Little Pony as only someone from the target demographic can. 
  14. For Invader Zim and Adventure Time, Red Dwarf and Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Family favorite viewing for together time on the couch.
  15. For Leo the dog. The pound puppy that the kids and hubby talked me into. When not laying at my feet while I write, he pesters me to get up off my butt and take him for a walk. Turns out that on foot and in the fresh air is an excellent place to work out story problems.
  16. For the books I’ve read this year including, Jagannath, Saga, Engine Summer (finally), Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar ChildrenBeing Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error, Oranges are Not the Only Fruit, and The Blue Fox to name a few.
  17. My little laptop. Repository of my works in progress and window to the virtual world.
  18. Scrivener. I’m using this writing software more and more, though I only know the tip of the iceberg as far as all the different bells and whistles 
  19. For the library, saving me thousands of dollars on my 12-year-old’s manga habit, providing for my eclectic research needs, and loaning me stacks of huge, expensive art and photography books for story inspiration.
  20. For my virtual writers’ communities where I can meet, commiserate and trade critiques with writers from around the world.
  21. For the worlds that have presented themselves in the stories that have created. Fantastic and impossible places of terror, adventure, love and heartbreak. No airfare required.
  22. For the characters who bud off some created world or concept and grow into unpredictable beings who turn the tables to surprise and delight me.
  23. Pinterest! How did it take me so long to get onboard with this visual feast?
  24. For the hour of writing time every morning between dropping my kids off to school and when I have to show up to work. Pure gold.
  25. For drafts that are broken and difficult. These are the ones that have the most to teach me about storytelling.
  26. For LePen felt tip markers in every color; they make my paper-and-pen revision look festive and fabulous.

  27. For a good night’s sleep, when I can get it, and for the strange and delightful dreams that arrive in  the morning just before I wake up. If not fodder for plots, certainly some subconscious images have found their way into my story settings.
  28. For all the storytellers out there, gossips and tattle tellers, pundits and conspiracy theorists. 
  29. For all the surprises, not a day goes by without one!
  30. For all the stories nascent and invisible, waiting to be born. 

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